Paraskavedekatriaphobia

13.jpgThis means fear of Friday the 13th.

13 is a number associated with bad luck by almost all cultures on earth. I have never been in any building in any of the places I’ve been to which has a 13th floor. No one would even dare. The film industry as well have had its share of this hullabaloo. Although theirs would be an interesting example of sublimation.

I would bet days like today would trigger some chain of sorts of tales and anecdotes regarding one’s experiences, direct or by association, about Friday the 13th. One of my favorite medical authors, Dr. Atul Gawande has included a bit about it in his book, Complications. Like how I expected the chapter to conclude, it was open ended and left me remembering about my own Friday the 13th stuff in the hospital. Mostly related to an observable but seemingly unexplained increase in census or some peculiarity and even mayhem.

While the rest of us exchange stories of woe, horror or adventure about this peculiar day, some actually have a good fear of this day.

This particular phobia is just one of the many phobias in the list.

In a WebMD article, R. Reid Wilson, Ph.D of the American Psychological Association says,

“Phobias are the most common mental disorder.”;

“Over their lifetimes, 11% of people will have a phobia.”

Are fear and phobia the same then? Not really. Fear is the initiator of the phobia. The phobia is the disorder that ensues when the fear becomes excessive and somehow limits the ability of the individual to function.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health defines it so as,

“A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder.

It is a strong, irrational fear of something

that poses little or no actual danger.”

Here are some informative links on paraskavedekatriaphobia and phobia in general:

Apart from the systematic desensitization and cognitive-behavioral approaches to treating phobias, technology also shows promise as a therapeutic approach. Through the use of Virtual Reality (VR) applications, most popularized by video games as we know, there are currently continuing studies on their role in treatment of psychological disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A program called “Virtual Iraq”, patterned after an Xbox game is on study for treatment of PTSD for example. The University of Washington Human Interface Technology Lab have conducted a successful study on the use of VR Therapy for Spider Phobia.

Here is a report of last year’s conference on Cyber Therapy, Virtual Healing, Designing Reality by Brenda K. Weiderhold, Ph.D. It holds a treasure of information in abstracts on current prospects of Virtual Reality applications in psychological and behavioral therapeutics. Just in time for the Medicine 2.0 party.

As for fear, it is to be overcome as it cripples not only the mind, but the heart and even the soul. It really doesn’t hurt to just keep Friday the 13th in the movies or to spook your friends or maybe even yourself once in a while. So, “No fear“!

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~ by Karina Descartin on 13 July 2007.

11 Responses to “Paraskavedekatriaphobia”

  1. Friday in (Modern) Greek is not Paraskave. It’s Paraskevee [phonetic: ee – sound of Greek letter Eta, which looks like capital H]

  2. Thanks, Bryan. I have the impression that when this Greek word has been incorporated in the English language, as with some root words, they are somehow optimized to suitable use and practicality. Thus, perhaps the drop of the E.

  3. Oddly enough, the courthouse parking building in downtown Houston has a 13th floor. Maybe they’re trying to say something to those who are compelled to participate in the legal system!

  4. That’s great! Makes sense too. Now, I ought to see and be in that 13th floor myself. I wonder if they’d let me in with the business of just seeing the 13th floor!

  5. I don’t know if I actually “fear” Friday the 13th. One thing I am sure of is I dread working on that day. Why? The past 18 years just proved that to be a guaranteed-chaotic-day(most of us call it “a day in hell”)—inadequate staff-full house; at least one client gets confused and jumps out of bed or hits the staff; heart rates between rooms just seem to have a race towards the roof; and just when you think the shift is over, one decides to stop breathing. Now, I wonder: does this have anything to do with hospitals not having a 13th floor nor a room 13 on every floor?

  6. or…it could have been probably worse than what you’ve just described if they had a 13th floor! 😉 Thanks for reading!

  7. re: ebook
    i wasn’t sure pero yes we use it here in uplb sometimes. but it’s not sponsored by the school of course. some profs would tell us to go to certain sites and download the portions we need. the irri library (also in uplb) is supposed to be ebook “friendly” but i haven’t tried the irri library’s facilities lately. most students here (in uplb and probably in other up units as well) have heard it. presumably, baka mas ginagamit ang ebook ng mga private universities like ateneo or la salle. well, maybe, not sure.

  8. I agree. I think that number has it’s mysteries. And thankfully, none of the urban legends occurred last night–at least to me.

  9. When I was young it was source of our ‘happy fear’. Happy in the sense that we were actually anticipating things to happen to and interpret is as the number’s curse or doing. Absurd. But nowadays I just count it as one mishap if it falls on that dreaded day.

    Anyway, thanks for the visit, comment and the link which I just noticed. I was here yesterday but my connection was too slow.

    Have a great Sunday! 🙂

  10. Believe it or not, Friday the 13th have always been a lucky day for Billy…..promotions, pay raises….etc 🙂

  11. Thanks for dropping by Nina, Angelcjr, Ipanema, and Odette!

    N: I see. Thanks for the bit of info.

    A: I’m glad it was a good Friday for you then.

    I: Yes, funny how that thing is passed on. It’s fun to have a designated scary day though. Especially for a kid. Just living and having fun I guess.

    O: Glad to know that!

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