This 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.
“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:
- C T R N, just one of the alleys to go to.
- American Psychiatric Association and
- American Psyhological Association, should you be seriously suffering from it.
- Fighting Phobias, The Things That Go Bump In The Mind, some words from the FDA.
- Phobias by the Mayo Clinic.
- The Fear Factor: Phobias, this is the rest of the WebMD Article.
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“!