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Friday, August 14, 2020

Dutchphobia: the Irrational Fear of the Dutch or Netherlands

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People of the Netherlands are known as Dutch. These people are part of the West Germanic ethnicity with ‘’Dutch’’ as their official language. Like every other ethnicity, they have their own culture, festivals, and beliefs.

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While many people including Dutch people, some outsiders, and visitors see the Dutch’s culture, festivals and beliefs are beautiful, some find them disturbing that they fear even the thought of anything relating to Dutch and its culture, and the fear of Dutch is called Dutchphobia.

Dutchphobia may be as a result of specific experiences and other factors causing unpleasant symptoms to them, which may affect the sufferer’s day-to-day activities but can be treated by therapy and medications.

What is Dutchphobia?

Dutchphobia is widely considered as a social fear because it means the fear of Dutch and the culture of the Dutch.

Dutchphobia is a psychological condition that can happen to anyone with unpleasant symptoms, which can be life-limiting, but it is very treatable.

Causes of Dutchphobia

Generally, experts believe that phobias are a result of some factors which could trigger the development of the condition. These factors are divided into two, and they are:

  • The intrinsic factors
  • The extrinsic factors

The intrinsic factors

These factors relate to the internal make-up of the individual, which may include:

  • Heredity and genetics: It is believed that the genetic make-up of an individual is the cause of certain conditions such as; Sickle cell anemia, etc. Experts believe that if other conditions can be inherited from an ancestor who must have had it, then phobias specifically Dutchphobia.
  • Personality: Personality is defined as qualities of an individual’s way of talking, thinking, feeling, and doing things. Personality influences our moods, attitudes, and views. A person whose character is characterized by hatred, a feeling of superiority or fear may see or hear something they find utterly fearful about Dutch, which puts him or her at risk of developing Dutchphobia.

The extrinsic factors

These are factors surrounding the individual that could be the cause of the development of the condition.

  • Trauma: Generally, it is believed that trauma is the common cause of phobias. A traumatic event can leave an indelible mental mark on the individual which can go a long way in denting the individual’s life. Dutchphobia is likely to develop after a traumatic experience with anything relating to Dutch.
  • Background upbringing: They say that the environment of an individual has a significant influence on the well-being, beliefs, and attitudes of the person. A child growing up in an environment that always paints the Dutch people and their culture in scary ways or a home with one or two family members with this condition is likely to develop Dutchphobia too.

Experts suggest that the development of this condition may be a result of the combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors.

Symptoms of Dutchphobia

In phobias, symptoms experienced are different across individuals depending on the degree of fear that person possesses.

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These symptoms can be life-limiting, disrupting the individual’s normal way of living as well as the person’s intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships.

These symptoms manifest in two forms – The physical and the psychological, proving that this condition affects both the physical and the psychological well-being of an individual.

Physical Symptoms

Sufferers of Dutchphobia frequently have panic attacks when triggered. The panic attacks that they experience can be so frightening that it puts the sufferer in a state of distress.

Although sufferers have to be triggered before they experience some symptoms accompanying this condition, these symptoms can be experienced suddenly without any warning.

Panic attacks can be so overwhelming to an individual that they cause physical reactions such as:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Trembling
  • Hot flushes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A choking sensation
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sharp chest pain
  • An impression of butterflies in the stomach
  • Nausea
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Feeling faint
  • Nerve numbness
  • Dry mouth
  • A need to go to the toilet
  • Ringing or buzzing in ears
  • Confusion
  • Hyperventilation
  • Increase in blood pressure

Psychological Symptoms

In a handful of very serious cases, an individual may experience panic attacks triggered by Dutchphobia, most times when exposed to anything that can cause the individual to be triggered.

The following are symptoms that prove that Dutchphobia affects the psychological well-being of the patient:

  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of fainting
  • Feelings of dread
  • Fear of death and dying
  • Fear of harm or illness
  • Guilt, shame, self-blame
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Feeling disconnected
  • Confusion, difficulty concentrating
  • Anger, irritability, mood swings
  • Anxiety and fear

However, in some rare cases, people have had what we call ‘’Complex phobias’’ which are like a chain of phobias linked together.

This is life-limiting because it would make the individual not to have the ability to live a normal life and maintain a healthy social life. Once the person is triggered, he or she is bound to have the intertwine of the symptoms mentioned above with depression adding to the list.

Treatment of Dutchphobia

Dutchphobia

Like in many phobias, sufferers always feel the need to avoid encountering their source of fear so that they won’t be triggered, but sometimes, this is difficult and maybe impossible. Mind you that most times, you cannot escape your thoughts.

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In treating Dutchphobia, Professional assistance is needed. A mental health worker may be able to help you overcome Dutchphobia.

According to experts, consulting a mental specialist working cooperatively with you may be a cure for most phobias, but there are no treatments available for them or has a guarantee that it will work. Majorly, it depends on the individual and how severe the condition is.

Talking Therapy for Dutchphobia

Talking therapy, including counseling, could be effective in the treatment of Dutchphobias. This involves a professional therapist working closely with you to achieve the following aim:

  • Help you identify negative behavior and thought and find ways to change them; that is if you want to.
  • Help you resolve complicated feelings, or adopt ways to live with them
  • Help you make sense of things and understand yourself better
  • Give you scheduled time and comfortable place to talk to someone who will not judge you

By just merely having to speak to your therapist about your thoughts, feelings, moods, and behavior, session after session, you hope to achieve the above-listed aims.

(CBT) CognitiveCognitive-behavioral

Experts suggest that our thoughts and perception have a heavy and constant influence on our behavior. The continuous experiences of anxiety, mental stress, and distress influence your perception and distort it over reality.

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy helps you identify the negative thought patterns, anxiety, fear, and those unhelpful distorted perceptions you have of Dutch and then equip you with strategies to help overcome them.

Medication

There are three major types of medicines recommended for the treatment of anxieties and anxiety disorders, and they include:

These drugs always have psychoactive effects on the people when taken. Although they are not the cure for phobias they are administered for its calming effects which can help control anxiety. They can be prescribed even on the course of therapies.

Note: These medicines are to be used when prescribed and the instructions of the prescription should be followed strictly. Because your doctor has better knowledge of this, these medications are prescribed to be used short-term only because long-term use can result in substance use disorder – Addiction and Dependence. Do not self-medicate.

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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.

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