Fear of Animatronics

Dr. Serena Miller
August 29, 2023
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fear of animatronics
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Do those whimsical characters from your childhood cause your heart to race and hand sweat out of fear now? Why do these characters shiver down your spine as an adult? Why can’t you act normally rather than avoid them? The fear of animatronics has forced us to confront these questions and find their answers. So, let’s get started!

What Does the Fear of Animatronics Mean?

Animatronics are mechatronics puppets, i.e., robot-like inanimate creatures that depict lifelike characteristics. The fear is so intense for some people that wax figures or dummies in shopping malls can trigger them. Such individuals try to avoid interaction with fear-causing entities and don’t visit places with animatronics. Thus, it restricts their social activities and disturbs life.

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    What are the Causes of the Fear?

    The fear of animatronics is also known as automatonophobia, and its causes are still unknown. But generally, it’s said that phobias are caused for the following reasons:

    1.     Genetics

    Automatonophobia can be hereditary. If it runs in your family, you have more chances of having it soon.

    2.     Personality Traits and Cognitive Capabilities

    Sometimes personality traits, like lack of bravery and weak temper, cause the phobia. Another reason can be strong imagination, which makes it difficult to differentiate between reality and fantasy.

    3.     Traumatic Past With Animatronics

    Traumatic incidents with animatronics in childhood also lead to phobia in adulthood. For instance, an unfortunate incident with mechatronic puppets at a theme park at a young age makes an individual afraid of the creatures. With time, the fear gets stronger roots and becomes a phobia.

    In some cases, the fear also develops without experiencing any distressing incident. Such a phobia is called non-experiential phobia.

    Symptoms of Automatonophobia

    A person is an automatonophobe, but how would you know that? How would anyone with the condition be recognized? Of course, by observing its symptoms.

    According to a study, individuals having certain kinds of phobia can quickly spot things causing it, be it a picture, not the actual object itself. Such people start behaving strangely and can soon be spotted by others. Sometimes, their response towards a particular animatronics can be humiliating in public.

    If you want to help such people, first, you need to know about the most prevalent symptoms in people fearing animatronics. So, here’s the list:

    • Anxiety with psychological and physical manifestations
    • Avoiding encounters with human-like objects
    • No connection with reality
    • Dying-related thoughts
    • Shaking and trembling
    • Hot and chilly flushes
    • Increased heartbeat
    • Choking sensation
    • Lightheadedness
    • Sweaty palms
    • Suffocation
    • Chest pain

    Anyone showing these symptoms needs immediate help.

    How is the Phobia of Animatronics Diagnosed?

    People with animatronics phobia are persistently in a state of anxiety. When they visit a doctor for help, he first examines the cause of stress, which can also be associated with nutritional deficiencies and brain tumors.

    Suppose it turns out that anxiety is not due to the above conditions; the doctor uses a Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) to diagnose automatonophobia. There are some requirements for DSM-5 that patients meet if

    • Exposure to human-like objects triggers panic attacks and anxiety.
    • The patient has been living with the phobia for at least 6 months.
    • There’s more fear than the actual danger posed by animatronics.
    • They try to avoid people who can trigger the phobia symptoms.
    • There’s no other illness that causes the fear.
    • It restricts day-to-day activities.

    Based on the diagnosis, the individual gets the required treatment.

    What are the Available Treatments for the Fear of Animatronics?

    Once the diagnosis successfully tells that the anxiety and panic attacks are due to the fear of animatronics, doctors move towards the treatment, which usually involves therapies and medication. The therapies involve cognitive behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, and exposure therapy. So, let’s start discussing them!

    1.     Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

    CBT is the most common treatment for phobias. According to the research, CBT modifies the brain circuitry linked to phobia and other fears, making it the best cure for severe anxiety and dread.

    In CBT, the therapist aims to desensitize the patient by exposing him to objects that cause fear. Then, they provide relaxation training to calm the nervous response. In this way, the patient starts acclimating to the stimulus’s presence.

    Additionally, the therapy helps patients overcome illogical ideas and accept that automatons are not as harmful as in imagination.

    2.     Exposure Therapy for the Animatronics Fear

    Another highly effective type of CBT against phobia is exposure therapy. In it, the therapist exposes the individual to the automatons and helps retrain the brain’s reaction. First, he gets exposed to objects that give a little dread, and slowly, they move toward high-rise entities.

    In this way, after repeated exposures, a person’s brain cells become immune to these human-like creatures, and he no longer becomes anxious or panicked after encountering them. Additionally, therapists educate individuals with coping techniques like deep breathing and muscular relaxation to improve their quality of life.

    3.     Hypnotherapy for Automatonophobes

    Hypnotherapy is also an effective treatment in which hypnotherapists help patients relax and determine the cause of fear. Its main objective is to show solidarity with phobic patients and make them realize they can contact therapists anytime for help.

    4.     Medications

    Medications like antidepressants, beta-blockers, and tranquilizers are recommended for brain relaxation and anxiety reduction. However, it must be noticed that these drugs have side effects like drowsiness. So they must be considered the last option.

    How Can BetterHelp Help in Dealing with the Fear of Animatronics?

    As stated, therapies are the best and most effective way to overcome the phobia of animatronics. BetterHelp plays its role by providing a platform to patients so that they can schedule therapy sessions with the experts.

    At BetterHelp, you have many well-trained and certified therapists and counselors. They have experience in dealing with patients with anxiety. If you are having automatonophobia, you can get help from them by signing up on the website and scheduling an online session. Depending on your mental condition, they’ll give you the required therapies. No drugs at all! Hence, you save time and money and, above all, get the comfort of your home.

    Price Comparison: BetterHelp vs. Traditional Therapy

    Here’s a comparison table showing the price of traditional therapy and virtual platforms such as BetterHelp

    Traditional Therapy BetterHelp
    It costs $100-$250 per session.Its weekly sessions cost $60-$90.
    The monthly package costs $240-$360.
    It also offers a discount.

    Hence, the table shows that BetterHelp is inexpensive and better than traditional therapies.

    The Bottom Line

    The fear of animatronics makes one’s life dark and gloomy. Such people avoid visiting museums, shopping malls, theme parks, and other areas. Moreover, they start behaving strangely, which can be insulting at times.

    To help such individuals, various therapies are available online on BetterHelp and offline. The sole purpose of these treatments is to desensitize individuals from these human-like objects.

    Author Dr. Serena Miller

    Dr. Serena Miller is a skilled psychotherapy writer with a unique ability to translate complex mental health concepts into relatable and understandable terms, making her a valuable resource for those seeking to improve their mental health.