The Components of Roller Coaster Phobia
Roller coaster phobia appears to actually be based in several other phobias, any of which can be enough to trigger a fear of coasters.
Acrophobia -- The fear of heights is a generalized phobia that may cover any experience of being up high. Severity varies dramatically between sufferers, ranging from fear only above a certain height to the inability to even climb a stepladder. Acrophobia is sometimes confused with vertigo, a medical condition that can cause dizziness or a spinning sensation (at any height). Roller coasters tend to be tall, with long drops, making them challenging for those with a fear of heights.
Illygnophobia -- The fear of vertigo may be related to the fear of heights. However, those with illygnophobia are not afraid to be up high. Instead, they are afraid that looking down might cause dizziness and vertigo. Although the difference is subtle, it is important. Those with illygnophobia may be afraid even on coasters that do not go very high, as they worry that the banked curves and other features may lead to dizziness.
Claustrophobia -- By design, roller coaster seats are small and tight, and the restraints fit extremely snugly. This is necessary for safety, but can trigger claustrophobia. Those who are uncomfortable with enclosed spaces often find that the worst part of a coaster is being locked down with no escape.
Social Phobia -- Some people do not fear the roller coaster itself, but instead worry that they will have an embarrassing reaction to the coaster. Roller coaster trains tend to be long and hold a number of people. Those with social phobia may worry that they will be judged for screaming, cringing, or otherwise reacting to the coaster’s movements. Particularly in teenagers, this fear may be enhanced if the fearful person’s friends will also ride.
Mysophobia -- On a roller coaster, it is impossible to maintain much distance between yourself and those around you. Those with mysophobia, or fear of germs, may worry about coming into contact with strangers. In addition, there is always the possibility that someone on the coaster will vomit or urinate, possibly exposing the phobic person to those bodily fluids.
Emetophobia -- The fear of vomiting is surprisingly common. Those who suffer from this fear may go to great lengths to avoid situations that they feel could cause an upset stomach. As roller coasters are designed to be unsettling, the physical sensations could cause someone with emetophobia to skip the ride. (247 days ago)