How to cope with Halloween related fears

Photo of Clowns. (WISH photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It is the season of spiders, bats and all things spooky.

Some people get into the spirit of Halloween but for some, the time of year can be really frightful.

There are all types of Halloween related phobias like the fear of masks known as maskaphobia, coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, or samhainophobia, the fear of Halloween.

A specific phobia is defined as an intense, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

A fear becomes a phobia when it is excessive and unreasonable.

“You would do treatment if it’s something that’s impacting their life, if they’re distressed more days than not. That it’s bothered them for more than six months. Then it might be a good idea to seek a therapist,” said Stephena Sheets, a registered nurse at IU Health.

She said with the changing of the seasons and it becoming darker earlier, sometimes people are more anxious and it can lead to other health issues.

“We see more depression this time of year but phobias tend to be all year long. If you’re fearful of spiders, that’s going to be in the summer, winter, or whenever,” Sheets added.

Most phobias are seen year round, like the fear of spiders, heights, or escalators, not just around Halloween.

The National Institute of Mental Health says about nine percent of adults deal with specific phobias and about 15 percent of children 13 to 18-years-old.

Sheets said treatment may be needed if you have tried to avoid the phobia and not had success or if it has started to impact your daily life.

Common treatment involves exposure therapy and/or cognitive behavioral therapy. If the problem persists, medication may be used for treatment.