Invisible fear: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors and Risk factors for invisible fear in relation to other psychological illnesses

Fear of the intangible or the unknown can be difficult to describe because all these feelings and thoughts around fear are in our heads. Feelings of anxiety and restlessness born from fear and also negative thoughts create mental blocks, which greatly affects the way we live and if let loose can have a negative impact on health. We will help you better understand the causes, symptoms, risk factors of invisible fear in life and ways to overcome it.

So what is the fear of the invisible?

First, to understand invisible fear, let’s read the story about the elephant in the zoo below:

In the zoo there was an elephant, when the elephant was very young, it was dazzled by the manager with a rope. But the elephant wanted a free life in the forest, he struggled desperately, trying to bloody couldn’t cut the rope. So the little elephant gave up, the elephant grew up in the zoo, then a huge fire broke out, the elephant did not run away, but left the fire approaching. Because he was limited by past failures, it abandoned all attempts to flee.

In life too, in fact, all efforts are exchanged for only 2 words “Failure”. Wait until you have the means, you also no longer have the courage to break free of the invisible rope that still binds you. So another loop continues.

It can be shown that the bond in the mind is by fear, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of damage, fear of people around,… is stopping you, those are signs that you are bound by an invisible rope. But to break these things is not easy, we are often more comfortable with things that are not easily changed and have difficulty accepting that something that comes our way unexpectedly. In other words, uncertainty is part of the experience within each of us. While some people show strength, others even become paralyzed or emotionally disturbed. How people react to uncertainty depends on how afraid they are of the unknown. Human potential is limitless, but most of us have not yet fully exploited that potential. That’s because people always want to adapt to what is most familiar and comfortable.

Researchers define fear of the intangible as the tendency to fear something about which we don’t have any information. For a person, fear of the unknown can make them feel uncomfortable, even depressed. If a person feels extremely uncomfortable and anxious when encountering an unknown or unfamiliar situation, they may have developed a state of mind known as “intolerance of uncertainty.” This means that those people feel unable to tolerate uncertain circumstances.

The most common symptoms of invisible fear

The influence of invisible fear can be expressed through several symptoms:

  • Tachycardia
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Muscle tension
  • Feeling of weakness, lack of vitality
  • Blood sugar (blood sugar) spikes

When a threat is short-lived, symptoms disappear quickly. But if a reasonable person imagines worst-case scenarios or even catastrophes that could ensue. The bad condition is known as a cognitive distortion, a way of thinking that creates an inaccurate view of reality.

The cause of invisible fear

There are several causes of typical invisible fear: lack of predictability and lack of control.

Lack of predictability is the feeling that we don’t have enough information to make accurate predictions that can increase our anxiety. This leads us to seek more information about the event that worries us.

Lack of control is the feeling that we can’t control our circumstances that inevitably causes our anxiety levels to rise. This can easily throw us off balance, making poor judgments and decisions in sensitive situations.

Risk factors for invisible fear

Behavioral scientists have discovered several risk factors associated with invisible fears:

Anxiety and fear disorders

If you have an anxiety and fear disorder, you may be more likely to develop an invisible phobia. In a 2016 study, Trusted Source researchers investigated over 160 adults who heard unpredictable sounds and shocks. They found that people with social anxiety disorder and phobias blink more, faster, when they have to anticipate an unpleasant, indefinite experience.

This leads the researchers to conclude that these people were more sensitive to worry about the unknown. Children with anxiety disorders seem to be particularly vulnerable to the intangible.


People with depression feel more anxious about uncertainty than the average person. Some psychologists argue that it is more likely that unknown fears in people with depression stem from the anxiety that accompanies major depression.

Gastrointestinal disorders

Psychologists have studied the association of fear of the invisible in people with eating disorders. They found that people with eating disorders tend to feel quite anxious when thinking about the unknown in the future.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Intolerance of uncertainty is a common worry for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In a 2013 study, 603 study participants with obsessive-compulsive disorder answered questions about their symptoms. Fear of the invisible is what causes four of the symptoms they reported:

  • Keeping things overly organized
  • Regularly check your work and supplies
  • Wash your hands often
  • Always stay away from polluted places

Compulsive hoarding

Scientists studied people with hoarding disorder and found an increased tolerance for invisible fears. In a 2019 study, fifty-seven people with hoarding disorder completed group therapy sessions. Researchers have found that when therapists address fear of the invisible, treatment outcomes improve.

Finally, invisible fear is the tendency to be afraid when you don’t have any information about what you’re facing. It can develop into intolerance of uncertainty. To control fear, you can identify areas within your control, create a step-by-step plan, practice mindfulness to ground yourself in the present, or talk to someone you trust.

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