For those that habitually or occupationally spend much of their time in the wastes, there can be the acqusition of various mental byproducts of exposure to the conditions. Some can develop any of a number of fears or hallucinations relating to the desert, it's storms, the mirages or even the feeling of sand shifting beneath the feet. Sand Psychosis has become the umbrella under which all these related illnesses have been gathered. Some cases are acute, and associated with an extreme event and with therapy patients can come to terms with the underlying cause. The most common event leading up to an episode of debilitating sand psychosis is living through one of Odemark's extreme sand storms. Patients talk about voices in the wind, clawing fingers scratching on shelters, lights moving through the storm and even fingers reaching through walls for them. Surviving companions relate how seemingly normal friends began to cry, wail, curl into fetal positions, beg for forgiveness and mercy. Others suddenly became paranoid to the point of accusing companions of trying to have them killed and taking violent actions. Some even burst out of the shelter to run shrieking into the storm. Therapists must take into account the specific events and indentify the possible underlying issues. Amathophobia can develop after enduring a prolonged sand storm. Hallucinations of wispy plumes of dust turning into tentacles or grasping fingers are key signs of repressed fears of sand or dust. If a patient presents with stories of a persistant feeling of being swallowed up by the desert and describes the way sand shifts underfoot when walking then treatment for ammosphobia should begin. The patient should walk in trays with thin layers of small gravel and progress to deeper layers and finer particles. The most difficult to treat fear is of the desert itself. Sufferers of eremikophobia may not actually be afraid of the desert, but some part or feature of it. A therapist will have their work set for them with such a patient. It will be a challenge to get through to the core of the problem. It could be anything from the openness, agoraphobia, or the color, xanthophobia, or even the undulations of the dunes, cymophobia. Many long term sufferers of sand psychosis resort to self medication to control the symptoms. There is a high likelyhood of reliance on some form of addiction as a coping mechanism to combat other debilative mental illnesses. This addiction should not be the primary focus of therapy as it is just a symptomatic response of the sand psychosis cascade.
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