Anthropophobia – Fear of People Phobia
Do you experience extreme anxiety while in the company of other people?
Do you dread those family meet-ups? Have you tried not to feel nervous when around others, but you just can’t?
Do you sweat profusely or experience panic attacks at the mere thought of meeting people?
Do you prefer being alone all the time, and you don’t know why? While you don’t have anything against people, do you refuse to step out of home because you’ll encounter someone, anyone? If so, then the question you need to ask yourself at this point is, do I have anthropophobia?
If you answered with a “perhaps,” read on to learn more!
What is Anthropophobia?
Anthropophobia comes from two words, anthro meaning people, and phobia meaning fear. Anthropophobia is, therefore, an extreme and intense fear of people.
Anthropophobia should not be confused with social phobia. Social phobia incorporates a wide variety of social fears like public speaking and standing in front of people. With anthropophobia, you will be very anxious even in the company of one person. Dinner time with your family will be a monumental task.
A person with social phobia may feel safe where they appear incognito or where their appearance is not felt. However, people with anthropophobia will freak out, even when they’re in the back of a room, oblivious to everybody around them. To tell the difference, you will need an anthropophobia test.
While physical symptoms for most phobias are similar, signs such as anticipatory anxiety will help you to determine whether you genuinely have anthropophobia.
What Causes Anthropophobia?
While it’s challenging to identify a specific trigger for anthropophobia, experts attribute it to several factors. For many patients, there is a high possibility that the fear was triggered by a negative experience with an older person. What started your fear of people? Could it have been abuse, or were you a witness to a violent incident? Experiences such as these often result in a phobia of people.
If you are naturally anxious, your fear could be a result of the anxiety. People diagnosed with anxiety disorders can quickly develop anthropophobia.
Certain health conditions and disabilities can also trigger anxiety. For example, a person with albinism might prefer to be alone due to the stigma they’ve experienced, such as constant staring. If this fear is not addressed sooner, anthropophobia may be inescapable.
It is also possible to develop anthropophobia from learned behaviors. Learning a behavior does not necessarily refer to the academic acquiring of knowledge. You could have started responding differently to people based on how someone close to behaves when in the presence of others.
What are the symptoms of anthropophobia? To conduct a proper anthropophobia test, we need to look into the possible symptoms. Since there are no specific clinical symptoms, clinicians refer to symptoms experienced by people with other phobias. These symptoms may be physical or psychological.
● Stomach upset and discomfort
● Sweating and shaking when talking to others
● Troubled breathing
● Increased heartbeat rate
● Having speech difficulties
● Experiencing sleeping problems
● Major fear and anxiety about a person or persons
● Anticipatory anxiety when you think of meeting up with people
● Wanting to run away
● Anticipating that something terrible will happen
Is it possible to live a people-fear free-life?
We’ve put together a list of “how to!”
While you can’t treat anthropophobia with prescribed medication, you can explore various treatment options. Treating the phobia of people requires you to adopt a positive approach and suppress associated fearful thoughts and emotions. You can try self-care tips before reaching out to a professional.
Self-help is the best form of treatment for any phobia. Meditating, joining a self-help group, anxiety coping methods, etc., will go a long way to reduce the impact the dread of people has on your life.
Apply Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques are diverse. One relaxation technique that works is controlled breathing. Taking deep breaths before leaving the house will calm you down. Count as you breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth.
If you feel the onset of a panic attack in the presence of people, controlled breathing will calm your surging anxiety.
Use Self-help Resources
Many resources like books and online programs will teach you how to cope with your fear. Some of these books and online resources were written by people that overcame their phobias. What better way to treat anxiety than to hear from people that have recovered from their fear?
Expose Yourself to Your Fear
Make a steady effort to interact with people. Interacting with people could turn your world upside down because you will be exposing yourself to the very thing you fear. Your anxiety will slowly start to shrink, and you will find yourself enjoying company other than yours. Getting used to being around people may take time, but it will surely be worth the effort. If you find yourself comfortable around just one person, you will have won a significant part of the battle.
Professional treatment for phobias incorporates therapies. While many therapies are available, choose what suits you best. For you as an anthropophobia patient, it might be hard to open up to a therapist because it means sharing a space with them. That is okay. Pick an alternative that allows you to feel safe, like online interaction.
Just give yourself time and push harder every day. Ensure that you can point out daily progress.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and commitment therapy or simply ACT is a form of psychotherapy that will help you address and control challenging emotions. All you will be required to do is accept that there is a problem and act accordingly to alleviate it. A medical professional will help you understand what you dread about people through what you share.
After you have accepted the very thing out of your control, take full charge and apply strategies that will put you firmly on the road to recovery.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a psychological treatment that works to ease a fear by helping the patient confront what they are afraid of. CBT is different from the self-care tip where you will expose yourself to your anxiety.
A professional will help you to interact with people gradually and in a controlled setting. They will do so according to how they have understood your fear.
How To Cope with Anthropophobia
Anthropophobia is an extreme fear that robs you of a vibrant social life. While its implications are far-reaching, it doesn’t have to be that way. Recovery is possible and depends on your willingness and determination. Don’t allow a fear to dictate what you can or cannot do and whether you can have a social life.
Anthropophobia can cost you friendships, job opportunities, leisure activities, and family love. You will realize that all spheres of life require interaction. Before you decide to relocate to an island to live alone, address your anxiety about people.
Human contact is not only a crucial part of your life, but it is also an inevitable basic human need. While therapy works, addressing the phobia of people on a personal level is all you require. Let it register in your mind that anthropophobia can be overcome and work towards unlearning any negative perception you have of people.