Monophobia (also known as Autophobia) refers to an acute fear of being alone or having to manage in the absence of people or a specific person in close proximity. Sure, we may all feel a little lonely from time to time but that’s not what we’re talking about here. Monophobia / Autophobia is very different to this.
A monophobic person will experience severe anxiety when he/she is left alone. Sometimes just the thought of having to be alone can trigger such a reaction too. This condition can seriously affect life and prove socially crippling for the sufferer.
As with any phobia, we’re not just taking about feeling a little uneasy when we find ourself alone. We’re talking about an extreme and irrational fear to the point that, when there’s no one around, a monophobic will experience extreme anxiety, stress and panic attacks. Some monophobics even find it impossible to use the lavatory if another person is not there in the room with them! That’s the kind of extreme effects that monophobia can have!
No one need fear being alone though – there are face to face treatment programs and self-help programs that really do work.
Sometimes we all like to have company but it’s impossible to be around others at all times. To most of us that’s no problem. Sometimes being alone is quite nice … that bit of “me time” … I certainly love it occasionally! To anyone suffering with a fear of being a lone it’s a huge issue though. Just being alone for a short time can set of extreme anxiety and panic.
Monophobia is not an officially registered condition but it is a recognised form of specific phobia. It goes by the alternative name of Autophobia too but it should not be confused with similar conditions which relate more to loneliness.
It’s fairly common for monophobia to be linked to other forms of anxiety too. In addition to the fear of being alone, persons suffering from monophobia will often experience panic or stress in unfamiliar situations too. Some may be afraid of staying away from specific locations or people if they associate these locations or people with familiarity and safety. It is also possible to find a link agoraphobia which can cause sufferers anxiety when they find themselves in unfamiliar environments or where they perceive that they have little control.
When it comes to the cause of a fear of being alone it’s very often traced back to some form of traumatic event from the past of it’s “inherited” from the behaviour of a monophobic close relative, peer or influencer in your life. Being abandoned or neglected, divorce, the death of a parent, domestic abuse are all amongst the triggers. Equally though, you just may have nevr learnt to be comfortable by yourself and never had to be.
The symptoms of Monophobia or Autophobia are triggered when the sufferer finds themselves alone or sometimes when they are simply thinking or worrying about potentially being alone – even in what should be regarded as a comfortable environment like your own home..
It can also refer to being completely alone or away from a specific person but still in the company of others.
Monophobia is an unofficial form of social anxiety disorder. As such, the symptoms one can expect are similar to those of all other such conditions. Symptoms can range in severity from mild to severe. Mild or moderate symptoms may be indicators of a developing condition. These can include:
Left unchecked these symptoms may become more severe over time. Severe symptoms may include disorientation, extreme nausea and full blown panic attacks.
Huffington Post reported the results of a study of 2000 people carried out by Today and AOL. It found that over 1 in 3 people said that they fear being alone with women being at higher risk than men. To be honest though, when you drill down into this study we don’t think it specifically relates to Monophobia and we anticipate numbers to be far, far lower. After all, the widely accepted percentage of people who suffer from any form of specific phobia each year is under 9% (results quoted from ADAA) and only around 12.5% of us will experience phobia in our lives so it makes no sense for monophobia to produce such high numbers.
Other studies report can create a confusion against statistics for loneliness – which, again, are far higher.
However, the fact is that because it’s not an official, stand alone condition there is no accurate data to tell us eactly how many people suffer from Monophobia but we would estimate numbers to be low.
If you’re suffering from a fear of being alone the natural way to resolve the problem is to take avoidance action to ensure that you have someone around you at all times. But that is never possible without you letting the condition control your life and without taking advantage of others. No matter how hard you try the avoidance way it’s not going to work all the time – there WILL be times when you will have find yourself alone. That’s why you need to deal with it and take back control.
If you recognise it as being or becoming a problem it’s important you take action. If you simply prefer to have someone around and just feel slightly anxious when alone you may not see it as too much of an issue but watch closely for it worsening. The earlier you catch it the easier it is to remedy.
Hypnotherapy is a proven form of treatment which works by re-setting the sub-conscious mind so that it produces a rational response to a specific situation of finding yourself alone. Find Out More >
Neuro-linguistic programming or NLP is all about reframing your fear of being alone in a more positive way and disassociating it with the symptoms currently experienced. Find Out More >
By far the most common and recognised therapy for Monophobia is Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT as it’s more commonly know. This is a talking therapy which take your own specific monophobia and focusses on your thoughts and beliefs of the condition and your attitudes and behaviours to it. It aims to change the way you think about being alone and to produce a different, more positive response to it. Find Out More >
For those who can’t bear even the thought of being alone and who feel they need to be around people at all times we suggest you take a look at our recommended, self-help treatment programs that are guaranteed, proven and effective.