Monophobia refers to an acute fear of being alone or having to manage in the absence of a specific person in close proximity. The specific person may be in the same apartment or house or the same room. Some monophobics find it even impossible to use the lavatory if another person is not there in the room with them.
People may feel lonely sometimes, but a monophobic person experiences severe anxiety when he/she is left alone. This condition can be extremely frustrating and socially crippling for the sufferer. An anxiety disorder can cause this condition. The condition may manifest along with symptoms related to anxiety disorders.
As with any phobia and as we said earlier, we’re not just taking about a little unease. We’re talking about an extreme and irrational fear. As such, when left alone, a monophobic individual may experience extreme anxiety and panic attacks.
Often though, identifying the trigger or cause may be easier said than done.
Monophobia – Fear Of Being Alone Symptoms And Treatment Options
Persons suffering from monophobia may experience panic or stress in unfamiliar situations, in addition to the fear of solitude alone. Some others may even be afraid of staying away from specific locations or people as they associate these locations and people with familiarity and safety. It is possible to relate the fear of solitude to agoraphobia which reduces self-confidence and the feeling that the individual will be able to carry out the activities alone.
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Symptoms of Monophobia
At the core, monophobia may be the fear of solitude or being alone, but in many patients it appears as fear of being without the specific person. As the person suffering from this disorder depends on one person for comfort and solace, symptoms of this phobia do not show up until a life-changing event such as the death of the person providing comfort occurs. When this happens, the sufferer may experience extreme anxiety and even panic attacks.
Monophobia, a social anxiety disorder, shares symptoms with other anxiety disorders. The most severe symptoms experienced by a monophobe may include disorientation, nausea and panic attacks. The symptoms of a minor nature, however, may be indicative of a developing condition. These can include muscle tension and soreness, breathing difficulty, uncontrollable shaking, intense fear, increased heart rate, dry mouth and the feeling of an impending disaster.
The symptoms of monophobia generally occur in a monophobic person when the source of comfort is taken away from his/her vicinity.
Monophobia Treatment Options
A person with monophobia cannot be talked out of his/her problem as may be possible with other phobias. The anxiety that the person feels may not be intellectually justified, but the point that it is not dangerous to be alone can be proved only by providing an experience. Therefore, a strategic recovery program that allows the phobic get used to being in solitude for gradually increasing periods of time.
The therapy that is frequently used is cognitive-behavioral therapy and exposure or systematic desensitization therapy. The reports published by National Institute Mental Health indicate that about 75% of the people who have specific phobias get over their fears through cognitive-behavioral therapy.
In exposure therapy, the sufferer is exposed in a controlled and safe manner to the situation or object that he/she fears. Repeated experiences make the patient realize that the unpleasant situation need not be actually harmful. As the monophobic person becomes desensitized to the fear, he/she does not exhibit panic or anxiety when confronted by the fear.
Relaxation as well as techniques that relieve stress is frequently used to provide support to other treatment methods. Relaxation techniques include specific breathing methods, muscle relaxation training, soothing self-talk or guided mental imagery.
Medication may be prescribed by doctors for treating monophobia, but it important to note that drugs do not help cure monophobia, but they help to temporarily relieve the symptoms.
The Fear of Being Alone – Treatment
There’s not many of us that enjoy being alone but monophobia is more than that … much more! It’s an acute fear of being alone or not having anyone. Such a fear is life changing and needs to be managed and treated.
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