What is Eremophobia?

In this blog we will discuss what Eremophobia is.

We will also explore the symptoms of this phobia, the causes of its development, and how to cope or manage this phobia. 

What is Eremophobia?

Eremophobia also known as Autophobia is the fear of being alone or the fear of experiencing loneliness. 

For individuals who struggle with this phobia, they experience high anxiety and fear when they perceive themselves as being alone or in a situation where they believe themselves as secluded. 

They generally need other people to be around them and often struggle with anxiety or fear when they even think about the possibility of being alone without any help nearby. 

They also have thoughts where they believe that there is a possibility of impending disaster that could happen to them when they are alone and this is why they go to extreme lengths to avoid being alone. 

The person with this phobia will generally function normally until they feel alone or suspect that they will be left alone, they will behave in ways out of desperation to end their solitude. 

This particular phobia or eremophobia is often observed in individuals with other anxiety disorders like General anxiety disorders and agoraphobia and they usually need not be physically alone to perceive themselves as alone or secluded. 

In severe cases, individuals with this fear would struggle with a lot of anxiety regarding the safety of themselves when they are alone, the possibility that they will be alone forever , or that something terrible might happen when they are alone. 

It is likely that individuals with Eremophobia would often obsess over issues related to things that they can do to avoid being alone and take up precautionary behaviours such as arranging their social schedules in such a way that they are never alone, demanding their partners to be with them always etc. 

While it is possible that this particular phobia can be a result of PTSD from negative experiences of abandonment, usually when they were younger, negative experiences while being alone, and other similar experiences. 

What are the symptoms of Eremophobia?

When it comes to Eremophobia, the most prominent symptoms that are usually observable by the individual as well as others around them includes anxiety related behaviours.

A person will develop symptoms of the phobia when they get into a situation in which they could end up alone and these symptoms include:

  • Spending to much time obsessively worrying about being alone
  • Experience fears based on thoughts of what could happen while being alone
  • They might feel detached from your body when alone
  • a feeling of extreme terror when alone or in a situation they are forced to be alone
  • an overwhelming desire to flee a situation when they are alone
  • anxiety from anticipating a situation where they are alone or experience loneliness. 

When Individual feel threatened or triggered by they might experience the following physical symptoms:

  • sweating
  • trembling
  • hot flashes or chills
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • a choking sensation
  • rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • pain or tightness in the chest
  • nausea
  • headaches and dizziness
  • feeling faint
  • numbness or pins and needles
  • dry mouth
  • ringing in your ears
  • confusion or disorientation
  • hyperventilation

In severe cases, it is also possible that such individuals might also be triggered into full blown panic attacks when they are under severe stress related to their fears of being alone which might require medical assistance in some cases. 

It is also important to mention that when it comes to phobias, it does not only include physical symptoms but also symptoms related to their psychology. 

These individuals affected by this phobia might engage in avoidance behaviours which involve them doing whatever they can, knowling and sometimes unknown, to ensure that they do not come to situations where they need to be alone. 

They might also engage in repetitive behaviours to ensure that they always have someone with them, obsess over the thoughts of being alone, do things that ensures constant companionship to the point that they neglect their other areas of responsibility like their work, their personal relationships etc. 

At some point they might develop other phobias, anxiety disorders such as panic disorder, social phobias, as well as agoraphobia if their symptoms cause much dysfunction in their lives, and because of this they might also develop a sense of hopelessness and eventually, depression. 

What causes Eremophobia ?

It has not been clearly determined what causes Eremophobia however, it is suspected that the phobia is caused by the following factors:

  • Genetic vulnerability to anxiety and other mental disorders.
  • Family history of anxiety disorders
  • Past negative experiences, usually related to situations where they were alone and something traumatic happened to them. 
  • Experience of abandonment as a child by their parent or primary caregiver which leads to the fear that all the important people in their lives will leave them. 
  • Experience of death and loss of loved ones. 
  • Panic disorder where individuals fear that they will have a panic disorder when they are alone. 
  • Agoraphobia where individuals fear that something bad will happen, like a panic attack, if they go out alone.

How to cope with Eremophobia?

Here are a few things that you can do to cope with Eremophobia, provided that it is not causing any dysfunction of your day to day lives, and it is mild or manageable. 

  • Engaging in Rationalising your thoughts related to your fears and anxiety by making use of worksheets and workbooks related to anxiety and phobias while also putting forward real evidence to calm your anxieties.
  • Exercises to help you calm down, expel excess energies, and to maintain an elevated and happy mood. 
  • Engage in activities with full commitment such as work, hobbies, etc that allows you to enjoy your time even when you are alone. 
  • Seeking out support from friends and family in the case that you find yourself extremely afraid. Reaching out to them, via phone call or asking them to be with you on days that the anxiety is really overpowering can be a good way to cope. 

What are the treatment options for Eremophobia?

If your symptoms are debilitating or severe to the point where it is getting in the way of your day to day life, the most advisable thing you can do is to seek treatment from a mental health professional.

The treatment options for this particular phobia follow the same treatment as most Specific phobia treatments go.

You will have the option of engaging in Behavioural change techniques used in behavioural therapy as well as cognitive behavioural therapy techniques which have enough evidence that set them as good treatment options for anxiety and specific phobia disorders. 

Cognitive behavioural therapy

In terms of Cognitive behavioural therapies your therapist will teach you how to regulate your negative and irrational thoughts when you come across triggers. 

As you engage in therapy you will start learning to alter your thoughts, develop an awareness of how you feel, and as a consequence the way you react in situations where you are faced with a real or imagined trigger. 

Rational Emotive Behavioural therapy

REBT is an action-oriented type of CBT that addresses unhealthy or irrational beliefs and attitudes that influence thoughts,  emotions, and behaviours. 

It follows the ABC model of developing an awareness about the processes that influenced the development of the phobia such as the activating event, the beliefs that were developed as a result and the consequences of those beliefs. 

It uses a method known as “disputing” to assist individuals develop realistic and healthy beliefs and as a consequence develop the ability to rationalise their thoughts and their emotional and behavioural responses as well. 

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Scelerophobia

MBSR is an evidence-based program that involves mindfulness training to help people who are suffering from anxiety and other mental health issues. 

MBSR could be helpful in helping individuals deal with their phobia as it has been found to be effective in tackling anxiety issues in most cases by engaging in relaxation techniques like deep breathing, medication etc.

The program involves teaching and training individuals to develop skills to cope with the ansirty or to reduce the intensity of the anxiety related to being alone so that they can cope in situations where they have to be alone. 

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy involves you being placed in a non-dangerous state that allows you to come in contact with your triggers and trigger a phobia response. 

These situations differ in intensity and the constant exposure to a situation where the individual comes to confront themselves being alone has been hypothesised to help you develop familiarity and reduce fear. 

Pharmacological treatment

If your anxiety is extremely severe your doctor may prescribe you antidepressants or an anti-anxiety medication to assist your phobia treatment, your panic, and other physical symptoms.

These medications will most probably be prescribed to you in the case that you have been diagnosed with Specific phobia disorder, meaning that the phobia has now affected your life significantly. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed what eremophobia is.

We have also explored the symptoms of this phobia, the causes of its development, and how to cope or manage this phobia. 

FAQ related to Eremophobia

Is Aibohphobia a real word?

Aibohphobia refers to the fear of palindromes, which are words that read the same front and back. Ironically, the word Aibohphobia itself is a palindrome. 

Is monophobia a word?

Yes, Monophobia is the unofficial name given to the fear of being alone. 

Monophonia also known as Autophobia is the fear of being alone or the fear of experiencing loneliness. 

For individuals who struggle with this phobia, they experience high anxiety and fear when they perceive themselves as being alone or in a situation where they believe themselves as secluded. 

They generally need other people to be around them and often struggle with anxiety or fear when they even think about the possibility of being alone without any help nearby. 

Do I have autophobia?

Here are a few signs that could indicate that you have Autophobia:

  • Spending to much time obsessively worrying about being alone
  • Experience fears based on thoughts of what could happen while being alone
  • They might feel detached from your body when alone
  • a feeling of extreme terror when alone or in a situation they are forced to be alone
  • an overwhelming desire to flee a situation when they are alone
  • anxiety from anticipating a situation where they are alone or experience loneliness.

What is erotophobia?

Erotophobia is a phobia that involves excessive and irrational fear of sex in one way or the other and can involve either the fear of intercourse or the fear of being touched.

One of the major causes of this phobia is past experiences of sexual encoruters that were negative, traumatic and this can lead to PTSD like symotoms related to sex. 

What is Glossophobia?

Glossophobia refers to the fear of speaking, usually in public. When individuals with thai phobia has to speak in public they experience:

  • sweating
  • Trembling
  • hot flashes or chills
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • a choking sensation
  • rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • pain or tightness in the chest
  • nausea
  • headaches and dizziness
  • feeling faint
  • numbness or pins and needles
  • dry mouth
  • ringing in your ears
  • confusion or disorientation
  • hyperventilation

References

Cirino. E. Autophobia. Healthline. Retrieved on 2nd February 2022. https://www.healthline.com/health/autophobia

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