Do you constantly fear that your loved one may leave you? Or the thought of living alone makes you feel anxious? Being alone is sad. However, when it is a constant fear then it has an impact on your life. Autophobia is a specific fear. The definition of autophobia is the person feels anxious because of the thought of staying alone.
In this article, learn more about the definition of autophobia, the causes and symptoms and also how to manage it.
Definition of Autophobia
They may live in fear of:
- burglars entering the house.
- not being loved
- being unwanted
- having a sudden medical problem
- hearing noises which others cannot hear.
Autophobia can be defined as irrational anxiety. This is because the person fears they may have to live alone. There is no threat of being alone, but still, the person feels this way. The person feels better only when they no longer feel alone. When they’re alone, they find ways to end their solitude. People with autophobia may fear that their loved ones are going to leave them. This will also make them feel lonely.
Autophobia vs. Loneliness
Loneliness is because a person feels that they have too few social interactions or connections. People can feel lonely even when others are around. People can feel anxious when they are lonely, but this anxiety is lesser than that of autophobia.
Autophobia means severe anxiety. It is caused by the idea of spending time alone.
- strong worry about being alone
- thinking of fears of what could happen when alone
- being detached from your body when alone
- having a panic attack when alone.
- a lot of fear when alone.
- a lot of fear when thinking about when you could be alone.
- a strong wish to escape when you’re alone
- being nervous when thinking about loneliness
- Autophobia can lead to the following behaviours:
Based on the definition of autophobia, the following behaviors can be seen
- finding extreme ways to not be alone
- looking for a company.
- not wanting people to leave.
- lack of independence in relationships.
Diagnosis of Autophobia
Based on the symptoms, the clinician may diagnose a specific phobia if the fear and negative emotions have lasted for more than 6 months. Also, if the symptoms get in the way of the person’s social or work life. It is also needed to know the cause of their symptoms. This helps to find ways to treat them better.
Causes of Autophobia
- being alone in a traumatic event
- feeling abandoned in childhood.
- divorce or a death in the family
- distress in childhood
- someone in the family has the same phobia or different.
- Childhood Experiences
Like other phobias, autophobia is because of childhood experiences. This could be because it was traumatic. This also leads to fear. It may root in abandonment issues. A parent leaving or a loved one who passed away is one such instance. Any distressing relationships during childhood could also be possible reasons. For instance, there is a story of a child left by his mother on the road, and he has fear of being alone.
- Traumatic Experience
Any traumatic experience may cause autophobia. It is also because you experienced or saw a loved one having a medical issue when alone. Another example is of a burglar entering when you were alone at home. If such issues are hard, this affects the person. Not only will these cause autophobia, but they can also cause other mental health issues.
- Other Conditions
Mental health issues like PTSD or anxiety disorders may cause a panic attack with the thought of being alone.
What Is Autophobia-Management and Treatment?
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
Cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT provides techniques to help a person cope with anxiety. It is a common treatment. In CBT, your therapist will expose you to your fear. Other techniques learnt how to confront and deal with being alone. This happens more constructively. They will also examine your pattern of thinking around your fear. CBT can give you a sense of confidence. This also helps you to confront your autophobia. This will help you feel more in control the next time it happens.
- Exposure therapy
This is another type of behavioural therapy. It involves slow exposure to the feared situation. This happens in a safe and controlled way. Exposure therapy treats any behaviour which we are trying to avoid. The goal is for this treatment to improve your life. Also, so that the phobias do not trouble you in your daily life. In this type, constant exposure to your phobia is done. It first happens in a safe controlled place. Later, it will move to real-life. There is an increase in periods of being alone. Also, this builds tolerance.
OutlookThe definition of Autophobia helps to know what it looks like. Autophobia is treatable. Therapy and sometimes even medication can help a person manage their symptoms. The right treatment reduces anxiety and also goes away entirely.