Coming from the Greek root “Anthrop” meaning people, sufferers of Anthropophobia endure a persistent, irrational fear of people and groups of people. Though they may realize that there is no logical reason for them to be afraid of people, their phobias continue to affect their day-to-day lives, leading them to arrange their days, education and careers to avoid interacting with others.
Symptoms of Anthropophobia
Everyone feels a little antisocial now and again. It’s normal to experience times when you don’t feel like associating with people, but for individuals suffering from Anthropophobia, the thought of any social situation can be absolutely terrifying. The most common symptoms of Antrhopophobia may include:
- Extreme avoidance of social outings or activities
- Feelings of panic, terror or dread while around people or considering being around people
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Panic attacks
If you or a loved one has experienced these symptoms around small groups of people or in heavily populated social situations, it may be helpful to look for professional help to overcome the phobia.
Treatment of Anthropophobia
Since phobias by nature are not rational, it is not possible to simply talk yourself out of being afraid. However, it is possible to seek different therapy techniques that can help lessen or even cure Anthropophobia. As no two people are the same, no two treatment plans will be akin to one another. Psychiatrists use a number of methods to help those suffering from Anthropophobia, so it is always possible to try different options if one therapy doesn’t seem to be working. One very common therapy option for the treatment of Anthropophobia is known as systematic desensitization. This type of therapy attempts to help sufferers of Anthropophobia overcome their fears by slowly introducing them to situations where their phobia would come into play. By introducing people and social situations in a slow and controlled manner, it can help desensitize the patient to those situations. Once the patient is able to handle one situation, the therapist helps lead them into one that might be a little more stressful and gradually continues to increase the level of comfort until the patient is able to handle situations they once avoided in day-to-day life.
Another common treatment is morita therapy. Developed in Japan in the early part of the twentieth century, morita therapy attempts to correct phobias by first accepting them. Following a Zen Buddhism backing, morita therapy argues that you don’t conquer fear by trying to push it aside, but by first realizing that you are afraid, and then finding ways to compartmentalize. Therapists help their patients come up with ways to manage their fear and work on overcoming it, generally through talk therapy. As a result, sufferers of Anthropophobia are able to enter into situations they might not have otherwise been able to cope with. With so many therapists and types of therapy available, it is possible to find one that will help you or a loved one through Anthropophobia; all you have to do is take the first step towards recovery.