Extreme fear of loneliness is called monophobia. Apart from being the symptom to many other disorders, it also has the power to affect a person’s quality of life.
What is Monophobia?
In simple terms, Monophobia’s definition can be stated to be a fear of loneliness or being alone. But in broader sense, it can also relate to the fear of being away from one particular person with whom they feel safe. People with monophobia can become extremely anxious if they have to spend even a few minutes by themselves. They can find it really difficult to complete simple tasks because they refuse to go anywhere alone, or stay at home by themselves.
Monophobia can be the result of traumatic or painful life events. Some people can develop it due to hereditary factors while most others develop it due to certain painful events in their childhoods. A frightening experience when alone, can trigger a lifelong fear of being alone.
Stress, abusive relationships, lack of proper housing are also some of the other factors that can lead to loneliness related phobias. Lack of confidence in one’s ability to carry out tasks alone can be another reason to develop monophobia.
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Monophobia symptoms can include rapid heartbeat and extreme anxiety due to thoughts of being alone, along with dizziness, nausea, rapid breathing, dry mouth, trembling, chest pains and numbness. Feelings of dread and panic are common in people who fear being alone.
People with monophobia generally find themselves in the midst of other similar aversions such as fear of panic attacks or crowded places (agoraphobia). They can also, more often than not, feel out of control or fear losing control, in the process, becoming confused about what is reality and what is not.
Many effective monophobia treatments such as exposure therapy, behavioral therapy, and talk therapy, can help you overcome this. People with monophobia must consult a psychologist or a psychiatrist to know about the different treatment options. But remember that there is no specific monophobia test that doctors or counselors can use to diagnose the phobia. Based on your symptoms, the doctor can diagnose it and formulate a basic treatment plan. The treatment for phobias need to be revised at several points of time as the condition can fluctuate a lot.
Hypnotherapy is considered helpful for the treatment of monophobia. It involves working through the subconscious mind to change behavioral patterns and must be done under the supervision of a trained therapist with experience in performing hypnotherapy.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is also used to treat a variety of phobias and mental disorders. A type of psychotherapy that goes deep into the problem to treat the source of the phobia or any mental condition, it can help people to recognize dysfunctional patterns and modify behavior. Even talking about the phobia can often lessen the fear.
Exposure therapy involves exposing oneself to the conditions that cause the fear. The person can spend time with fearful conditions in reality or imagination. Alternatively, psychiatrists can also prescribe anti-anxiety medications to people with extreme form of the phobia of being alone. Although medicines do not actually treat the condition, they can help minimize stress caused by the phobia at times when the fear becomes too overwhelming to handle.
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There are some other measures to deal with this phobia as well. Relaxation techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises can be tremendously helpful in reducing the phobia symptoms. Visualization is another way to lessen the anxiety associated with the fear of being alone. Counselors often teach visualization techniques to people for overcoming phobias. You can imagine yourself in situations where you are able to live a happy life without the burden of any phobia or trauma – which essentially means that you can help yourself come out of your phobia.
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