Similar to social anxiety or social phobia, anthropophobia is the fear of people. Unlike social anxiety, however, which often relates to feeling uncomfortable in crowds or a group context, anthropophobia symptoms can occur when the patient is in the presence of a single person. In some cases, the phobia of interacting personally with others can be so overwhelming that a person will refuse to leave the house and prefer to isolate themselves, communicating with others only through written communication (e.g., email, text, etc.).
If your loved one is struggling with anthropophobia, you can help them get the treatment they need. Call now for more information.
Fear of Personal and Spontaneous Interaction
To patients who are anthropophobic, familiarity and context have little impact on their ability to interact with others. Even loving family members can cause the same symptoms of anxiety and fear in the patient as total strangers.
In the same way, though those who struggle with social phobia feel comfortable in situations where they can be anonymous, patients living with anthropophobia will feel equally insecure whether they are speaking to an audience or standing in the back of the room in the dark.
Symptoms of Anthropophobia
Anticipatory anxiety is one of the major symptoms of anthropophobia. If a patient who struggles with the disorder believes that he or she will imminently be forced to interact with others personally, they can experience a range of anxiety symptoms.
In the same way, during the experience of interacting with others face to face or verbally, anthropophobic patients will experience symptoms that can include any combination of the following:
- Flushed skin
- Difficulty breathing
- Racing pulse
- Difficulty speaking
- Difficulty thinking clearly
- Feeling the need to flee
Those who struggle with anthropophobia often fear that others will judge them, even those they trust and have known for years. It can turn even the simplest interactions into a heart pounding experience.
Phobias and Substance Abuse
The high intensity of anxiety associated with phobias like anthropophobia can often cause patients to seek relief through the use of drugs and alcohol. Some are prescribed sedative medications to quell the symptoms of anxiety on an as-needed basis; however, in the throes of panic, some patients may take more than recommended. Others turn to alcohol and/ or marijuana in an attempt to relax before going into a situation that causes them anxiety.
Unfortunately, drug abuse of any kind can make the anxiety felt in social situations even worse. Additionally, it can create a battery of new problems, including:
- The development of addiction
- Risk of overdose
- Risk of accident while under the influence
- Acute medical emergencies
- Chronic health problems
There are a number of social issues that can develop as a result of drug abuse as well. Many who already struggle with interpersonal relationships may be completely crippled by the isolation that often accompanies drug and alcohol abuse, and difficulties maintaining work due to anthropophobia will only be exacerbated by substance abuse and addiction.
When addressing a mental health disorder like anthropophobia – especially when it co-occurs with substance abuse or addiction – it is important to choose a treatment program that offers comprehensive and personalized care. Why? Because each person’s struggles in recovery will be different and they will require different types and levels of medical, psychiatric, and psychotherapeutic support in order to conquer the symptoms of both disorders.
Contact us at the phone number listed above to learn more about the Dual Diagnosis rehab programs that are best equipped to help your loved one begin the healing process.
Further Reading About Anthropophobia
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David W. Newton is a board certified pharmacist and also has been a board member for boards of examiners for the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy since 1983. His areas of expertise are primarily pharmaceuticals as well as cannabinoids. You can read an article about his expertise in CBD on the National Library of Medicine.