Image by Marie Vonow
Autophobia is not the fear of cars or automobiles. It is the intense or morbid fear of being alone or isolated. Other phobias which are very similar are eremphobia, monophobia and isolophobia. A person suffering one of these phobias may fear being on their own in a physical sense or being left out or ignored in a group situation. They may fear disaster will strike if they are alone. Some sufferers experience intense fear when a specific person is not with them.
Autophobia may develop following being abandoned as a young child. This abandonment may be due to physical loss of family after a tragedy. Another possibility is emotional rather than physical isolation. A child may be ignored or excluded from activities others participate in. This may lead to the child feeling
alone even though there are others around him/her and this can lead to autophobia.
An individual who has suffered panic attacks when no one else was present may come to fear being alone and so develop autophobia. Sometimes a person with depression later develops autophobia.
A person may start to suffer autophobia after the death of someone who was extremely important to him/her or at the end of a significant relationship.
A variation of autophobia is being irrationally afraid of oneself. The sufferer may have very low self esteem and not believe they are capable of functioning and carrying out daily tasks without others. Such a person may have an overpowering fear of not having a long term partner. This can lead to him/her staying in an abusive relationship.
The intense fear brought about by autophobia stops the sufferer from leading a normal life. Depending on the specifics of the individual case the person may experience intense fear in one or more of the following situations-
being alone when outside their house
spending time away from a specific person
Someone with autophobia may experience some of the following symptoms
inability to think clearly
feeling of numbness or tingling
From what I have read, there does not seem to be a specific treatment for autophobia. However, a therapist such as a psychologist may suggest one on one sessions or group therapy. At times it appears helpful if the sufferer can identify an event that triggered the development of their autophobia. Sometimes a program of gradually increasing the amount of time the person is alone is used to help treat the phobia.
It is common for people to have times of feeling somewhat nervous when they are alone. However, if an individual experiences intense fear which interrupts normal life, treatment is advisable so they are able to live their life to the fullest.
# Self Esteem