Monophobia (Fear Of Being Alone)

Monophobia can be classified as an acute fear of being alone. This can apply both to a specific person or individual, or alternatively can apply to any person.

What is monophobia?

This condition often requires the presence of people, specific or otherwise, in close proximity in order to prevent adverse feelings and emotions. The overall feeling caused by monophobia is of wanting to have people around you all the time.

There are various different scales of monophobia, as with many phobias. This condition can result in patients not feeling comfortable being alone within a property, through to the extreme of the sufferer needing a person in their immediate proximity, even for intimate tasks such as using the bathroom.

Those who have monophobia can experience feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and depression if the specific needs of their phobia are not met. This condition can also be known as isolaphobia, autophobia or just a general fear of being alone.

What are the symptoms of monophobia?

As with many other phobias, the symptoms of monophobia are directly related to the perception and feeling of the person suffering from this condition. As such, someone who is monophobic if left alone in a house will feel comfortable being alone in a room without experiencing symptoms, whereas an extreme case of this phobia may lead to the person experiencing symptoms if a particular person, or any person, isn’t in the same room as them.

The symptoms of monophobia can include any or all of the following, though the exact symptoms may vary based on the individual:

  • Physical shaking and trembling that can be minor or very visible, which can vary on a per-situation basis
  • A feeling of extreme dizziness, which can result in a spaced out sense or feeling or even lack of ability to stand steadily
  • A sudden or unusual increase of the heart rate, including feelings of the heart racing or palpitations
  • Sudden an acute gastrointestinal illness or distress, as well as nausea
  • A sense of the throat closing up
  • Feelings of tingling or numbness in the hands, arm, legs, and feet
  • Sudden or extreme sweating or feeling cold
  • Pain or uncomfortable feeling in the chest

As well as physical symptoms and concerns, there are also several mental or personal symptoms to consider that can be used for the diagnosis or monitoring of monophobia:

  • A fear of being unable to control themselves
  • A fear of suddenly fainting or ‘falling off’
  • The creation of an unreal or imaginary environment separate from reality
  • Intense fear of being alone and what the act of being alone may result in
  • An unreasonable and overpowering fear of death
  • Uncontrollable fear when a particular person or persons leaves the room or immediate area

Causes of monophobia

Many different things may cause monophobia, or the fear of being alone. Stressful or traumatic situations are very often the root cause of many various phobias, and monophobia is no exception. An example of this would be a situation in which a person was, or felt, neglected or abandoned, both physically and emotionally. This condition can also be directly linked to agoraphobic thinking and behavior. For many who suffer from this condition, it can be part of a mental step towards feeling constantly unsafe and uncomfortable with being alone and fearing for the safety of them or others as a result.

There is no single cause of monophobia, and the development of this condition and the severity of the symptoms depends entirely on the individual. An overwhelming feeling of being alone, or ingrained beliefs surrounding the safety and security of your home, whether real or imagined, can be another cause of this condition.

It has also been suggested that anxious or overbearing parental or influential figures within a person’s life may directly have an impact on their ability to learn and develop effective strategies later in life. In this case, phobias related to anxious feelings and a need for safety may be more likely to occur.

Treatment for monophobia

For the majority of cases of monophobia, an effective way of treating this condition can be to work on developing coping and management strategies for the anxiety and physical symptoms that can result from this phobia.

A psychiatrist or psychologist can be the right move for many people suffering from monophobia, as they are trained to help individuals learn how to cope with stressful or otherwise phobic situations. This treatment can include a variety of different therapies, including but not limited to:

  • Person-centered therapy
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Counseling

In particular, CBT is known to be effective when it comes to the treatment of monophobia and has been known to help manage the condition or similar conditions in three out of four patients. Hypnotherapy is also a popular alternative that can be explored for the treatment of this condition.

Medical treatment is also available for people who have monophobia, and these are generally in relation to controlling or managing the fear response and anxiety that results from this condition. Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications, and beta-blocker medication are all common choices prescribed. However, medicine does not address the root cause of monophobia and is unlikely to have a direct effect on the fear of being alone.

Reducing the anxiety related to monophobia can be achieved through other natural methods, such as meditation, mindfulness, muscle relaxation and additional relaxation and soothing techniques.

Prevention of monophobia

In order to prevent increasing or developing fears of being alone to evolve into monophobia, it is essential that people monitor both themselves and their children in order to discover the symptoms of this condition as early as possible. Though monophobia is not passed on genetically, a parent with a similar phobia or high anxiety may result in an increased chance of similar symptoms in the child.

Immediate referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist can be a positive way to prevent the condition of monophobia, or fear of being alone, by helping the individual to create and develop new coping strategies and mechanisms that can reduce their fear response and overall anxiety. A large part of preventing monophobia is ensuring that rational fears or concerns do not become irrational or overwhelming.