A person suffering from aphenphosmphobia has a deep dread or aversion towards intimacy of all kinds (shared between lovers, close relationships with parents, siblings, friends and close relations).
The fear of intimacy phobia is also referred to as aphenphosmphobia (fear of touch or direct contact) and philophobia (fear of love). This illogical fear of intimacy destroys and devastates close relationships as deep emotions are their foundation, and dissolves the possibility of any meaningful relationship with close ones.
CAUSES OF FEAR OF INTIMACY:
The two major contributing factors of the fear of intimacy are: abandonment and engulfment. Here, the aphenphosmphobic individual either feels that if he or she becomes intimate with someone else, the second party may end up leaving them in the long run or they might eventually loose touch or cognizance of themselves or their individuality owing to the relationship.
Commonly, the fear of intimacy finds its origin in early childhood through painful romantic and emotional relationships experiences in childhood. As a result, the phobic tends to pull away from his or her partner creating friction and lapses in the physical and emotional relationship between both parties.
Clinical psychologists blame the fear of intimacy on raucous relationships between parents often involving extra marital affairs on the part of either parent. This has a direct effect on the child whose fear does not severely manifest until early adulthood.
Also, victims of domestic and/or sexual abuse are likely to become phobics due to their distrust in other people and fear to get emotional and physically intimate with them.
SYMPTOMS OF APHENPHOSMPHOBIA:
There are many physical, emotional, psychological as well as behavioural and cognitive symptoms that can be associated with the fear of intimacy.
* These signs are often exaggerated and may be confused for some other illness but this is in fact true and is actually the body’s approach to a fight or flight response to intimacy.
* The physical symptoms include; muscle pain, gastrointestinal distress and nausea, sweating, increased heart rate and shaking/trembling at the mere thought of getting intimate with someone.
* The phobic might also have incapabilities in differentiating between reality and non-reality.
Anxiety and full blown panic attacks are likely to happen to victims of the fear of intimacy phobia.
Psychological symptoms due to the prior feeling of vulnerability in traumatic events include an air of insecurity, superiority or the deep urge to either totally control people or completely shut them away.
TREATMENT OF APHENPHOSMPHOBIA:
The first step in treatment is being aware of the condition and willingness to correct it. Self help is best recommended and requires the affected individual and positive thinking.
Gradual desensitization techniques which include making the victims write down the various stimuli that triggers the priorly mentioned symptoms.
Patients can also be made to write down the negative thoughts, perceptions, assumptions, beliefs, judgement, and predictions.
Patients must also write down answers to the following questions:
* What is the worst that could happen if I get intimate?
* What good might come out of the situation?
* How tolerable would the consequences be?
These questions can help the victim deal with the situation in tandem.
Deep and controlled breathing, meditation can help prevent subconscious spewing of trains of negative thoughts.
Apart from these, there are many other treatment options such as Cognitive behavior and behavior therapy, Hypnotherapy, Counseling and Psychotherapy, group therapy as well as drugs to overcome the fear of intimacy phobia.
Although the fear of intimacy phobia or aphenphosmphobia is not serious unless in severe cases, it can affect daily relationships and the quality of life and work ethics. Medical aid must be sought in the emergence of distress or depression for standard fulfilled living.