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Anuptaphobia (Fear of Loneliness): Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

By profession, he is an IGCSE English Language Teacher, a teachers' trainer, and a creative writer.

Anuptaphobia (Fear Of Loneliness)

Anuptaphobia (Fear Of Loneliness)

Introduction

Syndrome linked to the fear of remaining single, anuptaphobia is a behavior that is associated with a feeling of abandonment and loneliness. Emotional or sexual dependence can also characterize this phobia. Anuptaphobia is a specific phobia defined by the irrational fear of being single, never finding a life partner, or seeing him/her go. The person who has anuptaphobia will implement all the possible ploys to maintain or create an intimate relationship. Let’s discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of anuptaphobia (fear of loneliness).

Psychotherapy most often helps to get out of this fear shaped by situations of abandonment and social pressures. This social fear echoes the fear of abandonment. It is different from autophobia, the fear of loneliness.

The higher the fear of being single, the more the anuptaphobia reduces its criteria for selecting a partner - attractiveness, social status, interpersonal skills, etc. - compared to its real expectations. The state of the relationship, i.e., being together, takes precedence over the quality of the relationship. The person who has anuptaphobia considers that it is better to be poorly accompanied than alone. Like an anxiolytic, the partner reassures the person suffering from anuptaphobia.

How Is Anuptaphobia Manifested?

Anuptaphobia manifests itself through fear of loneliness. The anuptaphobia is always looking for a relationship to feel secure. The fear of loneliness is so apparent that the person who is suffering from such a phobia considers ending life instead of being alone! S/he then experiences a perpetual dread of abandonment, which results in anxiety. On the physical level, anuptaphobia presents itself as a state of dependence. The person is continually looking for company. Being alone causes him/her to feel uncomfortable. In the most severe cases of anuptaphobia, ideas can quickly become very confused. Then the person acts thoughtlessly and makes decisions with a whim to avoid being alone at all costs.

Biological, Psychological, And Social Pressures

Establishing physical and psychological connections between humans is natural behavior. Everyone more or less needs these close social ties to build foundations of security and trust. As soon as a person is alone, biological and psychological pressure can build up and create the fear of being single. This pressure can also come from society itself. Many people believe that it is abnormal to be alone and that everyone should be in a relationship and have children in the community.

An Exacerbated Attachment

The attachment system is often activated at the beginning of the infant's life. A bond is created between the infant and the caregiver, whether he is a parent or a healthcare professional. It develops more when distress or threat exists, and only the caregiver can provide security and comfort to the infant. Subsequently, the infant who has become an adult may develop a need for excessive attachment to other relatives.

Traumatic Separation During Childhood Or Parental Divorce

Specific separation patterns can lead to the fear of being alone.

A Neurological Disorder

In the early 2010s, researchers highlighted an abnormal cerebral activation in phobic adults. This distress parts of the brain involved in the discernment and initial amplification of fear, such as the amygdala, the anterior cingulate cortex, the thalamus, and the insula. Thus, adults with phobia seem to be more easily aroused by phobic stimuli, and their ability to regulate this arousal would be reduced.

Diagnosis Of Anuptaphobia

The first diagnosis of anuptaphobia, made by an attending physician through the description of the problem experienced by the patient, will justify or not the establishment of therapy. This diagnosis is established based on the specific phobia criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders:

  • The phobia must persist beyond six months;
  • The fear must be exaggerated concerning the real situation, the danger run;
  • Patients avoid the situation that led to their initial phobia - here the fact of not being in a relationship;
  • Fear, anxiety, and avoidance cause significant distress that affects social or professional functioning.

People Affected By Anuptaphobia

Anuptaphobia often affects adult people, men, or women, whom society judges to be of age as a couple.

Factors Favoring Anuptaphobia

The main factor favoring anuptaphobia is the fact of being exclusively surrounded by people in a couple: this factor reinforces the biological and psychological pressure dictating that it is reasonable to be in a couple.

anuptaphobia-fear-of-loneliness-causes-symptoms-and-treatment

Feeling Of Inadequacy

The Anglophobic lacks self-confidence and believes he is out of touch with society. It feels like an empty shell, in permanent lack of bond and company.

Excessive Planning

Alone, the anuptaphobia suffering person spends hours analyzing a received message, a meeting, or a situation. As a couple, he always plans the stages of a "perfect" couple's life: presentation to parents, marriage, births, etc.

Couples At Any Cost

The anuptaphobia patient is ready for anything to be in a relationship. He goes towards the other, not for his qualities but to fill his fear of being alone, even if it means staying in relationships that do not work.

Other Symptoms

  • Inability to spend time alone;
  • Jealousy;
  • Worry ;
  • Anxiety;
  • Distress;
  • Loneliness;
  • Paranoia crisis.

Treatments For Anuptaphobia

Different therapies, associated with relaxation techniques, make it possible to seek the cause of anuptaphobia then to deconstruct the irrational fear of celibacy:

  • Psychotherapy;
  • Cognitive and behavioral therapies;
  • Hypnosis;
  • The technique of emotional management (EFT combines psychotherapy with acupressure - finger pressure. It stimulates specific points on the body, intending to release tensions and emotions. The aim is to dissociate the trauma - here linked to touch - from the discomfort felt, from fear.
  • EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) or desensitization and reprocessing by eye movements;
  • Mindfulness meditation.
  • Taking antidepressants can be considered to reduce panic and anxiety.

Prevent Anuptaphobia

It is challenging to prevent anuptaphobia. However, once the symptoms have subsided or gone, relapse prevention can be improved

  • Using relaxation techniques: breathing techniques, sophrology, yoga, etc.
  • By detaching yourself from the need for another person to be safe, and by forcing yourself to perform rewarding tasks alone

References

  • American Psychological Association. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.) American Psychological Association 1994; Washington, D.C.
  • Highlights of changes from DSMIVTR to DSM5. American Psychiatric Association 2013.
  • Cornacchio D, Chou T, Sacks H, Pincus D, Comer J. Clinical consequences of the revised dsm-5 definition of agoraphobia in treatment-seeking anxious youth. Depress Anxiety 2015; 32: 502-508.
  • Tibi L, van Oppen P, Aderka IM, van Balkom AJ, Batelaan NM, et al. An admixture analysis of age of onset in agoraphobia. J Affect Disord 2015; 180: 112-115.
  • Hammersley D, Beeley L. The effects of medication on counselling: The BACP counselling reader 1. Sage 1996; 211-214.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Md Akbar Ali

Comments

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 28, 2020:

Thanks for this. It makes good sense. It will help me be more loving to some I know have it.

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