Monophobia is characterized by an excessive fear of being alone, abandoned, or isolated. This syndrome causes a lot of effects on both mental and physical health as well as quality of life. Therefore, it is necessary to equip knowledge for early detection and timely intervention.
What is fear of abandonment?
Monophobia is also known by many other names, such as the fear of being alone, the fear of being alone, or the fear of being isolated. This syndrome is characterized by an overwhelming obsession and fear of being abandoned, isolated, or alone.
Monophobia is a phobia and fear not necessarily a reality. Even though you may know that you are physically safe, you still fear a lot of things (usually hypothetical situations). Such as fear of strangers breaking in, fear of being unloved, having an emergency without help, experiencing other unexpected events without support.
A fear of abandonment can manifest in a variety of ways. Consists of:
- Fear of being separated from a particular person
- Afraid of being alone at home
- Afraid of being alone in public
- Fear of feeling alone or isolated
- Fear of facing dangerous situations alone
- Fear of living alone
A person with phobia of abandonment often cannot function properly until they no longer feel alone. When they are alone, they may feel the need to end their loneliness as soon as possible.
Statistics show that people with fear of isolation often have some other conditions at the same time. Such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, etc. Moreover, this syndrome also increases the risk of depression and many other psychological concerns.
To date, the main cause of the fear of abandonment has not been identified. However, with early detection and treatment, symptoms can be completely controlled. From there get a better life.
Signs of fear of abandonment
People with abandonment syndrome often experience symptoms when they are alone or when they face the risk of being alone. Symptoms may include obsessive thoughts, fears, vague anxiety, or physical changes. In the worst situations, the person may feel terrified and want to run away.
Common symptoms of agoraphobia include:
- A sudden feeling of fear when left alone
- Intense fear or anxiety at the thought of being alone
- Worrying about being alone and thinking about what might happen (such as an intruder or a medical emergency)
- Worrying about feeling unloved
- Fear of sudden noises when alone
- The feeling of being separated from one’s own body
- Feelings of extreme terror, panic and fear
- A strong desire to get out of a situation of being alone
Experiencing situations that trigger abandonment syndrome can also lead to physical symptoms. Consists of:
- Chills or hot flashes
- Fast heart beat
- Feeling suffocated
- Shortness of breath or shortness of breath
- Nausea, stomach ache
- Dry mouth, tinnitus
- Dizziness or fainting
- Disorientation or confusion
In children, the symptoms may be more specific. Children with agoraphobia may manifest themselves in tantrums, crying, clinging, or refusing to leave their parents.
Causes of fear of abandonment
Although there has been a lot of research, the cause of the fear of abandonment is still not clear. However, researchers believe that there are many factors that contribute to the development of this syndrome.
Common risk factors for agoraphobia include:
- Genetics and family factors: Just having one family member with agoraphobia can triple the risk of developing the condition. In addition, children living with someone with the disease can also learn to fear being alone by observing the reactions of adults with the disease.
- Traumatic experiences: Traumatic events related to isolation and abandonment may also increase the risk of solitude syndrome. In which family neglect, loss of parents at a young age, abandonment, beating or violence by parents are the most common traumatic experiences.
- Brain function: Changes in brain activity caused by mood disorders, lifestyle habits, or substance abuse can contribute to an increased risk of developing abandonment syndrome. In addition, people with this syndrome also have a smaller than normal amygdala (the organ that controls fear and anxiety).
- Learn about someone else’s bad experience of being abandoned: Hearing or reading other people’s negative experiences of being alone can also affect your psyche. This is thought to possibly promote the development of claustrophobia.
- Personality: People who are more sensitive than normal will also have a higher risk of being alone.
Effects of fear of abandonment
In fact, abandonment syndrome is an uncommon mental disorder. This syndrome tends to develop more in children, adolescents, and young people. If not detected, examined and treated early, it can cause many serious effects.
Some of the effects of phobias include:
- The obsession and excessive fear of being abandoned and isolated will cause the patient to fall into a state of stress, anxiety, depression, pessimism and suffering. Over time, these negative emotions will overwhelm all the positive emotions. As a result, patients become depressed and lose interest in everything around them.
- Excessive fear and anxiety can interfere with your ability to concentrate. This will reduce learning/work performance. It also causes the patient to limit himself. They often refuse jobs that have to be done alone or work in a small, closed environment even though they are well-remunerated.
- People with fear of abandonment syndrome have many relationships, but most of them are not sustainable. Because people with this syndrome always try to appear sociable and friendly to expand relationships. They always want to receive love from the people around them. Due to the influence of fear, the sufferer is prone to problems in emotional relationships. They can hardly find the right person to get married.
- Prolonged excessive fear also increases the risk of depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and many other psychological problems.
In addition to affecting mental health and quality of life, isolation syndrome can also cause physical health problems. Such as cerebral ischemia, headache, body weakness, sleep disturbance, etc.
Diagnosis of fear of abandonment
Fear of abandonment is a phobia, also known as a fear disorder. If you suspect you have an illness, see your doctor as soon as possible. You will first receive a psychological assessment and physical examination.
Your doctor will take your medical history to see if a physical problem is affecting your mental health. A psychological assessment is then performed. This involves asking lots of questions about your daily activities and feelings.
The fear of being alone is known as situational phobia. This means being alone or alone causes extreme suffering. To be diagnosed with this condition, the fear of being alone must be so disturbing that it interferes with your daily routines.
Physicians may use the specific diagnostic criteria of a phobia in the DSM-5 to assist in diagnosing a fear of abandonment:
- Persistent fear, lasting more than 6 months
- Fear is actively avoided, it almost always causes immediate anxiety
- Disproportionate fear of the actual danger of the situation or object
- Fear causes significant disruption to both social and occupational functioning
In some cases, a person may have more than one phobia at the same time. When you are faced with more than one phobia, it makes your phobia of abandonment even more difficult to deal with. Talk to your doctor about any other fears you’re experiencing.
How to overcome fear of abandonment
The cause of the fear of abandonment is still unknown, so treatment is still very difficult. The goal of treatment is to relieve the symptoms associated with the fear.
To date, there is no method or medication that has been shown to be optimally effective in the treatment of fear of abandonment. However, with serious treatment and good health care, symptoms can be completely controlled. It also significantly improves quality of life.
Here are the methods that can be applied:
Psychotherapy is considered to be the most effective method for treating the fear of abandonment. Characteristic of this therapy is the form of communication therapy through language and non-verbal (gestures, eyes, facial expressions, …).
Based on psychotherapy, experts will help patients build trust. At the same time, capture the psychology of the patient and help them freely share the problems they are facing. Particularly for the fear of being alone, the specialist will try to reassure the patient’s mind before applying specific therapies.
Some commonly used therapies include:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT):
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that helps people explore their ways of thinking and behaving. It helps to realize what is better and change distorted, inappropriate (negative) thoughts and behaviors.
CBT is considered the first-line treatment for anxiety disorders. In addition, this therapy can also be helpful with phobias of abandonment. Because CBT allows a person to examine their emotions and act in response to their automatic thoughts.
This therapy plays an important role in the treatment of phobic disorders, including the fear of abandonment. This therapy is performed by exposing the patient to situations that cause low to high levels of fear.
After a course of treatment, the patient will reduce the level of fear of being alone. Then there will be no more obsession with abandonment or isolation. However, exposure therapy should be done with caution to avoid panic attacks.
Eyeball movement desensitization and reperception (EMDR):
Eyeball motion desensitization and reperception (EMDR) is an injury-based treatment. This method is designed to help people with trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) work through the sadness of their traumatic memories or events. A 2019 meta-analysis found that EMDR therapy had a positive effect on symptoms of fear and panic.
Group therapy is accomplished by conducting regular meetings with people who are also struggling with abandonment syndrome. Team members will share their challenges. At the same time support and encourage each other mentally.
In addition to the therapies just mentioned, psychologists also teach patients some skills to help manage panic attacks when at home alone or when feeling isolated, washing hands, lost in the crowd. bronze,…
Although considered to be the most effective method for fear of abandonment, psychotherapy also has some limitations. For example, patients do not accept treatment or do not respond well to severe cases.
2. Drug use
In most cases, psychotherapy alone can be successful in treating abandonment syndrome. However, medication can also sometimes be helpful in helping to relieve a person’s symptoms. Thereby helping them recover better through psychotherapy.
Psychiatrists may prescribe medication at the beginning of treatment. Or they can instruct the patient to use the medication in specific or occasional short-term situations.
Some medications that may be prescribed include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): This type of antidepressant is commonly prescribed for phobias as well as anxiety disorders.
- Beta-blockers: This is an alternative to antidepressants to treat claustrophobia. These drugs work by blocking the stimulation caused by adrenaline in the body. Thereby improving the symptoms of tremors, tachycardia and sweating caused by anxiety. Propranolol (Inderal) is a commonly prescribed beta-blocker.
- Sedatives: Benzodiazepines are the most commonly used sedatives. It will help you relax by reducing anxiety levels. This drug can be addictive, which is especially true for people with a history of alcohol or drug addiction. Therefore, it should be used with caution under the supervision of a physician.
3. Confronting Fear
There are several ways to help cope with abandonment syndrome that you can try at home. These include:
- Journaling: You can write down your thoughts, fears, and anxieties when you are alone or in isolation. This helps you better understand the fear and anxiety you’re experiencing. From there look for a solution to control them better.
- Relaxation Techniques: Learning to relax the nervous system has many benefits for people with abandonment phobia. Techniques that are helpful in reducing stress include deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation (tense muscles on inhalation and release on exhalation), visualization (using mental imagery to create a feeling of relaxation). mindset).
- Mindfulness meditation: This therapy focuses on the present moment. Also, allow intrusive thoughts and worries to pass without simply observing them, not evaluating them.
- Yoga: In addition to providing exercises and movements, Yoga also provides breathing. Regular practice of Yoga helps to reduce anxiety and stress in the nervous system. You can search for free yoga videos online or join yoga classes or clubs.
4. Take care of your physical health
Physical health is the foundation of mental health. Therefore, people with phobia of abandonment need to pay attention to taking care of their physical health. In particular, eating, physical activity and sleep care are the most important factors:
- Diet: Patients should pay attention to follow a balanced diet, drink enough water. A diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits is a healthier choice than eating a lot of carbohydrates found in processed foods. You should eat natural foods rich in magnesium, zinc, omega-3, B vitamins, probiotics, etc. At the same time, you should avoid drinking alcohol, coffee or smoking.
- Physical activity: It is recommended to spend at least 30 minutes/day in exercise to get many health benefits. Physical activity helps soothe and release negative emotions. It also helps to improve overall health. Patients can spend time walking, cycling, swimming, … to improve their health and help improve the symptoms of the fear of abandonment.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep is also very important for the recovery of mental and physical health. Try to go to bed before 11pm and make sure you get at least 7 hours of sleep at night. In case of difficulty sleeping, you can use herbal tea, warm bath, aromatherapy and pay attention to sleep hygiene.
How to help a loved one with fear of abandonment
When a loved one has a fear of being alone, you need to provide information to help ease the shame of the fear. Most people with phobias of abandonment have both mental and physical symptoms that are difficult to overcome without professional help.
The following steps may be considered to help your loved one:
- Encourage them to talk to a counselor or psychiatrist.
- Offer them assistance in finding a qualified therapist.
- Offer to remind them of doctor appointments.
- Offer to accompany them to a doctor’s appointment.
- Acknowledge that their symptoms are challenging but can be overcome with professional help.
- Encourage them to be honest with their doctor about how they are currently dealing with their symptoms. For example, the use of alcohol or stimulants such as drugs.
Fear of abandonment is one of the relatively uncommon psychological disorders, but still needs caution. If you notice any abnormal signs, you should actively seek medical attention for early intervention. Because if not taken care of in time, this syndrome can still cause a lot of serious problems.