Many of us value our personal space, and a bit of ‘me time’ every now again. Getting away from the hubbub of everyday life and concentrating on yourself is a great way to be sure you’re where you want to be in life. For some people however, the idea of being alone is horrendous.
Monophobia is the excessive fear of being left alone, and comes from the Greek word mono, meaning alone or single. Known by several other names, such as Autophobia and Islophobia, the fear of being alone can have a huge impact on the sufferer’s life. Varying from case to case, extreme phobics are unable to even use the bathroom alone.
While many people don’t like the idea of being alone in certain circumstances, Monophobia can take over a sufferer’s life. Plagued by anxiety, insecurity and often depression, Monophobes can find themselves struggling to complete everyday tasks.
If this sounds like you, fear not, you’re not alone.
CAUSES OF MONOPHOBIA
Monophobia often has roots in traumatic childhood or past experiences. One common theory looks at those who were abandoned as a child. Frequently abandonment and trust issues arise, leading to further anxiety conditions, often including Monophobia.
Other traumatic experiences may involve being left alone for extended periods of time and feeling scared and powerless. On the other hand, the child with overprotective parents, who frequently warned against going off alone, may also grow to develop Monophobia.
Negative major life events, such as the death of a loved one, the breakup of a relationship, or being fired, can also lead to Monophobia. Often, if someone has spent a large part of their life with a specific person, or people, they can develop an intense fear of being alone.
Monophobia is often linked to a great many other phobias, anxiety issues and even depression. For example, during severe depression, many sufferers feel as if they can’t – or don’t want to – do anything. If they have someone they can rely on, they may begin to rely on them too much. This can lead to fearing that they will be separated from this individual and left alone. Agoraphobia and Thanatophobia (the fear of death) are also closely related to Monophobia.
SYMPTOMS OF MONOPHOBIA
Monophobia affects people in different ways, though there are numerous traits common to the vast majority of cases. Feelings of anxiety and panic often strike when left alone, or even thinking about being left alone.
- Increased heartbeat
- Nausea and gastrointestinal distress
- Thoughts of death
The definition of alone also varies from case to case. Some sufferers are okay as long as there are other people in close proximity – i.e. in the house – while others feel anxious if there’s no one in the room with them. Some people may feel alone and scared even in a crowd. In many cases, sufferers are unable to sleep alone.
Feelings of intense anxiety may be felt in anticipation of being left alone. Thoughts of impending doom or even death, can begin to overwhelm the sufferer. It is difficult for Monophobes to think of anything else, and as the fear becomes all consuming, it will often impact other areas of their life.
Another common symptom is the absolute avoidance of being alone. Sufferers will often go to great lengths to ensure they are never left alone, even if this has a detrimental effect on their personal life and relationships. Many sufferers will remain in an abusive relationship rather than be alone.
As with other phobias, in order to really treat Monophobia, medication alone is simply not enough. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) offers many types of treatment. Talk Therapy encourages the patient to discover the root of their fear, and work on removing detrimental thought processes and replacing them with positive ones.
Exposure Therapy encourages the patient to confront their fear, and become desensitized to the point that the fear is removed. In a controlled environment, the patient will gradually be exposed to being alone. Having learnt relaxation techniques, they will be armed against anxiety attacks, allowing them to gradually get used to it.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Hypnotherapy are also excellent tools for recovery. They work on the principle that the mind can be re-programmed to cope with being alone better. Subliminal suggestion and NLP exercises help create a positive outlook.
BENEFITS OF OVERCOMING FEAR OF BEING ALONE
Monophobia is hugely disruptive, that often leads to even more severe conditions. By overcoming the fear of being alone, you’ll find the world a far more enjoyable place to live. It’ll also have a positive impact on your relationships, and create countless opportunities that you would never have considered previously.