Love is a built-in feature in our life where the rest of our emotions fall: joy, anger, desperation, guilt, fear and so on. One will never know what these emotions are all about if we do not have love. A person who doesn’t know how to love is somehow having an emotional anomaly, some individuals would say.
Indeed, love is a many splendid thing. But to some, falling in love becomes a kind of anxiety, a kind of fear or phobia that needs attention. Just like the rest of the known fears like snakes, spiders, closed room, crowded spaces etc., the fear of falling in love or being in an intimate relationship to another person is called Philophobia. Perhaps some may say that such condition is ridiculous and absurd. Silly as it may seem, but its existence is real. It is a condition that needs treatment.
Now that this problem is made known, it is important to know more about it. The few things we can attempt to know about philophobia are its symptoms.
A person suffering from this kind of phobia develops an uncontrollable irrational extreme fear to being emotionally attached to another individual. Just the thought or imminence of it can lead to symptoms like nausea, function and breathing difficulty, excessive sweating, avoidance, rapid heartbeat and feeling of extreme fear to the point of panic. These symptoms vary depending on the severity of the person’s condition.
It is important to keep in mind that sometimes a person with philophobia may have social anxiety disorders as well. It does complicate the condition. However, Philophobia in itself is not a social anxiety disorder. It has similarities to disinhibited social engagement disorder (DSED) common to children under 18 years old. This condition keeps a person from forming an intimate relationship with others which could be a result of childhood trauma or abandonment.
The fear is related to the inability to gamble being abandoned again and experience the same pain that they had before when they did get close or became intimate with someone. This fear then makes a person react in an avoidance kind of manner.
Although specific phobias are greatly affected by genetics and environment, some cases of having specific phobias are because of the brain functioning changes.
Interestingly enough, this phobia is not included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, a doctor will not provide this kind of diagnosis to patients. However, if the symptoms occur in an overwhelming behavior, one should seek psychological help. Suicide, isolation, abuse of drugs and alcohol and depression and anxiety disorders are common worse-case scenarios of untreated phobias.
Treatment, however, depends on the severity of the condition of the patient and includes therapy, change of lifestyle, medication or a combination of these. The need to examine the source of fear will allow the patient to check the source of such condition. Sometimes, scenarios can also be a helpful tool to identify possible patients such as asking the questions “Am I still in my mind? What will happen after?”. Setting up some goals that the patient should overcome such as responding to a simple hello will definitely start to ease the fears.
Like the rest of the phobias, anti-depressants are prescribed if a person has a diagnosis of mental disorder, a combination of medications and therapy is usually used.
A healthy lifestyle such as having regular exercise, attentiveness strategies and relaxation techniques are common recommendations from medical practitioners.
Do you know someone you think have developed such symptoms?
If so, it is important for us to recognize that it’s a serious condition that needs to be understood no matter how ridiculous it may seem. Learn more about the phobias and understand it. Do not put an hourglass in their head to do something they are not prepared to do so. Allow them to learn how and when to seek help if its right and go an extra mile in the way you care for them. Lastly, ask how you can you help them and do help.
We all have our own strength and weaknesses after all. Let us remember that no matter how absurd a person’s weakness is, the struggle of mankind is more or less the same. The humility to recognize the condition in oneself or in another is the key to overcoming such fear.