Aphenphosmphobia is the morbid and irrational fear of touches or being touched. People with this phobia absolutely despise any sort of physical contact. Furthermore, this does not only refer to those who hate being touched, but it also refers to people who fear touching others.
Physical touch also refers to many different actions. These include touches of affection (ex. hugs, kisses, etc.), touches while walking (when people bump into each other), or even just simple hand touches, such as high fives.
Symptoms of Aphenphosmphobia
Symptoms of Aphenphosmphobia will vary from one person to another depending on a variety of factors. Some people are just more susceptible to fear and their reactions than others. However, there is a list of general symptoms which include, but are not limited to, avoidance of social situations, extreme anxiety about being in public, suffering of relationships (any type- romantic, family, friendship, etc.), and more.
Aphenphosmphobia could also lead a person to go into a full blown panic attack if they are touched. Panic attacks are loosely defined as states of extreme anxiety or terror. Panic attacks also have other symptoms which include a rapid heart beat, difficulty breathing, tingling or numbness in the hands or fingers, excessive sweating, chills, feeling a loss of control, and chest pain.
Causes of Aphenphosmphobia
Causes of Aphenphosmphobia will also vary from one person to the next. Most often, phobias are caused by a trauma, which typically occurs during childhood. Physical or sexual child abuse are very common causes of Aphenphosmphobia. When a child is exposed to this type of environment, especially since they are at such an impressionable age, they begin to lack trust in others. They often associate any type of touch with pain, since they is what they were used to whilst growing up. Domestic abuse or violence could also lead to this phobia later in life.
Some people could also be predisposed to anti-social personality disorders. These disorders cause distance and a lack of understanding about human emotions and physical interactions in the sufferer. Because of their disorder, many of these people often fear physical touches.
However, it is also possible that some people just fear being touched for no obvious reason at all, or that the fear of touches stems from some other fear. Claustrophobia is a common reason why many people also fear being touched, because of the feeling of confinement.
Treatments of Aphenphosmphobia
The best treatment option for Aphenphosmphobia will depend upon the individual. A great starting place is therapy, since there are many different forms which people can try. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, for one, changes the way a person thinks about and reacts to being touched, making it easier for them. Shock or exposure therapy also works to desensitize the individual. Lastly, social or group therapy helps to create a warm and comforting environment to show the person that not all people will hurt them.
Medication is also available to help people treat their anxiety in these situations. Anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medication will both do the trick. Finally, they could be taken on a scheduled routine, or perhaps just during a panic attack. On a side note, medications are available to treat other panic attack symptoms, such as chest pain.