Athazagoraphobia is the morbid and irrational fear of being forgotten. This does not refer to those who, for example, get stood up on a date, or have canceled plans. Rather, people with Athazagoraphobia are honestly afraid that people will ignore or forget that they even exist. They will also have an extreme fear of abandonment, although they are not the exact same phobia.
Symptoms of Athazagoraphobia
Symptoms will vary from person to person, simply because not everyone is alike and they differ on state of mind, level of fear, and many other personality characteristics. However, general symptoms include anxiety when making plans, anxiety when waiting on someone or something, over-attachment to people and objects emotionally, and constantly reminding others of plans or contacting them excessively.
People with Athazagoraphobia often also suffer from Obsessive-compulsive tendencies, especially when making plans with another person. For instance, they will need to plan out exact times and places, as well as have an established routine or schedule that must be followed exactly.
Now, if someone with Athazagoraphobia is, for instance, stood up, the other person arrives late, etc. a panic attack may set in. Panic attack symptoms include rapid heart beat, chest pain, difficulty breathing, weakness, fainting, dizziness, feeling a loss of control, tingling or numbness in the hands or fingers, excessive sweating, and chills.
Causes of Athazagoraphobia
Phobias are most often caused by some sort of trauma, which usually occurs during childhood but can occur at any stage in life. For example, if a child is abandoned, either a parent or parents leave or they are put up for adoption, they may be led to fear being forgotten. Also, someone who is stood up on a date or other event, any number of times, could develop the fear of being forgotten.
The presence of other psychological disorders or phobias could also be to blame. Again, the fear of abandonment is another phobia that occurs with the phobia of being forgotten. Also, while Athazagoraphobia could cause Obsessive-compulsive tendencies, the reverse is also possible. Obsessive-compulsive disorder sufferers need an exact schedule or routine and will often fear that something will get messed up, out of place, or out of order in this process.
Athazagoraphobia also does not necessarily have to have a direct cause. Nobody wants to be forgotten. Some people just fear this more than others, and maybe on an extreme level like those with Athazagoraphobia.
Treatment of Athazagoraphobia
Therapy, although it does not work for everyone, is a great first step option in understanding and treating Athazagoraphobia. Social or group therapy is especially helpful for these people, since it allows them to see that many people will not forget them and are there to be loving and supportive. Family therapy or relationship counseling also serve this purpose.
Medication is available to treat the anxiety that comes with this phobia. Furthermore, it is helpful during panic attacks. Medication can also treat other symptoms of panic attacks, such as chest pain or breathing difficulties.
Lastly, it is extremely important for friends, family, and those who make plans with an individual suffering from Athazagoraphobia to stick to a plan. They need to make a conscious effort to not cancel these plans or forget about them. Eventually, over time, the person with Athazagoraphobia will learn to build trust in those around them.