What exactly is autophobia? No, it is not a fear of automobiles, it is much more serious than that. Autophobia is an anxiety-related disorder whose sufferers have an abnormal and persistent fear of loneliness and of being alone.
With many anxiety disorders it is the persistence of the symptoms that can cause the sufferer to be completely overtaken by them until normal functioning becomes impossible. Sufferers of autophobia may experience anxiety even though they realize that being alone is not threatening to their well-being.
Autophobics worry about being ignored and unloved or they may worry about intruders, strange noises or above developing a medical condition. It is the fear and panic that overcomes the autophobic that makes their lives feel out of their control.
Another sense of autophobia is the irrational fear of oneself which although it is groundless, it is still intense. Sometimes a person who is suffering from autophobia cannot be comfortable unless they have someone who they can trust around them. Without having this safe person around the person suffering from this phobia will experience extreme attacks of anxiety and severe physical and emotional reactions to being alone.
Treatment for autophobia involves a combination of therapy and medication. Anti-anxiety medication can help the sufferer to feel calm enough and secure enough to face the possible reasons behind their phobia. Many times this type of phobia is the result of a traumatic experience. Having supportive friends and family can help the autophobic patient while they go through therapy.
Techniques like Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT, is often effective because it helps the patient to learn how to change their behavioral responses to situations that trigger the extreme suffering and fear that is experienced. CBT can be very successful but the amount of time that it takes depends upon the patient. Re-training the mind to react to triggers is a scary process for many who suffer from an anxiety disorder. Taking an anti-anxiety medication alone is not going to solve the problem. Therapy is a necessary part of healing from this disorder and becoming well again.
Diagnosis of an anxiety disorder such as autophobia needs to be done by a qualified mental health professional. The patient will be observed and asked questions not only about their current life but any family history of mental illness or substance abuse. They will also be asked about any recent tragic events in their life. From a serious medical condition to a death of a loved one, a patient needs to be honest and open about their life in order to get an accurate diagnosis.
Many times a condition like autophobia may occur along with another mental disorder such as depression. Especially when the symptoms are allowed to continue for a long time before the person goes for treatment, symptoms of depression and possibly even suicidal thoughts can be a part of the person’s symptoms.
Anxiety disorders like autophobia are treatable. How well the treatment goes depends on the will of the patient and the quality of therapy that they receive.