Pistanthrophobia: Symptoms,Causes,Treatment,Diagnosis

What is Pistanthrophobia?

Fear of being hurt by someone when in a romantic relationship is known as pistanthrophobia. It can be due to past experiences and relationships that went wrong.

While getting to know someone it is important to be a little cautious, but pistanthrophobia is bringing in a whole lot of mistrust, that can actually interfere and even sabotage the relationship.


It was found in a study that people with specific phobias have an increased probability of certain diseases such as respiratory disease, heart disease, and vascular disease. (1)

Symptoms of Pistanthrophobia

The symptoms of pistanthrophobia resemble those of other types of phobias. The difference is just that they are more specific to their relationship with people.


The symptoms of pistanthrophobia include:

  • Panic and fear that is persistent, excessive and irrational
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trembling
  • A strong desire to get away from the triggering object, person or situation

A person with pistanthrophobia is seen avoiding conversations or deep interactions with a person of a potential love interest. They are seen as guarded or withdrawn and unreceptive by another person to engage them in flirtation, dating, or romantic relationships.

They are seen getting away or out of the conversation that is becoming uncomfortable or related to intimacy, dating, or prospective romantic partner.

What Causes Pistanthrophobia?


Just like any other phobia, pistanthrophobia is triggered by a person or an event.

When a person has a bad experience with a past relationship in which they are extremely hurt, betrayed, or rejected, they live in the terror of a similar experience. This results in being plagued with the thought of rejection, betrayal, sadness, or hurt.

In some, there may not be any bad experience with any kind of relationship but still, they have tremendous anxiety, low self-esteem, and fear of getting known for being rejected or betrayed.


How is Pistanthrophobia Diagnosed?

A mental health professional is needed to diagnose pistanthrophobia. The doctor asks several questions about the duration and severity of the symptoms. The family history and any other mental health condition are also inquired about. A trauma history if present is also confirmed.

Phobia is diagnosed if it is seen that it has lasted for more than 6 months and has affected several areas of a person’s life.

How To Get Rid Of Pistanthrophobia?

There are various therapies such as cognitive behavior therapy, exposure and response prevention, and psychodynamic psychotherapy that can help treat pistanthrophobia.

Slowly exposure and tolerance are developed to the stimulus they fear, just like it is done for those with fear of spiders, heights, etc.

The physician works on behavior modification and rewires the way a person views or thinks about any situation or object associated with fear.

The person is asked to put or visualize himself in a romantic relationship and talk about it with a clinician present. These ways the doctor gets to know about the progress of the treatment. By this, the clinician can help the person develop coping skills and find ways to self soothe the anxiety.

There are certain medications that can help in the treatment of pistanthrophobia.

The treatment can get successful with time and work. It not only helps a person trust again but also is good for overall health.

After a bad break up, it is a natural reaction for a person to put up barriers and avoid opening up to someone new again. If this feeling lasts for long it can lead to the development of pistanthrophobia, which can affect the ability to connect with other people romantically. With time and proper treatment, a person can learn new ways to trust other people and enter a healthy relationship.

Do not let the ghost from your past; resist you from finding love again. It might have disrupted the trust but cannot disrupt you happy ending.

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