What is Androphobia or Fear of Men & How is it Treated?
What is Androphobia or Fear of Men?
Androphobia refers to extreme fear of men on a consistent basis taking a form of phobia. Like all other cases of phobia, androphobia or fear of men is also a inbuilt fear without any relevant cause. This type of phobia can affect any one but particularly effect younger females more than others.
Androphobia or fear of men starting from childhood can continue to exist even in the adulthood. People suffering from androphobia or fear of men are afraid of being alone with a male, even if he is a friend or relative. He or she might have scary dreams and cannot leave a normal life. The fear of men always haunts such people preventing them from going out.
In less severe cases, an androphobic person may seem normal with men but he or she is always nervous and uncomfortable from inside.
Causes of Androphobia or Fear of Men
There are several reasons that may cause androphobia or fear of men. In most cases, a traumatic event with a men such as sexual assault or rape can have a deep impact and cause permanent androphobia or fear of men. Thus, whenever a person encounter a man, she tends to react in the same way as during that traumatic event. The memories of the event gets stored in mind and cause her to recreate the scene.
An unusually rude or violent behaviour of parents, caretaker or grandparents can also install this fear. Usually girls are advised to maintain distance from men which can also contribute to long lasting fear. Many incidences and reports that one reads and hear about in news can further increase her fear and establish a androphobia or fear of men in mind.
Some of the most common causes for development of androphobia or fear of men are as follows:
Traumatic Experiences Can Cause Androphobia or Fear of Men
A traumatic encounter with a man involving some sort of verbal or physical abuse, molestation, rape etc... can be one of the prime cause for androphobia or fear of men. Such fear are often boosted with acts like bullying and eve-teasing that creates an impression that men are harmful and ruthless. In some cases, a person may also develop fear due to watching or hearing about any such events.
Another Cause of Androphobia or Fear of Men is Learnt Behavior
Androphobia or fear of men can also be caused out of constant learning from day to day living where male are always dominant and aggressive in nature. Men are physically tougher and stronger which automatically makes them appear dominant in a family. Moreover, every culture and society regard men as dominant.
Genetics Can Cause Androphobia or Fear of Men
Androphobia or fear of men can also come as a inheritance from parents of someone close in the family. If there is any family history of phobia or anxiety, the chances of acquiring phobia from them cannot be ruled out.
Signs and Symptoms of Androphobia or Fear of Men
Common symptoms of androphobia or fear of men are as follows:
Physical signs and symptoms of androphobia or fear of men include:
An androphobic person can show one of more of the following physical symptoms while facing a man or even thinking about an encounter with men. The symptoms are: fainting, pain in chest, chocking, sweating, increased pulse rate, high breathing rate, nausea, gastrointestinal distress etc...
Mental signs and symptoms of androphobia or fear of men are:
- Always thinking about fear of men.
- Having deep rooted fear of men.
- Imagining about terrifying encounter or images of men.
- Not able to have full control over your mind.
Emotional signs and symptoms of androphobia or fear of men are:
- Always thinking and worrying about a possible encounter with a man in future.
- Having a feeling of constant terror of encounter with men.
- A strong feeling to run away from an environment or situation involving men.
It can leave a person feeling depressed and lost. She may face problem with routine activities like eating, sleeping, speaking etc... without any reason. Small children suffering from androphobia or fear of men may start to scream, cry or escape while coming across a man.
When to Visit a Doctor for Androphobia or Fear of Men?
An individual having androphobia or fear of men would need to see a doctor at some of the other point of time. As the time goes by, the situation starts to get worse as person starts to live in isolation. If a person continues to show symptoms of androphobia or fear of men for more than six months, it is strongly recommended to refer to a doctor.
Risk Factors for Androphobia or Fear of Men
Following risk factors may make you more prone to androphobia or fear of men:
- Tender age is a risk factor for androphobia or fear of men. Individuals who are 13 years old or less have a higher risk of developing phobia as compared to adults. Most people develop phobia around the age of 10 that can continue till adulthood. Androphobia usually occurs in the duration of early teen to late teen. I few cases it may occur in adults until the age of 35.
- A phobia can easily be derieved for any of the members in the family. If someone in the family has some phobia of snakes, spiders etc... then it increases the risk of developing phobia in kids. It happens because children grow up watching such members react awkwardly to such situations and they may also adopt the same.
- Your temperament. Occurrence of androphobia or fear of men can also depend on your temperament or mental strength to face your fears. A sensitive person is more at risk of developing androphobia or fear of men.
- Androphobia or fear of men can also result due to some traumatic event that can have a long lasting effect on mind. Such events may include situations like a sexual assault or molestation by a man.
Complications of Androphobia or Fear of Men
Going through androphobia or fear of men can be silly for the spectators but can be extremely tough for the person himself. It can influence several aspects of the life of an individual.
- Social isolation is a major complication of androphobia or fear of men. The natural tendency of a person to avoid his family and friends or specific places can have serious impact on their academic and work efficiency. They tend to lead an isolated life which prevent them spending a quality social life and learning necessary skills.
- It is common to get into depression or develop anxiety disorders.
- Substance abuse is also a possible complication of androphobia or fear of men. Loneliness and isolation makes them prone to substance abuse.
- Some patients may also start to have thoughts of suicide.
Tests to Diagnose Androphobia or Fear of Men
Androphobia or fear of men or any phobia is a mental condition unlike other medical conditions that are more physical. Thus, it is impossible to use any lab tests for detection of androphobia or fear of men. A counselor or an expert tries to detect the condition of phobia by checking for possible symptoms by talking with the patient and looking for medical history.
American Psychiatric Association has set defined clear guidelines and standards that are used as Statistical Manual for diagnosis of mental condition. All doctors and insurance companies can use this manual for comparing the results and conform the case of androphobia or fear of men.
Treatment for Androphobia or Fear of Men
Researchers are still trying to find out exact reasons that are responsible for androphobia or fear of men to develop better treatment options. A few sessions with physiatrist can be helpful as he tries to figure out the cause and get rid of fears. However, the treatments depends largely on person's preference and comfort level with a physiatrist. A combinations of medicines and visit to a physiatrist can help in treating androphobia.
Exposure Therapy with Relaxation to Treat Androphobia or Fear of Men
Exposure therapy is a popular therapy that is used widely to treat almost every type of phobia which includes androphobia or fear of men. In this therapy, a person is gradually exposed to her fears by creating virtual environment with increasing intensity of exposure. Gradual exposure helps a person to find out ways to tackle her fears. A doctor teaches special ways like meditation, mind visualization, breath control etc to help the person in coping up with the fear.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Treating Androphobia or Fear of Men
CBT is similar to psychotherapy where a physiatrist tries to understand the androphobia or fear of men and possible causes. He then sets up multiple counselling sessions with the patient where he discusses about the fears and teach him methods to cope up with androphobia or fear of men. The prime objective of CBT is to modify the mindset of a person and get rid of the event or thoughts that are causing fear.
Another Way to Diagnose Androphobia or Fear of Men is Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)
Neuro-Linguistic programming or NLP is related to the fact that how our mind perceives things as real. In terms of NLP, phobia results due to some constructs created my our mind that does not really exist in reality. Neuro-Linguistic Programming helps in reprogramming our mind to differentiate between real and virtual world and get rid of androphobia or fear of men. It is an effective technique with quick results.
Hypnotherapy is Also a Way to Treat Androphobia or Fear of Men
Hypnotherapy is also an effective therapy for treatment of androphobia or fear of men. In this therapy, the therapist hypnotize a person and tries to connect to her subconscious mind and tries to reprogram his brain by getting rid of memories responsible for fear.
Medicines for Treating Androphobia or Fear of Men
Medicines may be required in severe cases of androphobia or fear of men to treat anxiety and depression. These medicines have a direct influence on the Serotonin levels which helps in maintaining the right temperament.
It can be hard for person suffering from androphobia or fear of men to lead a normal life and cope up with her fears. However, there are several treatment options and counsellors who can help a person to cope up with the situation.
Prevention of Androphobia or Fear of Men
Any type of fear which cannot be explained can be symptom of phobia. It is recommended that you refer to a doctor to find out more about your condition to prevent it from getting worse. This becomes more important in case where there are children in your family as they can also get influenced by look at your behaviour and develop phobia themselves.
Coping with Androphobia or Fear of Men
Coping with androphobia or fear of men is difficult but not impossible. It is important for person to realize that androphobia or fear of men can be treated with proper therapy and medicines. A person must learn to control her fears and establish control over mind. It does not come at once but requires string determination and constant efforts. A person use exposure and relaxation therapy themselves to learn how to cope up with androphobia or fear of men.
Some other therapies like individual talk therapy, group therapy etc... are also helpful in treating androphobia or fear of men. Hypnotherapy in particular can help the therapist to get into the root cause of the fear and get rid of the same through successive sessions.
The main aim of professional treatments is to help you in managing and treating your phobia effectively so that you are not captivated into your fears. You can also develop some techniques on your own to cope up with your fears.
- Do not run away from your fears. People suffering from androphobia must be encouraged to find ways to cope up with fear instead or running away from them. Seek help from your friends, family and doctor..
- Support groups can help in better coping with androphobia or fear of men. Support groups let you meet other people going through the same fears. You can interact with them and exchange key ideas and strategies to cope up with the fears.
- Medicines must be taken timely. One of the common problems with the medications for phobia can arise while a person try to skip medicines as it lead to withdrawal symptoms. Talk to your doctor.
- Take Proper care of health. In midst of all those fears and androphobia or fear of men, you need to maintain good health both mental as well as physical to help yourself in fighting against your fears.
Helping your Child to Face Androphobia or Fear of Men
Almost every child has some fears during childhood but it is important to make sure that all fears go away as child grows up and become a teenager. If your child retain any fears, you must seek help of an expert. Following are some of the methods that are very helpful in helping an individual to cope up with androphobia or fear of men:
- Encourage your child to discuss about fears. We can often take fear of our children for granted assuming it will go away with time. Talk with your child regularly about their fears in order for better coping.
- Encourage your child face fears instead of trying to escape. One of the common problems with people suffering from androphobia or fear of men is that they tend to isolate themselves out of their fears. As a parent, it is important to encourage your child to face fears rather than trying to escape them. Expose your child to his fears in a controlled environment with the help of a therapist.
- Become a role model for your child against androphobia or fear of men. Children learn by observing people in their surroundings especially parents. You can be your child hero and he can learn by observing your reaction to fears.
Recovery Period/Healing Time for Androphobia or Fear of Men
Time for recovery from your androphobia or fear of men can vary from person to person. It depends on several factors such as severity of fears and mode of treatment. Refer your doctor to know more about healing time in your case.