What is Haphephobia or Fear of Being Touched & How is it Treated?

What is Haphephobia or Fear of Being Touched?

One of the strangest and wired type of phobia is haphephobia. It is one of the rarest types of fear; it is a fear of being touched by someone. The person affected by this phobia has a determined and unexplainable fear that he or she would be touched by someone.

The name of haphephobia is derived from the Greek word “haphe” that mean touch. A person getting this disease can immediately get a horror attack that he or she is being touched by someone. There are some special cases of this phobia in which the person is only scared to get touched by the opposite gender. A haphephobic person can perform his or her basic daily schedule and can also make a healthy relationship with other people. However, they still have a fear of being touched by the partner or friends.

What is Haphephobia or Fear of Being Touched?

Causes of Haphephobia or Fear of Being Touched

Haphephobia or fear of being touched is broadly caused due to the following reasons:

  • One the major causes behind the cause of haphephobia or fear of being touched is trauma. Any type of distressful events like the sexual assaults, abuse and rape make the person fear of any kind of touch. And after the incident, any touch may resemble the same disturbing experience, and then causes the person to be haphephobic.
  • The heredity and genetic factor can cause haphephobia or fear of being touched. Parents or direct relatives can pass the phobia to the children. Any kind of small distressful event that is related to touch triggers the phobia immediately.

Signs and Symptoms of Haphephobia or Fear of Being Touched

Signs and symptoms of haphephobia or fear of being touched in people are:

  • A fear that somebody might touch is the primary symptom of haphephobia or fear of being touched.
  • A definite case in which the fear of touch exists by the opposite sex.
  • If the accused try to avoid any group activity in fear of being touched.
  • Regular thinking of being touched by someone.
  • If the accused suffers from any panic attack with some of the physical sign like an increase in heart beat, shivering, sweating, fainting, vomiting.

If you are suffering from haphephobia or fear of being touched and if you meet with any other person suffering from some other phobia then you may see that both of your reaction that triggers phobia is more or less same.

Symptoms of phobia often lead to avoidance, in the case of haphephobia or fear of being touched this can lead to:

  • Starts avoiding to spend time with the loved ones, family and friends.
  • While going out of your keeping your hand in an attempt so that nobody tries to get a handshake or any physical touch.

When to Visit a Doctor for Haphephobia or Fear of Being Touched?

The person with haphephobia might avoid from getting out of their room and so they isolate themselves. This can disturb their professional and as well as the personal life. During such a condition a professional health worker of mental must be consulted. If the symptoms persist for a period more than six months, then visiting a doctor is highly recommended.

Risk Factors for Haphephobia or Fear of Being Touched

The factors that increase your risk of haphephobia or fear of being touched is:

  • The age of a person is always a risk factor for any phobia which includes haphephobia or fear of being touched.
  • If any of your family members suffers from a phobia, for example, haphephobia or fear of being touched, then it is a possibility that you are likely to develop that character.
  • This can be the hereditary tendency of getting scared, or a child could also learn a phobia by noticing a family member’s phobic reaction to a situation.
  • Temperament. Hike in risk factor may be seen if you are more inhibited or more sensitive than the normal.
  • Experiencing any type of traumatic event like that of being trapped or an attack by any person may trigger the growth of phobia.

Complications in Haphephobia or Fear of Being Touched

Haphephobia or fear of being touched is a very serious issue, although it may seem silly to others, but it has a very demoralizing effect on the person who has it and get affected in many aspects of daily lifestyle, such as:

  • People that have haphephobia among them many suffer from depression and other anxiety disorders.
  • A number of individuals with a phobia have a risk that that might do with suicide.
  • Social isolation can be a complication of haphephobia or fear of being touched. Avoiding to visit places can grounds, academic, relationship and professional problems. Children with these disorders are at a risk of getting academic problems and may also suffer from loneliness which in turn will not allow them to develop and good social skills.

Tests to Diagnose Haphephobia or Fear of Being Touched

The haphephobia or fear of being touched has no tests for diagnosing it. Rather the diagnosis process includes the clinical interview and diagnostic guidelines. The doctor will get in direct observation over there he or she will be asking some certain question about the symptoms and then the doctor will ask for the medical and as well as the social history.

Treatment for Haphephobia or Fear of Being Touched

The haphephobia or fear of being touched could be made into control by a combination of psychotherapies and the medicine intake.

  1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT for Treating Haphephobia or Fear of Being Touched

    The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is also known as CBT, as you know that haphephobia or fear of being touched can be caused due to a traumatic experience. So the CBT helps to bring out of such unenthusiastic experiences, memories and thoughts of the person. This therapy helps to conduct healthy counseling sessions, and to this session, the negative thoughts are replaced by the positive one. Then the person will be able to share the phobic experience slowly, and it will release the distress through such therapy.

  2. Another Treatment Option for Haphephobia or Fear of Being Touched is Exposure Therapy with Relaxation

    Exposure therapy is followed by placing the person directly in front of the feared object and let the person be set free to react. The person could develop the resistant of fear through such regular exposure session.

  3. Medicines to Treat Haphephobia or Fear of Being Touched

    For the haphephobia or fear of being touched, no medicine is told as the best one. As it is believed that the best cure for it is to deal with the root problem with it, so a pharmaceuticals will not help a lot in this field. Only three types of medication are used for the treatment of haphephobia or fear of being touched:

    • Beta blockers: This medicine works by blocking the path of flow of adrenaline that occurs at the time when you became anxious. Instead of the fact that the beta blockers do not affect the emotional indication of the anxiety, but it does control the physical symptoms like the touch ability.
    • Antidepressants: This is helpful when the fear is severe and is also approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for phobias.
    • Benzodiazepines: This is among the fastest reacting anti-anxiety medication, but this is only prescribed when the other did not work.

Prevention of Haphephobia or Fear of Being Touched

If you have fears without any reason, then you should consult with the psychologist moreover, if you have any children, then this step should be taken early enough for prevention. As the genetics play a role in the encouragement of getting haphephobia or fear of being touched. By dealing with the fears within you, it may be possible that your children might not get the same disorder.

Coping with Haphephobia or Fear of Being Touched

The professional treatment is the one that can help you to overcome your haphephobia or fear of being touched and manage it in an efficient way so that you do not become a prisoner to your own fear. To cope and care for yourselves, you can take some of the steps:

  • You should try not to avoid the situation that fears you. The People surrounding you and your therapist will help you to work on it.
  • Even you could try to join a group where the member of the group understands about haphephobia or fear of being touched you are undergoing.
  • You should take your care and should be active all day long.

Recovery Period/Healing Time for Haphephobia or Fear of Being Touched

The period of the recovery depends on upon the way the treatment is going on. You should consult your doctor to know about the recovery time and for any additional questions about haphephobia or fear of being touched.

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