A phobia is an uncontrollable, irrational, and lasting fear of a certain object, situation, or activity. This fear can be so overwhelming that a person may go to great lengths to avoid the source of this fear. One response can be a panic attack. This is a sudden, intense fear that lasts for several minutes. It happens when there is no real danger.
Research suggests that both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the start of phobias. Certain phobias have been linked to a very bad first encounter with the feared object or situation. Mental health experts don’t know if this first encounter is necessary or if phobias can simply occur in people who are likely to have them.
Much is still unknown about the actual cause of specific phobias such as Macilentophobia. Causes may include negative experiences which could develop as a result of having a negative experience or panic attack related to a specific object or situation.
A phobia could also be caused by genetics and the environment whereby there may be a link between your own specific phobia and the phobia or anxiety of your parents — this could be due to genetics or learned behavior. Changes in brain functioning also may play a role in developing specific phobias.
What is Macilentophobia
Macilentophobia (from macilent, meaning a thin person or animal) is the fear of skinny people. People with this phobia are scared of skinny people snapping in half while they are around them, as they will have to then deal with the aftermath themselves. Macilentophobia is also a form of specific phobia and a branch of anthropophobia. Hence for better understanding, it is necessary that we shed more light on Anthropophobia.
Anthropophobia, or the fear of people, is a commonly misunderstood phobia. It often resembles social phobia but is not precisely the same fear. Depending on the severity, anthropophobia may cause a phobic reaction even when in the company of only one other person. In extreme cases, those with anthropophobia may withdraw altogether, communicating with others only through snail mail or electronic means such as e-mail or text messaging.
Although anthropophobia can be part of social anxiety disorder, the two aren’t the same. Social anxiety disorder involves intense anxiety when in a social situation. This could apply to being at a party or on a date, or even interacting with a cashier or worker at a store.
A person with social anxiety feels uncontrollable fear that they’ll be judged or rejected by other people. They’ll often end up avoiding social situations altogether, when they can.
However, in theory, anthropophobia could include symptoms unrelated to social interaction.
Causes and Symptoms of Macilentophobia
Like all phobias, previous experiences can increase the risk of developing anthropophobia. There may be culturally specific elements to this diagnosis. Anthropophobia typically causes symptoms similar to those of any other phobia. When spending time with others, you may begin to sweat and shake. You might turn red and have trouble breathing normally. You might feel like your pulse is racing. You may be unable to speak, or even to formulate coherent thoughts. You will likely experience a strong fight or flight response, in which you feel an overwhelming need to get away.
Additionally, you might worry that others are judging you for everything from your style of dress to your choice of words. You may be unable to make eye contact even with trusted friends.
Anthropophobia often causes anticipatory anxiety as well. In the days leading up to an encounter with others, you may have trouble sleeping. You might feel physical distress, such as stomach problems or headaches when thinking about the upcoming event. You might be tempted to cancel or to simply not show up.
When left untreated, anthropophobia and in this case macilentophobia often worsens over time. What begins as a relatively minor fear of being surrounded by strangers could escalate to include any group of people, even close friends, and eventually to include one-on-one encounters. Some people with severe anthropophobia quit work or school and actively avoid seeing anyone.
There’s no home test for a phobia. While there may be online tests or surveys, these shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. They’re not a substitute for evaluation and diagnosis by a trained professional.
There is also no treatment that’s specific to anthropophobia. However, there are treatments for phobias and anxiety disorders. The particular treatment can vary depending on the specific phobia, the individual, and the severity of the phobia. Common types of treatment include different kinds of therapy, relaxation training, and medication.
Therapy can be useful for phobias, especially when used with other treatments. In addition to traditional talk therapy, commonly used therapies for phobias and anxiety disorders are exposure therapy and cognitive therapy. Exposure therapy repeatedly, sometimes gradually, exposes an individual to a feared object or situation. This is done until the fear reaction no longer occurs. It can be done through imaginary exposure (imagining it) or in vivo exposure (real life).
Cognitive therapy involves identifying anxious or fearful thoughts and then replacing them with more rational thoughts. According to the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety, it’s usually not helpful for individuals with specific phobias. This is because they typically realize their fears are unwarranted.
Relaxation training can be helpful for individuals with anxiety, especially for those with specific phobias. This may include: guided imagery, breathing exercises, hypnosis and exercise.
The best treatment for specific phobias is a form of psychotherapy called exposure therapy. Sometimes your doctor may also recommend other therapies or medication. Understanding the cause of a phobia is actually less important than focusing on how to treat the avoidance behavior that has developed over time.
The goal of treatment is to improve the quality of life so that you’re no longer limited by your phobias. As you learn how to better manage and relate to your reactions, thoughts, and feelings, you’ll find that your anxiety and fear are reduced and no longer in control of your life. Treatment is usually directed at one specific phobia at a time.