Anthropophobia is a condition in which people experience unusual and often extreme difficulty with being around other people. This particular phobia goes beyond the more common fear of being in crowded social situations and extends to experiencing a great deal of discomfort even when with one other person. While some cases of the condition are relatively mild, other situations are so intense that the individual may choose to shut himself or herself away from any type of direct human contact, limiting their social interaction to handwritten letters and electronic communications.
Normally, it takes a healthcare professional to define anthropophobia as the proper diagnosis for an individual. This is because a number of the symptoms for the phobia are common responses that most people have to uncomfortable social situations at one time or another. The anthropophobic is often unable to look people in the eye during a conversation, will often blush for no apparent reason, and tends to often think others are making covert judgments about the patient’s physical attributes, intelligence, or mode of dress. What is different with a true anthropophobia definition or diagnosis is that these symptoms are not transient and are often so intense and frequent that the patient is unable to relax even in the company of people he or she loves and trusts.
As with most types of phobias, professional counseling by a qualified therapist is often the foundation for any anthropophobia treatment series that is undertaken. Due to the nature of the condition, many therapists with expertise with this particular phobia may choose to begin the therapy using a medium that does not also function as a trigger. This can include instant messaging online or telephone conversations. Over time, the instant messaging may be enhanced with a video connection that allows the patient to visually as well as verbally interact with the therapist. Ultimately, the therapy takes place with both therapist and patient in the same room.
Medication is also sometimes part of ongoing anthropophobic treatment. Because of the intense emotional paint that an anthropophobic experiences, sedatives are sometimes used to ease the level of discomfort and allow the individual to experience at least limited social interaction. However, the focus is to uncover the underlying beliefs or events that led to this extreme mindset and help the patient to reverse and eventually overcome these root causes. As with many phobias, treating anthropophobia is a process that may take an extended period of time, depending on the severity of the condition.