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What is Allodoxaphobia?

By G. Wiesen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Allodoxaphobia is a psychological disorder characterized by an overwhelming and irrational fear of other people’s opinions. This is a fairly unusual and rare disorder, which in some cases can make it all the worse for those who suffer from it who may feel isolated by their condition. It is typically categorized as a social phobia and can manifest at any point in a person’s life, though it is usually tied to an experience someone had at a young age and often manifests during puberty or early adulthood. Allodoxaphobia can typically be treated much like any other type of social phobia, and various support groups and psychological professionals can provide assistance to someone suffering from this disorder.

Also called a fear of opinions or opinion phobia, this phobia manifests as an uncontrollable and powerful fear of the opinions of other people. The name for this fear comes from various Greek roots: allo- means “different,” -dox- means “opinion,” and -phobos means “fear.” It literally means the fear of different opinions, and typically manifests as a deep fear of the opinions that others hold and express toward the person who suffers from the phobia. Much like other social phobias, allodoxaphobia is quite irrational in nature yet tremendously powerful.

Suffering from allodoxaphobia, and many other social phobias, is difficult for a person due to the nature of the disorder. Most people experience fear as a healthy response to a dangerous situation. Someone who is being confronted with a situation that could result in serious bodily harm or death will feel fear and a flight-or-fight response as a survival reaction. A social phobia is difficult to live with because an otherwise innocuous stimulus, such as someone else’s opinion, causes this survival response in the victim of such a disorder.

Precise causes of allodoxaphobia typically depend on the person who suffers from the disorder. It is usually caused by some form of trauma or abuse that a person suffered with relation to opinions expressed by others. One example would be emotional abuse stemming from constant criticism.

The ultimate result is that the opinions of others cause someone with this disorder to experience intense feelings of dread and panic, with physiological responses such as sweating, increased heart rate, rapid or shallow breathing, and nausea. Someone suffering from allodoxaphobia should consult a psychological professional or therapist for treatment and assistance with living with this condition. There are also a number of online resources and communities available to help people with this phobia.

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Discussion Comments

By fify — On Jun 15, 2013

I think I have allodoxaphobia. I get an anxiety attack when I hear a lot of criticism. It's getting harder and harder to function like this, I especially have a lot of problems at work.

By turquoise — On Jun 14, 2013

@ddljohn-- I think phobia of opinions is more common than we realize. I read somewhere that of all the different types of psychological disorders, Americans suffer from phobias the most. And phobias come in many different forms. People can fear animals, heights, germs, numbers and even colors. So it's not surprising that opinion and criticism can trigger a severe fear response in someone.

If you want to help your cousin, you should be understanding and not judge her for her phobia. No one chooses to fear something, this is a health condition, but I believe it can be cured with therapy.

By ddljohn — On Jun 14, 2013
My cousin has social anxiety disorder and she told me the other day that she has allodoxaphobia. I was like "what?" She said that she just learned the term from her therapist whom she has been seeing for several years now. Her therapist believes that at the root of her social anxiety is allodoxaphobia.

I'm very surprised and confused because I thought that phobias are usually about animals or something concrete. I don't understand how someone can fear thoughts and opinions.

Is this a very common phobia? Is there anything I can do to help my cousin about this?

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