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What is Anthropophobia?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including The Health Board, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By anon997048 — On Nov 09, 2016

All these people acting like they have a fear of humans are just overreacting. They say they go places and hide. If you were really afraid of humans, you wouldn't even leave the house.

By anon990125 — On Apr 07, 2015

I attribute much of my anthropophobic issues to a general distrust of people. I was always shy as a child but the actual fear really started in high school, where cliques were formed and none of them were for me, nor would they welcome me. I did feel judged - constantly - and spent more and more time alone.

I also did resort to alcohol and narcotics very early, and I have felt these only worsened things. My social interactions, rare as they were, often required me to drink to try and repel "the fear", and that often didn't work too well. Even more personal relationships became rarer and rarer, also hinged on whatever I was ingesting at the time to get through them, and eventually I became perpetually single. A part of me wants partner to have that interaction but another part of me screams "you're not good enough for anyone and you'll make a fool of yourself if you even try". Even an innocent touch is toxic to me now and instantly sends me into a panic. I can't even stomach the idea of seeing a doctor/psychiatrist because they induce the same problems and I worry about how they'll deal with me.

I've worked hard to make some progress, but when "the fear" kicks in, my eyes dart around, never focusing, breathing is very erratic and often constricted, my heart pounds, I sweat and can't stop pacing or muttering incoherently. I feel sick and I feel inadequate. I spend more time depressed and crying than I'd like to admit. I've felt so desperate that I have contemplated suicide.

My silver lining is my stalwart commitment to beating my own problems and by seeing sites like these that reassure me I'm not alone. I hope everyone here will keep fighting on. This is a burden, but it's not a death sentence. Never stop fighting.

By anon952542 — On May 21, 2014

I fear most people and I like very few.

By anon952389 — On May 20, 2014

Most of the points discussed here fit me. I am even afraid of going to a therapist to get some treatment. I mean, I can sit in front of the therapist, but will not be able to utter a word. Whenever a relative comes to visit us I hide for as long as possible before going in front of them. I have to talk to relatives, otherwise they might get the impression that I am a very arrogant and egotistic person. Can someone help me on how do I approach a therapist without so much fear?

By anon331740 — On Apr 24, 2013

I'm a real piece of work. They say I'm a hypochondriac because I have so many problems. I was born with Asperger's Syndrome (a high-functioning autism that largely disables my communication skills). The syndrome made me subject to my sister's traumatizing, so that I grew up with no self-worth, no value, no esteem, no hopes.

I was an anxious, nerve-wracked wreck and I was always a walking skeleton, which only reinforced my self-image as totally defective. The paranoia of the "thousand eyes" judging me when I went outside undoubtedly drove my phobia into existence.

Anxiety, depression, panic attacks, agoraphobia, anthropophobia, Aspergers, beam me up scotty!

By anon288375 — On Aug 29, 2012

On Halloween, I hide in my basement in hopes that nobody will notice I am there and come to my door.

By anon168759 — On Apr 18, 2011

Every post says, "cannot look people in the eye." I don't have a problem with that. But, the rest fits. I don't know. I have a real fear of people but it's fact based. I have been hurt and used by so many people I trusted it has become an uncontrollable fear.

By anon156982 — On Mar 01, 2011

I know i have this. I can't even be around most of my family members. I hate it. I hate being outside. I need a job but don't know what i can do to survive because i can't go outside.

By anon156700 — On Feb 28, 2011

I think this is no different from how you would feel about dogs if you had been savaged by one in early life. If your experience of people has been extremely painful and negative, it just makes common sense to steer clear of them in future.

It's taken me a lifetime to realize that people are best kept away from. I always wanted so badly to be liked that I'd keep on trying. But now I work hard at limiting contact with others. I don't even plug in my phone or answer the door, and I'm much, much happier.

By anon155858 — On Feb 24, 2011

i also have this phobia. i grew up in japan but i was a half-half mix, the other being a pacific islander. my skin color was fairly dark, or darker than everyone who lived in japan.

My father was barely home. He was always outside doing whatever he did, and my mom was always at work. i had an older brother and a younger, but my older brother despised me and my little brother was only three months old then, so i didn't have anyone to protect me or just hang around with so i hung out by myself.

I was only in second grade and was being called tons of names and being beaten up by group of kids. i think from those events that i gained this phobia.

When people look at me I'm disgusted at what they might see. It's hard to talk to people so that makes me even more of an awkward person. i just wanted to let everyone who has this same sickness know that you are not alone.

By anon144550 — On Jan 20, 2011

i have hid in the bathroom at school seven hours straight because i am terrified of being around other people.

By anon132681 — On Dec 07, 2010

I hate to admit it, but when family members or co-workers are whispering I always wonder what they are talking about, more often than not I feel they are talking about me. I have battled a weight problem since My teens, and I have heard people make many rude and hurtful comments about me. If I could work from home and have my groceries delivered once a week I would probably never leave my apartment.

By anon40017 — On Aug 05, 2009

I have suffered with anthropophobia due to being bullied at work and I believe this condition can often be masked under the label agoraphobia. For many agoraphobics, fear of people is the real condition.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
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