Monophobia is an abnormal fear of being alone. While everybody feels lonely sometimes, someone with monophobia experiences extreme anxiety when left alone, and the condition can be both socially crippling and extremely frustrating. A variety of behavioral therapy techniques can be used to treat monophobia, including talk therapy and hypnosis. People who suffer from this condition also sometimes benefit from support groups, where they can meet like-minded people and learn about techniques for managing their condition.
This condition is caused by an anxiety disorder, and it may manifest in combination with other anxiety disorder-related symptoms. A monophobe may experience extreme panic attacks when left alone, for example, but he or she may not be able to immediately identify the cause of the panic attacks. A person with this condition might recognize that he or she feels uneasy when left alone, for example, but the person may not be able to understand that the root cause of his or her panic attacks and distress involves being alone.
In addition to being afraid of being alone, someone who is monophobic may also experience stress or panic in unfamiliar situations. Some monophobes are afraid of being away from particular people or locations, associating these people and situations with safety and familiarity. This can be a problem for partners who want to travel or spend time with others in a social capacity, and it can be very frustrating for caregivers.
Because this condition can be intertwined with other symptoms related to an anxiety disorder, it can take time and patience to unravel monophobia and address the root cause. Patients may need to try several treatment approaches and therapists to find a treatment which works for them.
Monophobia is typically diagnosed by a psychologist or psychiatrist, who may also talk about treatment approaches with the patient. It is important to address the anxiety disorder which is at the root of the monophobia, to ensure that the patient does not develop another syndrome caused by the anxiety disorder. For the friends and family of the monophobe, it can be helpful to remember that people with anxiety disorders are typically unable to control their symptoms, and that for some people, deep shame surrounds panic attacks and other stress reactions. As a result, it is important to be supportive, no matter how frustrating it can be.