Androphobia: Fear of Men - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Men and women have been living together on this Earth since ages. One ceases to exist without the other, just like day and night. However, some people, especially young females, can be extremely fearful of men. Such type of abnormal and intense dread of men is known as Androphobia.
Androphobia has been derived from Greek word “Andras” meaning man. Androphobia is signified by unreasonable, constant and exaggerated fear of men, and perceiving them as dangerous. An androphobic person tries to avoid men and their company as much as possible. The androphobic person may feel unsafe and nervous around a man’s company even if he is a family member, near friend or relative. Androphobia can extensively affect one’s life, especially personal relationships, work and family. If a female is androphobic, she might have men as friends but feel completely uncomfortable around them. The fear can be so intense that one might choose to remain single and unmarried for the whole life.
What Causes Androphobia?
Various factors that contribute in development of Androphobia in people are:
Various traumatic experiences can be directly associated with Androphobia in people. The fear of men can be traced to really distressful encounters with men previously. These can be physical and verbal abuse, rape and molestations. Even incidents like eve-teasing and bullying can cause the fear to generate. Such experience implants the idea that men are aggressive and ruthless, and can cause person damage. The phobia may also be triggered by witnessing or hearing about a significant other getting hurt by men.
The fear and nervousness of encountering with a man may also be rooted in the learnt behavior of a person. In almost all the societies and cultures, men are the dominant group. Men are known as the aggressive, physically stronger and tough beings. This might be causing fear of men to develop in some eventually.
Genetics and heredity have also been related with Androphobia. People, especially females, are vulnerable if they previously have a family history of some phobias and anxiety. The fear and anxiety can be underlying in the genetic build as well.
The Symptoms of Androphobia
Common symptoms that can occur with people having Androphobia are:
- Intense, constant and unreasonable dread of men ( Even thoughts about men can provoke the fear)
- Extremely nervous, numb and conscious around men
- Disturbing thoughts and nightmares of getting hurt or attacked by men
- Realizing that the fear is unreasonable
- Avoiding any kind of relationship or association with men
- In severe cases, avoiding to go out of home to stay away from men
- Panic attacks with signs of shaking, sweating and clammy hands, racing heartbeat, chest pain, profuse breathing, dizziness or fainting, nausea, getting fixed and abdominal discomfort
When to Visit a Doctor?
One will have to encounter a man at any point of a day. Severe cases of Androphobia can cause a person to completely avoid from going anywhere and isolate oneself. If the above symptoms go over the extent of six months time and noticeably disrupted one’s life, consulting a doctor and starting the treatment would be essential.
How Is Androphobia Treated?
Different psychotherapies and medicines can be used for treatment for Androphobia. These are:
Exposure therapy with Relaxation
Exposure therapy is an effective psychotherapy used for the treatment of Androphobia. This therapy is aimed at reducing the fear level by gradual exposures to the fearful subject. The therapist guides the person through the exposure sessions with real men, or images and videos of men. Using different relaxation methods such as controlled breathing, mind visualizations and meditations, the person faces the fear. As the person gets habituated with the sessions, he/she also develops tolerance and coping strength against the fear of men.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a psychotherapy which is focused on understanding the thoughts and behavior of a person. In the context of androphobia, the therapist conducts counseling sessions where the person talks and shares about how and why he/she fears men. Through the sessions, the therapist also teaches different ways to tolerate the fear, and retain normal behavior. The major aim of CBT is to identify the negative images linked with the fear of men, and modifying them into positive ones.
In serious cases of panicking, medications may also be used. Commonly used medicines are anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medicines. These help to balance Serotonin levels which are responsible for the temperament of a person.