In Phobias & Fears

Understanding the True Concept of Philia


Both phobias and fears are opposite ends of the same spectrum. While phobias describe overpowering, sometimes paralyzing fear of something, a philia represents an extreme fondness, affection or love for a person, object or activity. In certain cases, the intensity of those feelings often borders on the irrational. Both can cause a person to do things they normally would not consider, even breaking the law.

Philia Definition

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the suffix philia can mean any one of the following:

  • friendly feeling toward
  • tendency toward
  • an abnormal appetite for

Attached to a long list of health conditions, both physical and mental, -philia denotes much more “brotherly love”. The city of Philadelphia, is also known as the city of “brotherly love”, named in part for the Greek type of love it describes.

Greek Philia

In Greece, there are four types of love. They are:

  • Agape – unconditional love
  • Storge – the love for family and friends
  • Eros – passionate and intense
  • Phileo – affectionate,warm and tender love, platonic; extremely close bonds of friendship

Phileo or philia love in Greek terminology, is similar in many ways to the type of love talked about in the Bible. To love one another with such affection and adoration can almost be considered an obsession. Mental health professionals who work with individuals who experience these kind of conditions are divided on whether or not they can be treated effectively.

Pedophiles, for examples, often blur the boundaries of friendship and love when it comes to dealing with children.The urge to make the victim return their feelings can be so intense that they resort to violence if they feel they have not achieved their goal.

Types of Philia

While philia denotes feelings of friendship, admiration, affection and intense forms of love, there are both mental and physical forms of phillias.Philias that are physical in nature describe the body’s “tendency to” do something. For example, a boy with hemophilia risks bleeding to death if he gets a cut or serious injury. The body’s tendency to bleed profusely is the reason behind the name hemo”philia.” Hemo for blood, while philia is the Greek word for love.

Mental forms of “philias” include necrophila and pedophilia. With necrophilia, a person is “in love with dead”. Necro – means dead or decaying, while philia means intense or sexual love. In most states, it is against the law to tamper or handle the body of a deceased person for any other means besides preparation and then actual burial.

Pedophilia is the abnormal or sexual attraction to children or minors. Having sex with a minor is a jail able offense in almost every state in America. The number of pedophilia cases has been steadily on the rise over the last few years. People often debate if the numbers are truly rising or if is only an increase in the number of crimes that are being committed. Some people believe the numbers were always high, the only difference is that now, children and minors are getting the protection they need so they can turn into in the perpetrators.

Statistics Concerning Pedophiles

There are severalĀ statistics on pedophiles and the numbers of crimes associated with pedophilia each year. They include:

  • Almost 96 percent of cases involving pedophilia were perpetrated by a man
  • One report claims that 77 percent of individuals who were charged with sexual offenses against a child were adults, while 23 percent were under 18 years of age
  • Almost 40 percent of all pedophiles who victims were less than 6 years of age, were also molested as a child
  • The offenders who commit the most serious of crimes against children are known to show extreme levels of anti-social behavior. In some cases, these behaviors can even be seen as early as pre-school age.
  • Out of every 5 inmates who have committed serious, violent crimes, 1 has admitted to molesting a child.
  • Between 70 to 90 percent of all convicted pedophiles, claim to have known their victims before they molested them

Across the country, there are over 400,000 registered sex offenders. It is estimated that any where from 80 to 100,000 are registered, but there exact location is unknown. With the ever-increasing reports of child molestation, more and more people are being placed on the list, but that does little good when those who are already on it cannot be located.

List of Philias

In the previous section we covered, three common types of philias. The following philia list is only a portion of the philias that are known to exist:

  • Xenophilia – sexual arousal around strangers
  • Urophilia – involves sexual arousal that has to do with coming in contact with urine
  • Timophelia – sexual urges that have to do with money, wealth and power
  • Siderdromophilia – sexual arousal from riding on trains
  • Phobophilia – sexual arousal that stems from intense fear
  • Oculophilia – sexual arousal that has to do with a person’s eyes or eyeballs
  • Merinthophilia – sexual arousal that results from being tied up
  • Pygophilia – sexual arousal that involves fantasizing about another person’s buttocks.

The different types of philias are too numerous too mention. People often argue that anything can be loved and revered, the main problem stems from the abnormality and intensity with which one can love something. It can often be taken to the point of obsession and be extremely unhealthy for the person who is obsessed as well as for the object of their affection.

Meaning of the Word “Love” in Conjunction with Philia

While the Greek word philia was not necessarily intended to be associated with negative aspects of love or that too much love could be dangerous, the fact remains that many of the most common philias being discussed in today’s society have to do with obsessive, abnormally behaviors that often result in someone getting seriously hurt or injured. These types of love, while not bad if kept in perspective can eventually become so obsessive the person can actually hurt themselves or others if they are not allowed to act out there fantasies.

Even in the physical sense, the body can go overboard to the point where it cannot stop a certain action. Hemophilia is an excellent example. In this case, the body does not desire or love the ability to bleed, it just can’t stop itself. Even the tiniest scratch can cause a hemorrhage that can lead to massive blood loss. There are medications that can help control the bleeding because it is a physical response. Mental conditions associated with this type of love are behaviors and not so easily controlled.

Can “Philia” Conditions Be Controlled

Mental conditions that have to do with various types of “philias” have often been looked at as untreatable. The fact that these types of conditions deal more with a person’s emotions and desires than a real, physical condition make it something of a mystery to treat. Medications can work on physical problems within the brain and body, but they do little to control emotional behaviors and tendencies.

Psychotherapy is being used in some cases to try and treat pedophiles. One of the main objectives is to help them to re-establish proper boundaries, that seem to have been lost. Pedophiles often have problems honoring boundaries, even though they know that crossing them is against the law or harmful to others.

A large portion of psychotherapy treatments have to do with building a strong support system that involves individuals who will hold the convicted person accountable for their actions. As time passes, they begin to rely on the support of family and friends who rely on them to do the right thing. Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals who are exploring these treatment options are unsure as to how well they will work, if at all. Other physicians believe that unhealthy urges can be turned to a more natural path. Not all doctors agree, however. Research will continue until a reliable form of treatment is found.

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