Phobias are a sub-class of anxiety disorders that involve an irrational and exaggerated fear of either a thing or a situation. The fear from such phobias can have a detrimental effect on a person’s livelihood. A phobia sufferer may have difficulty maintaining friends and family members. The individual may have difficulty holding a job. Additionally, the person may spend a portion of the day in his or her home to avoid the fearful situation. Specialists have named hundreds of phobias. Athazagoraphobia is one of such phobias.
What Is Athazagoraphobia?
The athazagoraphobia dictionary description is brief, and the athazagoraphobia definition in the medical dictionary is rather short, as well. The dictionaries define athazagoraphobia as a morbid fear of being forgotten. The disorder has several other characteristics such as the fear of being ignored and the fear of forgetting. Athazagoraphobia can occur by itself, or it can exist as a symptom of another mental illness. For example, a person with OCD or borderline personality disorder may experience extreme athazagoraphobia over personal relationships and bonds. A person with narcissistic personality disorder may grapple with athazagoraphobia, as well.
Everyone worries about people forgetting him or her to a certain extent. However, the athazagoraphobia sufferer is constantly worried that the people they love the most will forget them. Persons who suffer from athazagoraphobia may also fear that strangers, Internet users and people who are not close to them will forget them. The athazagoraphobia sufferer needs to be well known and remembered by every person who meets him or her. Such a person also wants to remember every person that he or she has encountered, as well. The fear of forgetting goes both ways, which makes the disorder a difficult one to manage.
What Causes Athazagoraphobia?
As with many other mental illnesses, athazagoraphobia can occur because of a number of circumstances. The disorder could have a biological nature, and chemical changes within the brain may cause it. The condition could be a result of a traumatizing childhood. A parent may have been absent during the child’s upbringing. A parent may have been physically, verbally or emotionally abusive, as well. The condition could be present because of one bad experience that the individual endured during high school.
Perhaps the boyfriend or girlfriend of the person broke up with him or her harshly in front of the entire school. Such a traumatic experience could cause extreme fear of abandonment, which is a term that one can use to describe “forgetting” someone. Alternatively, the person may have forgotten something important such as the time of a crucial job interview or the birthday of an immediate family member. The family may have chastised the person harshly for it. The prospective employer may have declined to give the person another chance to have an interview. The loss of a job or the respect of one’s family members could harm a delicate person’s psyche enough to cause anxiety. Specialists have not come up with a clear-cut cause for athazagoraphobia.
Fears and the reaction to such fears define athazagoraphobia. A person with this disorder will exhibit physical, psychological and behavioral symptoms. The behavioral symptoms will manifest when the person tries desperately to avoid an instance of the excruciating anxiety the athazagoraphobia causes. Some of the most common symptoms of athazagoraphobia are constant fear of forgetting or being forgotten, anxiety, nausea, dizziness, sweating, fainting, shortness of breath, hyperventilation and depression. The athazagoraphobia sufferer will do just about anything to avoid the symptoms of the disease. Efforts to avoid dealing with the anxiety can make the symptoms worse. They may indirectly causes problems for other people, as well.
Emotional and Mental Symptoms of Athazagoraphobia
A person who has athazagoraphobia is scared to death that people will forget him or her. Such a person is mortified that a person will ignore him or her, as well. Therefore, the individual will do things that remind people of his or her existence. The person may over talk other people at work or in school. The individual may contact an ex-love or ex-spouse just so that person does not forget. The person may gossip or repeat stories so that they never grow old. A frantic sufferer may contact an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend in a harassing fashion. The individual does not mean to harass the other party, but it may occur because of the person’s sickening fear of being ignored.
A person with athazagoraphobia may conduct negative activities to gain the attention of a former love interest. For example, the person may go on a date with another person and then contact the ex to “let him know” about it. The action is a plea for attention and validation rather than a malicious act to hurt the other party. The athazagoraphobia sufferer simply wants to alleviate anxious feelings by having someone validate his or her existence.
A person with athazagoraphobia may suffer from loss of concentration and focus. His or her mind may be stuck on being forgotten and ignored. The person may have problems completing schoolwork and other tasks. The person’s work performance may decline, as well. Additionally, the person may neglect personal friendships and romantic relationships because of the overwhelming worries about the disease.
Finally, depression is a symptom of athazagoraphobia that may occur when attempts to obtain attention fail. The person will do everything in his or her power to avoid being forgotten. If someone forgets him or her anyway, then unbearable depression will arise. Depression is a dangerous condition that requires immediate attention and treatment. People with athazagoraphobia who enter depression are likely to attempt suicide. Nothing feels worse to the sufferer than being forgotten feels. Therefore, the person may not have the tools to cope with the pain of rejection when it occurs. Seeking treatment for athazagoraphobia is imperative. Psychological and psychiatric specialists can help a person with this disease in many ways. Several treatment methods are available, and many of them have positive statistics.
Diagnosis of athazagoraphobia requires a trained specialist. Some online assessments are available. They may explain the athazagoraphobia meaning and ask questions about a person’s symptoms. A test taker can use the results to help the doctor draw a conclusion. However, online assessments should not be used as actual diagnostic tools. The reason is that so many other illnesses can exist on top of or underneath of athazagoraphobia. The doctor will want to get a full profile of the individual so that he or she can see if additional conditions exist.
People with athazagoraphobia usually have other illnesses that overlap and interfere. The sufferer will have to take a full psychiatric evaluation and answer a long line of questions about symptoms. Proper diagnosis of a mental illness usually takes several visits and extensive communication between the patient and the doctor. Once the specialist determines that a person has a case of athazagoraphobia, then he or she will implement a treatment plan that will hopefully work for the person. The prognosis of a person recovering from athazagoraphobia is very good as opposed to the prognosis for other mental illnesses.
Treatment for Athazagoraphobia
A specialist may use a wide variety of tactics to treat someone who suffers from athazagoraphobia. The person may give the patient medication that can help with some of the overwhelming feelings of anxiety. Benzodiazepines and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors may be used for symptoms management. Benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Klonopin have properties that can calm a person’s nervous system and relive worry. SSRIs are antidepressants, but some of them may work to lessen compulsive activities and obsessive thoughts. Medicinal compounds do not treat the disease, and a specialist should only use them in extreme cases of anxiety. Persons with athazagoraphobia have deep issues that they need disclose during therapy.
A specialist may choose from a wide selection of treatment methods to help a person who has athazagoraphobia. Exposure therapy is a type of cognitive behavioral treatment that therapists use for many anxiety disorders. The procedure involves exposing a patient to a stressful situation and allowing the person to feel the anxiety. The goal is for the person to become desensitized after a period of high exposure. Some specialists may try hypnotherapy, which is a retraining of the subconscious. Hypnotherapy requires full trust from a patient . The patient has to trust the specialist to bring him or her to the subconscious state without doing anything harmful. Some patients are reluctant to try this tactic. Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a method that uses words and phrases to remodel a person’s thoughts. Many other treatment methods exist. An interested party would have to arrange a consultation with a specialist to discuss the treatment options.
Recovery Outlook for Athazagoraphobia
The chances of a complete recovery from athazagoraphobia are high. Building the self-esteem and self-confidence is paramount for success. Once a person develops a strong sense of self-esteem, then the fear of someone forgetting him or her will decline. The person will know that he or she does not need to count on others to be happy.