In this article we will discuss Athazagoraphobia.
Phobia is a word derived from Greek language which is known as fear. This might be an exaggerated aversion with something. There are various factors which can possibly contribute to the development of phobia. Environmental and genetic factors are likely to pave way for the development of a phobia. Anyone can expose themselves to any kind of phobia by thinking irrationally about a particular thing. A person with some kind of phobia will try to avoid things which he considers to be hazardous. Phobias are mental disorders which can be cured or overcome.
This phobia is not discussed frequently. Athazagoraphobia is a word referred to as a person being afraid of being ignored, forgotten or fear of forgetting. So, this phobia consists of two different types: patients who are suffering from dementia at an earlier stage or people who are having any severe medical condition in which a person is more prone to memory loss where they are being afraid of forgetting something or even their own identity.
One may say that Athazagoraphobia can be observed in parents or spouses who are suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. Because they assume that one day they will be ignored or completely forgotten by their own family members or loved ones or nobody will keep them remember after they die. This phobia can also develop in children. Because some children often get ignored and left alone behind for a longer time period. There is a surprising fact about this phobia is that, this is a common type of phobia but still this phobia is reported rarely.
Athazagoraphobia isn’t recognised by American Psychiatric Association as a mental disorder for diagnosing in DSM V. Therefore, until or unless this anxiety or fear is so excessive that just having thoughts about meeting other people and going through the phase of being ignored or forgotten and replaced by peer group makes a person afraid to an extent where it becomes hard or even impossible for a person to that it’s causing dysfunctioning, one cannot be assessed and diagnosed with Athazagoraphobia.
People who have developed Athazagoraphobia or are diagnosed with this phobia are often noticed being afraid of, being replaced, being forgotten, being ignored, being abandoned or forgetting something.
Symptoms of Athazagoraphobia
Those people who have been diagnosed with athazagoraphobia show a low level of self-esteem and self-confidence. Usually, people with this kind of phobia have depression, are introvert or they don’t have courage and ability to meet or interact with new people around them. It is seen that such people are often passive and shy. Athazagoraphobia also seems to be more common in people who don’t have a good memory, are diagnosed with dementia. These conditions get worse with the passage of time.
Such people have developed this fear at the initial stage of their disease. Few people are seen being afraid of neurodegenerative disease or Alzheimer’s disease because anyone from their family, friends or closed one to whom they know very closely, have also suffered from these problems. An interesting development has been observed in these patients that they spend a lot of money on purchasing supplements or drugs which are considered helpful in improving the memory.
Athazagoraphobia, like many other phobias, may incite anxiety and panic attacks. There some typical symptoms which are found in those patients who are afraid of being forgotten. Few of these symptoms are as follow;
- Breathlessness or breathing so fast.
- Feeling like almost died.
- Inability to form coherent sentences
- Panic attacks
- Increased blood pressure
- Avoiding social Interactions
The above mentioned symptoms can vary from a person to another person and in most cases these symptoms depend on the frequency and severity of Athazagoraphobia. Depression and anger are considered most common symptoms of Athazagoraphobia. People who are diagnosed with Athazagoraphobia like to live alone rather than being ignored by other people. They will make every possible measure to make sure that people don’t forget them:burying mementos in the soil, tying knots around fingers or around trees and so on.
Causes of Athazagoraphobia
Like most of other phobias, causes of Athazagoraphobia are not well known. The apparent causes for the development of this phobia might be due to genetics or biological nature caused by the changes in the brain. The issue may have arisen due to some sort of an emotional trauma in early age. There might have been a long absence of mother or father when the child would have been growing or there may be a case that the child might have been abused or assaulted physically, emotionally or verbally. This issue might be a result of an unwanted experience during school times.
Failure of a relationship or breaking up with a girlfriend or boyfriend can be a traumatic experience. These kinds of experiences can incite fear of being ignored or being forgotten. On the other hand, a person might have forgotten a significant event. For example, time or venue of a job interview, birthday of close friend or a family member or a wedding date.
The loss of reputation at workplace or respect, or entirely losing job may have given rise to a harmful emotion which can incite anxiety. As earlier described, those medical issues which involve memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may be a cause of this phobia.
Other than traumatic events, this phobia might also occur if one’s loved one is suffering from a particular condition related to memory loss such as dementia or alzheimer. This develops a fear of being forgotten by a loved one.
Researches have also established links between personality factors and athazogoraphibia where individual’s havinh shy nature or rate high on introversion are more likely to develop this phobia as compared to individuals who score low on introversion.
This phobia has high comorbidity with other medical and psychological conditions such as dementia or alzheimers, where fear of forgetting things becomes a major concern for individuals.
Athazagoraphobia Diagnosis and Tests
As discussed earlier, this phobia is not categorised as a mental disorder. But this phobia can be diagnosed depending on history and clinical representation. Those who have developed athazagoraphobia often found to have other diseases for example, dementia, depression or Alzheimer’s disease.
Treatments of Athazagoraphobia
The best possible remedy for athazagoraphobia is to reduce or overcome the fear. Given below are the treatment methods which can be adopted to help a patient with athazagoraphobia;
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Neuro-linguistic therapy
- Energy psychology
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
The purpose behind the application of Cognitive therapy is to help those patients who are suffering from athazagoraphobia in the identification of their feelings and emotions which are related to their fear or anxiety and providing them with assistance to replace their feelings with realistic thoughts or positive feelings.
Cognitive restructuring is the part of behavioural therapy which aims to provide help to those people who are suffering from athazagoraphobia as they have developed negative thought patterns about fear of being ignored or forgotten. Moreover, many people do not actually recognise their own potential and ability to handle the fearful situations. Cognitive restructuring aims to assist patients to get to know how to counter their negative thoughts and then change them to productive or positive thoughts which eventually decrease stress and avoid anxiety. This basically lets a patient to recognise negative thoughts and then develop thoughts to counter negativity and eventually replacing them with positive thoughts.
Antidepressants and anti anxiety drugs are often seen as remedy to stress related mental issues. Because these kinds of drugs are considered as vital in relieving the most severe symptoms which are found in patients with athazagoraphobia. Anxiolytics are considered helpful for a shorter period of time to use and are very effective to lessen the anxiety in a patient so it becomes relatively easy for them to handle their problems. Benzodiazepines and SSRIs may be used for symptoms management.
Phobia exists in the subconscious mind of a patient which means that it is impossible to comprehend that a specific kind of phobia is not dangerous,it doesn’t matter how much the patient tells himself. Our body and our mind will still react to fearful situations. Hypnosis intends to directly get in touch with our subconscious mind and try to alter our thinking patterns about phobias.
The process of hypnosis involves putting a person into a relaxed state of mind. Therapist will communicate with the client about the phobia without letting you lose control of yourself all the time. If the client does not exactly know the root cause of phobia then it might take some time to probe the root causes of the phobia.
After getting to know the cause of phobia the therapist will go further in treatment and will use various techniques to alter the responses of the client. This will make the client to slowly and calmly confront the phobia while being normal and calm.
Exercise is a most powerful weapon for the body against various diseases and mental stress. It is believed that a sound body has a sound mind. So, exercising on a daily basis can be helpful for a person to relieve stress and anxiety. Especially, cardiovascular exercise is thought to be extremely beneficial to get rid of stress. According to APA, exercising is a powerful factor to train and condition the mind and get it prepared to better deal with anxious situations. Aerobics is also considered effective and efficient to curb stress. Aerobic includes, swimming, biking, jogging, skiing and walking. Playing different kinds of sports such as soccer, tennis and cricket can also help relieve negative emotions and stress. Being consistently engaged with such kinds of recreational activities is also helpful to relieve pain. Fearful situations tend to give rise to different physical symptoms and mental issues. Exercising will make a person focus on different exercising techniques and relieve his physical and mental pain.
FAQs about Athazagoraphobia?
Q1. What is phobia?
A Greek word which means fear. People who have developed any phobia are afraid of different situations or particular things about which they have bad experiences in the past and tend to avoid them in future. Whenever they come across such situations or things it gives rise to anxiety and other physical and mental symptoms.
Q2. What is Athazagoraphobia?
Athazagoraphobia is a kind of phobia in which people tend to develop fear of being ignored or forgotten and replaced by their own family members or loved ones. This fear makes people more vulnerable to develop Athazagoraphobia.
Q3. What are common causes of Athazagoraphobia?
There are few common causes of Athazagoraphobia. Few of them are, relationship failures, child abuse, neglect by parents or siblings in childhood.
Q4. Can Athazagoraphobia be cured by medicine?
Medicines do not necessarily cure the symptoms of Athazagoraphobia but it can be helpful in relieving the symptoms of Athazagoraphobia. Antidepressant drugs can significantly reduce anxiety and depression.