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Philophobia (Fear of Love) : Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Last Updated: Dec 26, 2020

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What is Philophobia?

Philophobia is derived from the Greek term Philo means love and Phobos means fear. Philophilia is fear of love or being emotionally connected to someone. It is similar to many other phobias especially the phobia which involves being social or interacting with people. But it is slightly different and we’re gonna talk on how.

Love, as they say, is one of the most beautiful feelings in the world. The ones in love are considered lucky and what not. But for many, it can be one of the most dreadful feelings. You heard it right, while a lot of people are receptive to it, there are many who think falling in love is the most terrible thing.

Doctors are not sure why there are so many people living with this phobia. As this word has not a place in the medical dictionary at least.

Symptoms of Philophobia

Philophilia is fear of love or emotional attachment. Sometimes, the phobias can be exceptional to the point that it can influence your life badly. Symptoms of Philophobia vary from one individual to another. There can be several physical and emotional responses to love or idea of love among these people:

  • Intense fear for the idea of love
  • Social avoidance
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Excessive sweating
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Difficulty in functioning
  • Upset Stomach

Causes of Philophobia

Although the accurate reasons are still unclear for philophobia, these are some possible reasons :

  • People with philophobia are more likely to have past experience of a traumatic event or hurt. The fear is caused by the feeling that they will have the same experience in the future and the pain is not worth it.
  • If someone was abandoned or hurt as a child, they start developing adverse reactions to the idea of being loved or emotionally attached to someone. The fear is to avoid the same encounter again in the future.

In some cases, the changes in brain functioning can cause this. People start comprehending things on the basis of bad past experiences.

Diagnosis of Philophobia

As mentioned earlier, philophobia doesn’t have medical recognition. Hence, there are no official guidelines to diagnose philophobia.

Having said that, one of the reasons doctors are not aware of this particular type of phobia is because people often decide to live with it rather than having it diagnosed and treated. Nevertheless, it is advisable to seek the help of a medical practitioner or therapist if you feel like you’re one of the people with philophobia.

Your therapist will ask you a few questions about your past and how you feel upon being exposed to the fear. If ignored, philophobia can affect your life badly, the complications include:

  • Abuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Depression or anxiety disorder
  • Social isolation
  • Suicidal thoughts or Suicide

Treatment for Philophobia

There are multiple therapies that can help you with the situation. One of the most common therapies in these situations is CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), in which your therapist will analyse your negative thoughts and try to modify your response more rationally. It is also one of the methods to determine the source of your phobia.

In this type of phobia, it is essential to find the root cause of the problem. The fear is always based on past experience and comes upon the worry of the future.

Questions like below are the catalyst in these situations:

  • What if it doesn’t work out?
  • Is it okay to do this?
  • Am I going to be fine?
  • What will happen next?

The continuous reverberation of these questions in the mind of the patient slowly builds fear over time. Hence, it is advised to rather than thinking about these things take baby steps and increase social interaction.

Medication: Your therapist might prescribe you a few medications in order to help you with your symptoms. The medication is only to help with the symptoms, it is never a solution.

How to overcome the Fear of Love?

If you have philophobia, you can support yourself using these tips:

  • Accept that it is a phobia, no matter how irrational it sounds or feels
  • Learn about phobias
  • Make yourself comfortable around people; think about their best features
  • Encourage yourself to see a therapist
  • Find someone in your life to support you with these

Looking for help as quickly as time permits is vital to defeating your phobia and contributes to carrying on with a full and cheerful life.

Tips to overcome Fear of love

In any relationship, the only person you can control is yourself. by being open to how we are resistant to achieving the love we say we want, we empower ourselves to change. Here are some of the action we can take to start breaking down the barrier inside yourself:

Look at your history: As we delve into the ways we defend against love, it's helpful to look at the past. We can start by looking at our current or recent relationship. If the relationship ended, where did it go wrong? What issues kept coming up?

As we identified the thoughts that filled our heads on these occasions, we can start to recognize themes and recurring behaviors and begin to identify patterns. Once we start to know our patterns, we can trace them back to their roots.

As we understand how our past informs our present, we can perform one of the most beneficial acts to improve our love lives. We can put our emotions and projections back where they belong.

Stop listening to your inner critic:Recognise that voice in your head which feeds you information like, He doesn't really love you. Don't be a fool. Think about how this inner voice guides you to avoid the feeling intimate or vulnerable. It is just manipulating you. Don't let her get to know the real you.

Throughout your life, this cruel and conniving thought process will try to lure you away from finding love. Identifying it will help you to stop seeing it as reality or your point of view.

It will allow you to separate and to act against its harmful directives. Powering through this anxiety and refuting your inner critic at every turn will allow you to uncover and become your truest self.

Challenge your defenses: It's easy to fall back to those old, comforting activities that keep us feeling sheltered and alone. It may have felt dangerous to open up to someone as a child or show our feelings in family, but these same defenses are no longer constructive to us in our current relationships.

Perhaps, pretending we didn't care helped guard us against the pain of feeling neglected or invisible, however, the same attitude will make it hard to accept love feeling today.

Feel your feelings: Love makes us feel. It deepens our capacity for joy, vitality and passion. However, it also makes us more susceptible to pain and loss. Falling in love can remind us of past hurts. Unfortunately, we can't selectively numb our feelings and we try to avoid pain, we subdue joy and love.

Caring deeply for another person makes us feel more deeply in general. when these emotions arise, we should be open to feel them. We may worry that strong feelings will overpower us but don't try to block them.

Be vulnerable and open: So many of us live in fear of being vulnerable. Being vulnerable is a mark of strength not weakness. It means ignoring the voices in your head and acting on how you really feel. When you do this, you learn that you can survive, even when you get hurt.

Staying yourself doesn't mean getting set in your ways or closing off to new experiences. Being vulnerable means just the opposite- a willingness to be open to new people and to breaking old patterns. Avoid making any hard and fast rules about relationships.

Additional Information on Philophobia

Although for a normal person it might seem irrational, there are a few who are unable to control it. People often confuse philophobia with the social anxiety disorder as the responses in both of them are similar.

A person with philophobia might have a social anxiety disorder but the reverse is not true. Philophobia is not the fear of people in a social setting or a social setting. It is a fear of being attached to those people emotionally.

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Written ByDrx Hina FirdousPhD (Pharmacology) Pursuing, M.Pharma (Pharmacology), B.Pharma - Certificate in Nutrition and Child CarePharmacology
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Reviewed ByDr. Bhupindera Jaswant SinghMD - Consultant PhysicianGeneral Physician
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