What is Haphephobia?
Haphephobia is the extreme or irrational fear of touching or being touched. It is also known by several names including Aphenphosmphobia, Aphephobia, and Thixophobia. It is also alternatively spelled Haphophobia, Hapnophobia, Haptephobia, or Haptophobia. Additionally, it is directly related to Chirophobia (Chiraptophobia), a fear of hands. People with this phobia may despise any sort of physical contact and will naturally also be susceptible to fears of sex and intimacy of any sort.
The root 'haphḗ' is Greek meaning 'touch' and the word 'phobia' comes from the Greek word ‘phóbos’ meaning 'fear.'
Symptoms of Haphephobia
Extreme Anxiety, Dread
- Shortness of Breath
- Rapid Breathing
- Heart Palpitations
- Excessive Sweating
- Dry Mouth
- Confusion / Inability to Articulate Clearly
- Lack of Focus
- Feelings of Powerlessness
- Obsession with the Subject of the Phobia
- Fear or Feelings of Losing Control
- Avoidance Behavior
Causes of Haphephobia
Haphephobia is a social anxiety disorder. Social phobias result in avoidance of social situations due to fear of being embarrassed in public and affect men and women equally. Extreme social anxieties often start in childhood or adolescence and may be accompanied by other anxiety disorders or depression.
The origins of social anxiety disorders are not as well-understood as specific (or “isolated”) phobias, where a direct fear of injury from some specific animal, thing, or situation forms a clear basis for the fear. Even so, hereditary factors may be present, such as a genetic tendency to be “high strung”, nervous, etc.
In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation, seeing something in the news, on TV, or in the movies.
Haphephobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.
Treatments for Haphephobia
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
- Habit Strategies To Relax
- Cognitive Therapy (CT)
- In Vivo Exposure
- Response Prevention
- Group Therapy
- Energy Psychology