What is Soteriophobia?

Soteriophobia is the irrational and persistent fear of being dependent on others. While most parents hope to see their children become independent, some children may become so independent that they literally come to fear the need to ask for help even while still in childhood or school.

This fear may manifest in adults and in the elderly, who may fear infirmity in old age. (Soteriophobia may therefore be an expression of fear of death as well, etc.)

Underlying anxieties generally revolve around a fear of being judged or embarrassed, leading to a reluctance to receive help for fear of judgment, embarrassment, etc. In their drive to avoid these difficulties, the sufferer may attempt the most difficult tasks alone.

Soteriophobia is considered a social phobia.

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Symptoms of Soteriophobia

  • Extreme Anxiety, Dread

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dry Mouth
  • Confusion / Inability to Articulate Clearly
  • Lack of Focus
  • Irritability
  • Shaking
  • Feelings of Powerlessness
  • Obsession with the Subject of the Phobia
  • Fear or Feelings of Losing Control
  • Avoidance Behavior
  • Headaches

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Causes of Soteriophobia

Soteriophobia 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.

Soteriophobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.

Perhaps the greatest fear associated with Soteriophobia is the fear of failure (Atychiphobia or Kakorrhaphiophobia), and when added to social anxieties regarding embarrassment or judgment, may lead to the formation of a group of associated fears including Soteroiphobia.

Learn more about the causes of phobias ›

Treatments for Soteriophobia

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

  • Habit Strategies To Relax
  • Cognitive Therapy (CT)
  • In Vivo Exposure
  • Response Prevention
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Energy Psychology
  • Medication
  • Meditation

Learn more about phobia treatments ›

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