Allodoxaphobia (A complete guide)
Allodoxaphobia is an irrational fear of opinions.
It is derived from the Greek word ‘Allo’ meaning different, ‘doxo’ meaning opinion and ‘phobos’ means fear.
The person is afraid of the opinions of others and suffers from anxiety.
‘The greatest prison people live in is the fear of what other people think’ and this is what happens in Allodoxaphobia. Opinions matter.
But not every opinion should elicit a reaction.
The people who suffer from this form of anxiety take what others think about themselves very seriously.
Living in continuous fear of what others think can be taxing on the nerves and this leaves the person with low self-esteem.
These people extract themselves from the society and move into isolation.
They discontinue social activities to the extent of even ceasing to go to schools or their work places.
In extreme cases Allodoxaphobia can even lead to paranoia, that causes distressful conditions in the lives of these people and their families.
This kind of phobia can occur at any age and if left untreated can pose serious complications.
As they are afraid of the opinions of others, they themselves abstain from giving their own opinions, in fear of being rejected.
This way their thoughts, beliefs and values never see daylight.
Causes of Allodoxaphobia
The causes of Allodoxaphobia can be intrinsic as well as extrinsic.
The intrinsic factors include genetics and the responsibility of the DNA if an anxiety disorder or any other kind of phobia exists in the family.
The extrinsic factors are traumatic event that the person may have suffered from.
It often happens that parents or teachers reprimand children without realizing the damage they might be doing.
Only in the quest of putting them on the right path or making them do certain things, they forget that attitude matters.
These children have a higher probability of developing Allodoxaphobia, because of their poor self-esteem.
Even their confidence level has dwindled. Due to the never-ending disciplining at home the child can grow up to be afraid of what people think of him.
Fear of being judged by others can also overlap the causal effect of this phobia.
This inhibits their social stance because all people seem to be assessing their every move.
Allodoxaphobia can also develop in people already suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) because the anxious feeling or the dread that something might happen is not limited to one situation.
Similarly, if someone was humiliated in front of a crowd or a classroom, they have a high chance of developing this phobia.
That humiliation being seeded deep would have imposed a strong fear of being humiliated anywhere, therefore, avoidance starts.
Symptoms of Allodoxaphobia
The symptoms include the following conditions in the client.
- Fear of opinions of others
- Accelerated heart beat
- Anger at peoples’ opinions
- Poor self esteem
- Avoidance of situations where opinions are expressed
- Shortness of breath when opinions are expressed
People suffering from Allodoxaphobia do not engage with others in meaningful relations or conversations because they dread the views of others.
They start isolating themselves and can go to the extent of leaving their jobs too.
They often seem depressed and secluded keeping to themselves and their thoughts.
They too have negative opinions about others and thus the very same reason they dread the same from others.
But this dread is of an extreme, hindering their normal functioning and moving them away from life.
Treatment for Allodoxaphobia
- Exposure Therapy
This kind of therapy seems to work best in this phobia, where the client is exposed to the opinions of other people through gradually indulging in relaxation exercises.
For exposure to prove beneficial the therapist has to go through very carefully to slowly expose them to the feared stimulus.
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
The schemas are formed over time and consolidate through experiences. These schemas can be negative as well as positive.
Our behavior is determined and molded by such types of schemas.
For a behavior to improve the negative thoughts are to be substituted with the positive thoughts.
In Allodoxaphobia, the therapist engages the family of the client as well so that the opinions of the family are slowly and steadily rationalized.
The client is taught to list down the opinions of his immediate family and mark each as rational or irrational.
The irrational ones will be pointed out and the client will himself replace them with a rational more positive statement or opinion.
The family is encouraged to display patience as in the case of this type of phobia extra care has to be kept.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
The Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) works in conjunction with Cognitive Behavior Therapy.
DBT integrates a philosophical process called dialectics.
Dialectics is based on the concept that everything is made up of opposites and that change occurs when there is a “dialogue” or conversation between these opposing forces.
The DBT is of the view that all change is constant, everything is interconnected and opposites can be merged together to form the truth.
In this approach the therapist and the client work in synchrony to put together contradictions together to bring about a positive change.
Therapy is carried out on individual basis as well as in groups. Following strategies are used in DBT.
- Skills set
- Acceptance and Collaboration.
In this approach mindfulness also plays a pivotal role, where focus is on thoughts, feelings and sensations.
In Distress Tolerance the client is made to endure any stress that arises by using four techniques: distraction, self-soothing, improving the moment, and thinking of the positives and the negatives of not tolerating distress.
If the symptoms do not subside with psychotherapy then anti-anxiety medication can be initiated only after the opinion and consent of a psychiatrist.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Allodoxaphobia?
Allodoxaphobia is an irrational fear of being judged by the opinion of others.
It is a type of anxiety provoking disorder.
What is the prevalence of Allodoxaphobia?
There is no specific prevalence for Allodoxaphobia. It can occur at any age, either in children or adults.
Is allodoxaphobia a part of Specific Phobias?
Yes, Allodoxaphobia is a part of Specific phobias.
Which therapy works best for treating Allodoxaphobia?
An eclectic approach is best to treat any of the Anxiety disorders, including the fear of opinions.
What does phobia mean?
Phobia means fear.
It is derived from the Greek word ‘phobos’ which means irrational fear or an aversion to something.
Allodoxaphobia: allodoxaphobia is fear of opinions.
The person suffering from it lives in constant fear and anxiety of hearing people’s opinions about them.
It can isolate the person if the symptoms go untreated. Sana Ayaz, 10 May 2020
Titles to Read
- Phobias and How to Overcome Them: Understanding And Beating Your Fears Paperback – January 13, 2005 by James Gardner MD (Author), Arthur H. Bell PhD (Author)
- The Wordsworth Book of Intriguing WordsPaul Hellweg
- Anxiety, Phobias, and Panic: A Step by Step Program for Regaining Control of Your Life Kindle Edition by Reneau Z. Peurifo
- Phobia Relief: From Fear to Freedom (Building Your Best Series Book 1) by Kalliope Barlis Barlis