In this blog we will discuss the causes, symptoms and treatments of Parenthophobia.
Prenthophobia is an irrational fear of virgins or afraid to be around young girls.
This keeps the person away from girls and he suffers from problems socially, academically and occupationally as well.
There is a co education system in schools, colleges and universities and even the workplace is unsegregated gender wise.
People who suffer from Parenthophobia will suffer a full blown panic attack in the presence of young girls who are also virgins.
This makes the socially awkward and they might act in a strange way around them.
In every culture and society it is expected of a man to find a partner and start a life, but Parenthophobia will impose problems in the person suffering from it to be able to find a partner.
Success in many cultures is getting married and raising a family. This again imposes the person him to suffer as he will be unable to approach a girl.
Parenthophobia is not just a casual aversion to young girls or virgins; it is a running away from something much deeper, a fear that is rooted in. it can also lead to obsessing about not meeting any girls.
This is one of the rare phobias but still varies in severity. It can suddenly be developed or can take some time for symptoms to be severe.
Like most of the phobias, it is an irrational fear, but still it poses a threat to the sufferer’s psyche.
The daily activities of the sufferer are limited and in some cases the anxiety may also lead to depression.
Symptoms of Parenthophobia
To avoid the experience of anxiety itself the individual may develop Parenthophobia, so as to avoid the very cause of the uncomfortable condition.
These are intense and can begin without any prior warning.
The person suffering from Parenthophobia experiences the full physical intensity of either all of these or some of these in combination with others.
- hot flashes or chills
- shortness of breath a choking sensation
- rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- feeling faint
- dry mouth
- ringing in ears
- raised blood pressure
The Psychological Symptoms
During panic attack the person suffering from Parenthophobia may experience the following
- fear of fainting
- feelings of dread
- fear of dying
- fear of losing control
- fear of harm
- fear of illness
- feeling Of hopelessness
- feeling of disconnect
- lack of concentration
- mood swings
Causes of Parenthophobia
As with most phobias and anxieties, there is no clear consensus about what causes Parenthophobia, but still a very plausible cause could be a fear of being around virgins and feeling of incompetence.
The most common explanation is a childhood traumatic episode where a child may have been bullied by young girls who can easily gang up together to ridicule young boys or girls.
Person suffering from Parenthophobia may suffer from low esteem and abandonment issues in childhood.
Therefore, to compensate for these the fear thus develops.
People may also be afraid of losing control because this is something that is not in their hands and not controlled by them, no matter how powerful a person is.
Thus, at the time he is suffering from the symptoms of Parenthophobia, he/she feels totally helpless, aggravating their already hiked anxiety.
There are plenty of people with Parenthophobia who cannot even recall the traumatic incident that would have developed this fear.
Scientists believe that a combination of genetic tendencies, brain chemistry, and other biological and environmental factors could cause such fears to develop.
As is common in specific phobias, the cause Anuptaphobia may lie deep in the person’s childhood or its onset may be due to an environmental factor.
Genetics also plays a pivotal role in the cause of developing Parenthophobia.
Other causes can be as follow:
• Learned behavior
• Traumatic experiences
Etiological Models of Parenthophobia
1. Biological (Genetic) Model
Genetics also determines how a person reacts and feels. Therefore, people inherit fears and phobias as well from their families.
The brain cells (neurons) release certain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Serotonin and Dopamine are two neurotransmitters that in depleted states can cause anxiety like symptoms.
2. Psychodiagnostics Model
If a person has suffered from a traumatic experience in early childhood it can have a severe dire impact on his later life.
A childhood traumatic experience could be where children experienced a negative impact of events due to a change in their life. This may leave a long lasting impression.
3. Behavioral Model
According to this model, irrational fears may be caused through behaviors that are learned by replication.
Children often replicate unique behaviors of their adults, parents or a favorite aunt or uncle.
If a family member is already suffering from anxiety or is scared of one or another thing, then chances are higher that only by observing this, the child may develop fears.
Treatments of Parenthophobia
Parenthophobia can be treated through different treatments.
These include Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Exposure Therapy, Neuro Linguistic Program (NLP), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction MBSR) and forms of meditation.
1) Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
In CBT the therapist helps the client to amend his thoughts so that a desirable behavior can be achieved.
This therapy is effective, because if the thoughts or cognitions alter then there will be a lasting impact on behavior.
The therapist helps the client to discover the reason for this thought, his behavior in regards to changes in life.
This therapy is goal oriented and short termed.
Therefore, the results are seen soon. It changes the way a person thinks and feels. CBT does not focus on probing the past to resolve current problems, rather it concentrates on the present situation.
Our thoughts determine how we act or react to certain stimuli and situations. Therefore, negative thoughts bring about a negative behavior response or an undesirable behavior.
Whereas, positive thoughts propagate desirable and healthy attitude and response.
For the treatment of Parenthophobia, the therapist separates the problem into parts.
These may include: thoughts, feelings and actions.
- What thought is invoked at the thought of young girls?
- How do you feel when you see young girls?
- What do you do when you think of young girls?
Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a form of CBT and designed by Albert Ellis. According to Ellis, “people are not disturbed by things but rather by their view of things.”
This is what subjective perspective is.
2 Exposure Therapy
It is one of the most frequently used ways of treating patients with Parenthophobia.
In this therapy, the patient is exposed to the source of his fear over a certain span of time.
To begin with the therapy, the therapist exposes the patient to the least triggering stimuli.
As the therapy progresses and the patient is able to control his anxious feelings, imagery can be used to take the treatment a step further.
In this part of the treatment the patient is asked to visualize/imagine a situation that makes him anxious.
During this process of imagery, one actually feels being in that particular situation or place, experiencing various senses.
Once the person successfully, without feeling anxious clears this step of the therapy, he is then exposed to real life situations.
While the patient is being exposed to different intensities of stimuli during the various stages of therapy, the therapist simultaneously teaches them coping exercises.
These include, breathing techniques or muscle relaxation methods to lower their anxiety, when in an actual fear/anxiety causing situation.
This teaches them how to remain calm when exposed to the fear stimuli.
Before actually starting the exposure therapy, the therapist needs to figure out the intensity of the patient’s fear, as to deduce whether they will be able to undergo this treatment, without any physical or psychological harm caused to them during the exposure processes.
3) Neuro Linguistic Program (NLP)
In this therapy the client is asked to
- Access the phobia in a safe environment.
- Help them to replay the phobia along with happy emotions.
- Disassociate from the phobia.
4) Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
MBSR involves being aware of one’s own thoughts, feelings and reducing the interference from around the environment.
We do not pay attention to how we process the various stimuli that affect us.
We do not process the way our bodies feel and respond, there is no focus on our thoughts and how these thoughts are influencing our emotions.
In MBSR, the client is ‘woken up’ to actually experience the various senses. ‘Focus’ is the keyword!
In Parenthophobia treatment, the client is made conscious to pay attention to his thoughts when he is thinking of what he is afraid of.
Awareness helps to alleviate the stress symptoms.
For meditation to be effective during treatment, the mind is cleared off all the clutter of random thoughts.
The mind and body are made to be ‘in sync’ with each other, so that the feared stimulus does not invoke a negative thought.
6) Self-Help Groups
Self Help groups are an effective type of therapy, in which the client does not find himself as a lone sufferer.
These groups are individuals who are afflicted with the same types of phobias. They come together to share their thoughts, experiences and their coping strategies.
This also helps in developing a ‘sense of I am not the only one’ suffering.
7) Changing Lifestyle
Breaking down the dullness of the daily, helps break down anxiety as well.
• Take up jogging or go for daily walks:
Developing a walk routine can damper the way our negative thoughts control our behavior.
• Indulging in an exercise regime:
Vigorous exercise like aerobics has proved to reduce or alleviate the symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Exercise helps the mind to cope with stress and stressful situations better. This is what the American Psychological Association has to say about inducting exercise to eliminate stress or phobias.
• Altering eating and drinking habits:
Cutting down on fatty foods and caffeine can improve self-image, that in turn leads to a raised self-esteem.
This finally diminishes the symptoms of stress to a bare minimum. With high intake of caffeine, the body resembles a ‘fight or flight’ response, thus giving way to anxiety.
When we get proper rest, our concentration improves.
8) Psychiatric Medication
There are a number of medicines that the Psychiatrist can prescribe if the symptoms of Parenthophobia are severe.
Anxiolytics (anti-anxiety drugs)
These should only be taken after the consultation with the doctor and shouldn’t be initiated or discontinued as per personal discretion.
These medicines are not only used to treat depression, but also to alleviate the symptoms of Parenthophobia as well as other phobias.
Medicines alone might not be as effective, but if used in conjunction with therapies then the results will be better.
9) Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
This kind of therapy is used to regulate the emotions. A technique called “half-smiling” is used where the client is asked to lift the corners of his mouth when the feared thought comes to his mind.
Apart from this the mind is to be trained to refrain from thinking about the painful stimulus.
Coping Ahead is another technique in DBT that requires the client to sit quietly and think of the feared situation and strategize what he will do.
We are always here to answer if you have any queries.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
What we recommend for Phobias
- If you are suffering from Phobias then ongoing professional counselling could be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you address the fears you are facing.
Weighted Blankets may help you sleep better if your phobias are affecting your quality of sleep. Weighted blankets apply enough weight on you that they make you feel much more relaxed and calm at night.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a phobia of being scared of girls?
Yes. The phobia of being afraid of young girls is called Parenthophobia. It is also related to the fear of virgins.
How common is Parenthophobia?
Parenthophobia is not a very common phobia, but still exists in young boys and young girls too.
Is it safe for boys to study with girls?
Yes it is safe for boys and girls to study together as it teaches them to develop gender tolerance.
Is it ok to be single forever?
There are many people who are single and happy.
You should be happy with whatever you do and love yourself first to be able to love others.
Below is a complete list of all Phobias which we currently cover.
Titles to Read
- The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne PhD | May 1, 2020
- Anxiety, Phobias, and Panic by Reneau Peurifoy | Feb 1, 2005
- Dying of Embarrassment: Help for Social Anxiety and Phobia by Barbara G. Markway, C. Alec Pollard, et al. | Oct 1, 1992
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple: 10 Strategies for Managing Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Panic, and Worry by Seth J. Gillihan Ph.D | May 22, 2018
- The CBT Deck: 101 Practices to Improve Thoughts, Be in the Moment & Take Action in Your Life by Seth Gillihan | Jun 11, 2019