What is Philophobia? (A Summary)
In this blog we will summarize the causes, symptoms and treatment of Philophobia.
Philophobia is an irrational fear of falling in love or being in love.
Philophobia is the fear of becoming emotionally connected or attached with another person.
The traits of Philophobia are the same as of other specific phobias.
The name Philophobia is derived from the Greek word ‘philia’ meaning love and ‘phobia’ meaning fear.
Philophobia is associated with many factors. Primarily hereditary and environmental as well.
It is an aversion to feelings of attachment towards a person of the opposite sex. The most famous case of Philiphobia in history is Queen Elizabeth I.
She was the daughter of King Henry VIII and one of his wife, Anne Boleyn.
Queen Elizabeth saw her mother, Anne Boleyn being executed by King Henry VIII. This developed an intense aversion to matrimony.
Philophobia is an intense fear of love and being loved.
If it remains untreated, it can pose a lifelong condition that isolates the person from the very warm feelings of love and care.
If the person even thinks of love or the emotions attached to it, the person may suffer from a full-blown panic attack.
Love is an emotion. A very positive emotion, that enables people to bond, interact, respect and be protective of one another.
Every person deserves to be loved, therefore Philophobia should be treated so that people may enjoy the beautiful emotion of love; loving someone and being loved in return.
Symptoms of Philophobia
Different people display the symptoms of the same phobia differently; with varying degrees of severity.
There are two types of symptoms; Physical symptoms and Psychological symptoms.
The Physical Symptoms include those that involve changes in the bodily sensations and are physically felt by the sufferer. Examples are:-
- rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- hot flashes or chills when the thought of falling in love crosses their mind
- ringing in ears
- Sweating and trembling at the thought of love
- dry mouth
- raised blood pressure when seeing couples in love
- feeling faint
The Psychological Symptoms include those that impinge on the mind and are visible through a person’s behavior. Examples are:-
- feelings of dread at the thought of love
- Feels suffocated in a relationship
- Not trusting people easily
- fear of losing control
- Keeping an unhealthy relationship alive
- Holding onto the past
- Sex without love or emotios
- Feelings of hopelessness
- fear of illness
- feeling of helplessness
- mood swings
- Feelings of shame
- Lack of concentration
- Feeling a disconnect
Causes of Philophobia
Philophobia may be caused due to the following factors:-
- Genetic Predisposition
Every person has a genetic tendency to contract a disease or go through a mental illness.
This predisposition is embedded in our DNA and is handed down to us over the generations.
If the person’s ancestors suffered from anxiety disorders, phobias, mental illness or even Philophobia, then chances are higher for him/her to suffer from the same or from either of these.
Phobias are familial and most often than not run in families. Their intensity may vary from person to person, from one relative to the other.
- Biological Cause
Hormones play an important role in causing anxiety disorders, specifically phobias as well.
Thyroid Stimulating Hormones (TSH) is directly related to the etiology of anxiety related problems that occur.
Symptoms that indicate a Thyroid malfunctioning are:
- Changes in menstrual cycle
- Nervous demeanor
- Losing or gaining weight
Low levels of Testosterone (male hormone) can also lead to anxiety.
Serotonin, is also called a happy chemical and depletion of this hormone can also cause anxieties of varying levels.
Dopamine, the ‘feel good’ chemical or neurotransmitter is involved in happiness and a state of elatedness.
When the levels of Dopamine drop anxiety and a feeling of dread become a common forte.
Adrenaline rush is another biological factor that emanates the ‘flight or the fight’ response.
This response is triggered when the brain suffers from a threat.
This threat may be caused by a stimulus that causes anxiety. This stimulus is the very stimulus that initiates a phobia fear.
- Behavioral Cause
Children learn behaviors and attitudes from people around them.
These people may be their parents, siblings, extended family members like uncles or aunts, grandparents or any significant others they are attached to.
- Traumatic Experience
The most common explanation is a childhood or earlier life traumatic episode where a child or a person may have seen a broken marriage of his parents.
The love of his parents ending in a divorce or even if not a divorce, then witnessing the bickering and the squabbles, would have been enough to put him off love forever.
A person who had been jilted in love can also develop Philophobia, vowing never to fall in love again.
He/She would not want to experience the pain that followed even after such intense and warm emotions of love.
This leaves the Philophobe developing aversion to positive emotions of love.
To avoid the agony and the anxiety, the person starts avoiding love or falling in love.
To the person suffering from Philophobia, love seems a trap because of the commitment.
Commitment of feelings, of spending time and giving attention may seem terrifying to him/her.
People fear rejection as well.
This again can lead them to go through Philophobia.
Instead of tackling if and when rejection is faced, these people avoid love or falling in love in the first place.
They have a low self-esteem and think that they are not worthy of being loved by anyone.
They might even have a body dysmorphic disorder that instigates and thus consolidates Philophobia.
When in love people may also be afraid of losing control.
This loss of control over their feelings and over situations is something that seems threatening to them.
Therefore, to continue to be a master of their life, they prefer being single.
Treatments of Philophobia
Creating internal harmony is the purpose of all therapies of Philophobia.
Philophobia 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.
- Systematic Desensitization
This is one of the most common therapies used in treating phobias and an effective way to desensitize the person suffering from phobia.
In this therapy the client with phobia is exposed to the stimulus gradually with varying degrees of severity, varying durations of time.
The degree of severity is hierarchical, ranging from low to high. Every time the ‘exposure’ of the feared stimulus is increased.
In Philophobia the client is exposed to images first. For the fear to be invoked during therapy, the patient must be exposed to an intense stimulus (one that is feared).
The aim of Systematic Desensitization is to remove the ‘feared stimulus’ and substitute it with a ‘relaxation response.’
Initially a relaxation technique that involves deep breathing is taught to the client.
Then the client is asked to present a list that has a hierarchical presentation of his fears, starting from the least fear evoking situation to the most.
The therapist takes the client through these situations via two methods:
a) In vitro – where the feared stimulus is made to imagine
b) In vivo – where the client visits the the feared place in reality
The exposure to the phobic stimulus is of varying durations, where the client exercises relaxation techniques and can revert to a previous non-threatening situation any time.
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
When phobias start to prevent the daily activities of the person, therapy becomes inevitable.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy is one such approach that shows the relation between thoughts, beliefs, feelings and behaviors.
It alters the way of identifying and substituting destructive thoughts and emotions that have a negative impact on behavior.
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. It helps the person change the way he thinks.
The therapist helps the client to discover the reason for this thought and behavior that follows.
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.
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.
REBT is the dictum that it is our beliefs that makes us experience emotions like anger, depression, anxiety and not the events happening in our lives.
Changing irrational beliefs positively impacts on reducing emotional pain.
REBT’s ABC Theory: The Diagnostic Step
Based on Ellis’ theory, the ABC Model was proposed:
A – Activating Event: an event that takes place in the environment
B – Beliefs: the belief one has about the event that happened
C – Consequence: the emotional response to the belief
Not the event but beliefs cause emotional pain.
c) 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!
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.
The client will meditate during the thoughts of death and concentrate on his breathing patterns in the presence of the feared stimulus.
e) Group Therapy
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.
f) 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.
- Meeting new people
Going out with friends and being introduced to new people can also
- 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.
g) Psychiatric Medication
There are a number of medicines that the Psychiatrist can prescribe if the symptoms of Philophobia 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 Philophobia 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.
You can reach out to us anytime and satisfy your queries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is true love a myth?
No. True love is not a myth. It is very much real.
It basically depends on what is expected out of true love. Love is the embodiment of warmth, care, respect and commitment.
Who is Cupid?
In Greek mythology, Cupid is the god of love. Cupid shoots its arrows at people and they get love struck.
What is Erotophobia?
Erotophobia is a fear of sex.
It is a specific phobia and people suffering from it have a fear of having sex or indulging in any related activity.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts, body movements, sensations and the environment, in a subtle yet focused way.
Can I get Philophobia treated?
Yes. Philophobia can easily be treated through psychotherapies and mindfulness.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy(CBT) is a therapy where irrational thoughts are replaced by rational thoughts.
Below is a complete list of all Phobias which we currently cover.
Titles to Read
- Philophobia: The Fear Of Being In Love and Falling In Love. by Finch Moore
- Master your Anxiety in the Relationship: How to Recognize and Overcome your Fear of Falling in Love Life Strategies and Self-Help Techniques by Norah Young
- Philophobia by D Tang, K Diep, et al.
- Hold Me Tight: Your Guide to the Most Successful Approach to Building Loving Relationships by Sue Johnson
- What Makes a Marriage Last: 40 Celebrated Couples Share with Us the Secrets to a Happy Life by Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue