It’s rare if you haven’t heard of hyphaphobia in the past months. This phobia is caused by the fear of being touched and for this reason it is being linked to the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Experts and governments have repeatedly advised us to sanitize our hands and maintain social distance and people are trying to avoid infection by following these instructions. But is the fear of catching COVID-19 increasing the number of people who suffer from hepaphobia? Let’s see.
symptoms and causes
Hapaphobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by a fear of being touched or touched. It is an uncommon phobia that occurs more in women than in men. Some people do not like physical affection or may feel uncomfortable when an unknown person invades their personal space, but this is not a phobia. However, people who have hyphophobia feel an irrational fear just by touching or thinking about being touched. This has a negative impact on their lives and affects their relationships.
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What do they feel when touched? There are some cognitive symptoms such as irrational thoughts about that stimulus, difficulty in concentration, or disproportionate fear. Physically, they may suffer from tachycardia, hyperventilation, sweating, dizziness, fainting, anxiety and panic attacks. Obviously, this prompts them to avoid the kind of situation that interferes with a person’s ability to function in day-to-day activities.
Hyphaephobia can be caused by a traumatic experience, but people with hohaphobia cannot remember the event that triggered the phobia. It may also run in the family or be related to other conditions such as a fear of germs, congestion, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Like every phobia, the best way to deal with it is through psychological treatment. It is not about taking medication to stop the fear, but working to gradually overcome the fear by processing and exposing the situation that is causing the phobia. In addition, some good advice for reducing anxiety and promoting overall mental health is to exercise, take time to rest, and get enough sleep.
COVID-19 and mental health
The entire environment created by the lockdown and the pandemic can contribute to developing phobias and mental disorders as is a painful condition for so many people. We have had to change our daily lives and our movements have been restricted to prevent the spread of the virus. Nowadays people are facing work from home, temporary unemployment, lack of physical contact with other family members or friends, fear of unknown etc.
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In all this context, stress, anxiety, and fear are normal reactions. However, if these feelings are sustained over time and you have a background of psychological, biological or social vulnerability, it can turn into mental disorders. That is why it is important that we take care of our mental health and be active not only physically.
If that fear, in the case of being touched, isn’t controlling your life, it’s not hyphaphobia, it’s just a normal reaction to what’s happening in the world right now. So why is everyone talking about a new phobia caused by the coronavirus? Some social media and the press are concerned with the coronavirus and hepaphobia as people avoiding physical contact. But, taking into account what we’re facing and what the recommendations are, it’s completely normal to see what we touch or have contact with.
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It has nothing to do with a disorder, it is just what we are being told to do and does not necessarily become a phobia. Also, experts say there is no evidence linking the coronavirus to the increase in people with hepaphobia. Still, if you’re experiencing an irrational fear of being touched or even thinking about it and thus affecting your personal or work life, it’s a good idea to see a doctor.