Fear of Being Alone

The whole thought of being left alone at night totally creeps me up. I hear sounds and see images, that, quite honestly, makes me run for cover, and the light switch too! Quite a joke my fear of being left alone is, quite a few laughs it evokes, and despite being told that most of my fears of being left alone at night, in the dark, or just left alone are baseless, I wonder where and why they stem. However, the fear of being alone is not only about being in the dark or being alone at night, it goes deeper. Where it is situational, the fear too tends to reside with time, but when it transcends certain conditions, situations or habits, it becomes a psychological disorder. The fear then turns into a phobia that can cause one and one’s family many sleepless nights and difficult days.

Isolophobia or the Fear of Being Alone

Medically, this fear is known as Isolophobia, and is mostly treated as a psychological disorder. This fear may not always be a result of some childhood trauma, one could acquire it as one gets older. According to research, an individual’s lack of confidence is generally what sets this fear, the constant need to derive moral support and be in the company of others, aggravates the situation. Some cases are so extreme that an individual refuses to use the washroom alone.

Clinical research shows that in most cases, this fear stems from the fear of abandonment, fear of being ridiculed, or a complete lack of self-confidence. Fear of being left alone is predominantly also seen in individuals who have been traumatized or abused at some time in their life. For these people, going out alone becomes an ordeal they do not want to face. So the need for company, even in public spaces which are relatively crowded is constantly felt. They seek a companion for all outings, and eventually it becomes essential for their very being. Individuals who suffer from isolophobia also need company when they are at home, for them the very fact of being alone triggers anxiety, panic and leads to depressive mood swings. The more this fear makes home, the more these individuals avoid social scenes. Their personal life takes a setback, holding onto a job seems almost impossible, and the social scene is always bleak. Psychologists believe that this reduced self-confidence has an adverse fallout, a belief that activities can be carried out alone.

Separation anxiety also adds to the fear of being isolated and/or unwanted. Pediatricians who treat children for this disorder, have indicated that the need to have a parent or a guardian at all times, stems from the fear of being rebuked or not ‘meeting a mark, as other kids do’ syndrome. As these children grow into adults, they still cling on to their need for close companionship, and this fear ends up controlling all their personal and social relationships. Being alone in the darkness of the night is what some people are afraid of, however, it is a situational problem that requires specific treatment.

How to Overcome Isolophobia

This fear takes over your life, and therefore it requires immediate attention. In most cases, the person who has this problem may not even realize that not being alone at anytime is a problem, it generally is the family and friends that need to ascertain the fear, before seeking help. Treatment for adults and children differ, studies indicate it is far more easy to treat children than adults, as the former has an impressionable mind, and can easily be adaptive to changes. Adults being adults, find it difficult to change their belief’s. Cognitive therapy along with other therapies are brought into play to treat the fear of being alone.

Isolophobia can have a very negative impact on an individual, and a tiring one for the family. However, in most cases this problem can easily be treated with therapy, and patience.