Natalie: I’m afraid of being alone. Who can I turn to for help?

Natalie says she suffers from autophobia (also called monophobia). This is an intense and often irrational fear of being alone. “Do many people suffer from this?” Natalie wants to know. “I have autophobia, but I can’t find private help anywhere. Where can I get help?”

Health care psychologist Bjarni Timonen is curious to know if anyone has diagnosed Natalie. “Autophobia or dream phobia is not an official diagnosis. It is not included in the big diagnostic book of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). It officially falls under the heading ‘specific phobia.'”

Moreover, this fear has many gradations, which means that, according to Timonen, no specific treatment can be indicated. The question then is how much Natalie suffers from the fear of being alone and how this manifests. “For example, if she can’t be alone and is constantly looking for distractions – it’s more like FOMO.”And the fear of missing out – Corpses. Or is it a deep, irrational fear that also rears its head when you are safe at home, with all the doors locked? “

So Timonen advises Nathalie to investigate – with the help of a professional – whether the fear of being alone is the tip of the iceberg and what that iceberg looks like. “This is done by asking your autobiography. For example, if something happened in the past that triggered this fear. This way we try to find out if there is a phobia or trauma.”

The most appropriate treatment

According to the psychiatrist, autophobia can also be a feature of a personality disorder. Depending on the correct diagnosis, the most appropriate treatment is then chosen. If it’s trauma, Natalie can consider EMDR. If it is a phobia, exposure therapy is recommended. If the fear is part of the personality disorder, Natalie can benefit from planned therapy, or a form of cognitive behavioral therapy.

See also  More than 30 new men in health thanks to recruitment projects

Do many people suffer from this? According to Timonin, yes, but certainly not everything to a very high degree. Timonen: “I see the fear of being alone in my clinic and with my friends.” It makes sense, says Timonen, people are no longer taught to be alone. “Being really lonely, so we can’t do anything with our thoughts on our own anymore. And then people immediately look for distraction on their phones and their social media. That’s really it.” Zeitgeist. “

Reduce the use of social media

It’s an ironic development, says Timonen. “On the one hand, hardly anyone can be alone anymore, but once we are together with everyone else, everyone looks at their phones. My advice? As soon as possible with social media, they are hugely addictive and really anxiety-provoking.”

Category: friend request

in this weekly column Friend request We send reader questions about health to one of our experts. Do you also have a burning health question to ask your general practitioner, obstetrician, dietitian, psychologist, or other health expert? Then mail it to [email protected] and who knows, you might see the answer appear here soon.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *