There are a multitude of phobias, associated with a myriad of stimuli. However, there are phobias that are less well known than others, such as arrhenphobia. This phobia consists of an intense and persistent fear of men.
Arrhenphobia mainly results from traumatic situations experienced with men. In this article, we will know what it is, its symptoms, its causes and the possible treatments to apply.
Arrhenphobia: what does it consist of?
As we said, arrhenphobia is a little known phobia; it is a phobia of men, and results in an intense, persistent and disproportionate fear male. Both men and women can suffer from it.
This fear, moreover, is irrational; irrationality is one of the characteristics that differentiates a phobia from a fear.
Arsonphobia can be classified in the section “other phobias” proposed by the DSM-5 (Diagnostic manual of mental disorders), because it does not correspond to any of the 4 other types of phobias proposed in the manual (animal phobia, phobia of the mental disorder). blood) . / injection / wounds, natural situations and situational phobias).
In this group of phobias (“other phobias”), along with arrhenphobia, other types of phobias appear, such as the intense fear of drowning, contracting an illness, etc.
Symptoms of arrhenphobia include the typical symptoms of a specific phobia, which are mainly:
1. For intense
appears intense fear of men, as well as situations that may involve meeting a man, Stay alone with him, have a conversation, etc. Instead of fear, it can also be anxiety (in high doses).
2. Physiological symptoms
Associated with the above anxiety, physiological symptoms may appear in rhenophobia, such as: increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, Hyperreactivity to stimuli, insomnia, nightmares, etc.
3. Panic attacks
In extreme cases of arrhenphobia, panic attacks can even appear in the presence of a man (or in the face of the possibility of seeing him, being alone with him, etc.).
These episodes are characterized by the above symptoms alongside one or more of the following symptoms: shortness of breath, shortness of breath, fear of ‘going crazy’, Fear of “losing control”, etc.
4. Avoidance or resistance
Another characteristic symptom of arrhenphobia is that men are avoided at all costs; the situations which can lead to knowing it, to interacting with it, are also avoided, Etc. It may also happen that instead of avoiding men, they are faced with situations of interaction with them, but with a lot of anxiety (ie the situation is “resisted”).
5. Pronounced discomfort
In addition to the intense fear and physiological symptoms, there is intense discomfort in the patient which affects their daily life. This discomfort is physical and psychological and can reduce the quality of life of the person with arrhenphobia.
6. Modified operation
The above symptoms end up interfering with the general functioning of the person. This includes all (or some) of their fields: work, social, personal, etc. This symptom is very characteristic of mental disorders in general, And not just anxiety disorders or, as in this case, phobias.
The causes of arrhenphobia are mainly related to traumatic experiences with men. If this traumatic experience has not been treated psychologically (that is, if it has not been dealt with and taken on board), the problems it triggers can be exacerbated.
The origin of arrhenphobia too it is linked to a certain genetic vulnerability to suffering from an anxiety disorder, As well as with a fragile, precarious and / or dependent temperament or personality.
Returning to the traumatic situation experienced, this may be linked to abuse by a man (whether physical, sexual, verbal …), in a situation of sexual abuse and even rape.
If you haven’t experienced first-person experience, you may also have seen people close (eg watching father beat mother, for vicarious conditioning) or you may even have heard stories of suffering from others. people and with negative consequences. Men.
It seems logical that the fact of having lived such a traumatic situation, ends up causing a phobia (or other mental disorder), like the person, consciously or unconsciously, no longer wants to suffer, And therefore is “protected” by avoiding the stimulus or object in question (in this case, men).
However, phobias come from responses that claim to be adaptive but end up being dysfunctional and pathological because avoiding something takes us away from life situations and prevents us from developing appropriate coping mechanisms.
Outraged, we enter a vicious circleBecause if we don’t face what we fear, we can’t understand or handle it, and the discomfort remains here, perpetuated over time.
The psychological treatment of arrhenphobia will aim to cope with the phobic stimulus, in this case men. Without proper adaptation, the stimulus will not be able to be processed properly (nurture avoidant behaviors) and this will only perpetuate and chronic arhenphobia.
like that, treatments commonly used for arrhenphobia, As in many other specific phobias, are:
1. Exposure techniques
Exposure therapy involves the patient being exposed to the object they fear so much. This is done using a hierarchy of progressive elements.; in this case, the item scale can include situations of interaction with increasingly close men. This type of therapy is most effective in treating specific phobias, where the phobic object is well defined.
2. Cognitive techniques
Cognitive therapy primarily includes cognitive restructuring. It aims to inform the patient of his phobia, to understand why it appeared, why it persists, and learn to identify the catastrophic thoughts you have about men. In addition, we will try to replace these thoughts with other more realistic and functional thoughts.
The decision on the type of treatment should always be made taking into account the degree of intensity of arrhenphobia and the characteristics of each person.
- American Psychiatric Association -APA- (2014). DSM-5. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Madrid: Panamericana.
- Belloch, A .; Sandín, B. and Ramos, F. (2010). Manual of psychopathology. Volumes I and II. Madrid: McGraw-Hill.
- Horse (2002). Manual for the cognitive-behavioral treatment of psychological disorders. Flight. 1 and 2. Madrid. 21st century.