Atazagoraphobia is the excessive fear of forgetting, which includes both the fear of forgetting and fear of being forgotten or replaced by others. Although this is a common sentiment, atazagoraphobia has been poorly described in scientific parlance. In fact, this has been emphasized more by philosophers and writers who speak of atazagoraphobia as the fear of eternal anonymity.
In this article we will see what atazagoraphobia is and what are its main characteristics.
Atazagoraphobia: fear of forgetting
The act of remembering is a central function for human beings. Among other things, it allows us to maintain a sense of integrity. It also serves as an identification tool that allows us to meet the demands of the present and the future.
The act against, that of forgetting, Is a process that occurs at the same time as memory consolidation. Neuroscience tells us that, from an adaptive perspective, forgetting allows us to debug unnecessary or irrelevant information, or it allows us to block traumatic experiences and thus avoid some discomfort.
At the root of atazagoraphobia is the recognition that, as it would be inappropriate to remember absolutely everything; it is also not functional to forget everything. We can quickly guess that the latter would result in a significant loss of our own “self”. We can also suspect that forgetting the most everyday things would seriously affect our bonds with others. Both for changing our perception of the world and of ourselves, as well as those closest to us.
The above hunches may or may not cause fear. We can bring them up and remember them as useful information without necessarily generating a physiological response or obsessive thoughts about the consequences of forgetting and forgetting.
To be afraid or not our perception of the negative consequences of forgetting it may have been generated by the fact of having lived with a person whose state of health makes it difficult to preserve memory or even prevents them from evoking memories of the past and of everyday life.
However, an excessive fear of forgetting can also be a consequence of how the media have very often described its consequences and associated medical conditions (Staniloiu & Markowitsch, 2012). Rather than research that suggests atazagoraphobia as a clinical fear of forgetting, this phobia has been rather widespread and sometimes fueled by the media.
Symptoms: do you have clinical manifestations?
Any phobia can cause an experience of anxiety and the organic activation that goes with it. In other words, that is to say hyperventilation or hypsarrhythmia, dyspnea, excessive sweating, nausea, tremors, Among other events. However, atazagoraphobia is not a mental disorder recognized by any specialized association.
It is a phobia (a fear that is not rationally justified), which has been described in colloquial, informal language to refer to significant discomforts associated with forgetting; but which are not necessarily clinically significant. In other words, they do not affect the activities or responsibilities deemed appropriate for the person in his cultural environment.
For the same reason, we cannot speak formally of a series of clinical criteria which lead us to a diagnosis of atazagoraphobia. What we can do is analyze in which situations and contexts a fear of forgetting experience can most likely be generated and why.
Under what circumstances can this happen?
Returning to the subject of medical conditions associated with memory loss, it can be considered that atazagoraphobia this can happen in two main circumstances (Although it can also happen in others): People who have been diagnosed and the people who care for them.
1. When diagnosed with a health problem associated with memory loss
On the one hand, atazagoraphobia can manifest itself in people who have an early diagnosis of dementia or other medical conditions. It would be normal for them to be afraid of forgetting their own identity, others or also in everyday things. however, the diagnosis itself does not generate irrational fear.
The latter can be caused by multiple factors, including the emotional and psychological resources of the person being diagnosed; the support network it has; and also the quality of the information given by the doctor, as well as his attitude.
That is, if the diagnosis is accompanied by a detailed and truthful explanation of the medical condition and its possible consequences, there is likely no experience of irrational fear of forgetting. the same whether the doctor’s attitude is empathetic and patient in front of the person you are dealing with.
2. During the care of the person who received the diagnosis
On the other hand, atazagoraphobia can occur in caregivers of people who have been diagnosed with dementia or other related medical condition. The latter can be linked to the belief that the person they are caring for will eventually forget them, Which can affect both the identification mechanisms of those who take care of them, as well as daily household chores.
Related to the latter, it can also happen that the caregiver generates the belief that they themselves will be forgotten after the memory loss of the person diagnosed. It can be work and accompanied by professionals and for the security provided by the support network itself.
- Kangyj (2015). Athazagoraphobia: phobia of being forgotten or ignored? Accessed July 31, 2018.Available at https://psych2go.net/athazagoraphobia-the-phobia-of-being-forgotten/.
- Fearof.net (2018). Fear of being forgotten phobia – athazagoraphobia. Accessed July 31, 2018.Available at https://www.fearof.net/fear-of-being-forgotten-phobia-athazagoraphobia/
- Staniloio, A. and Markowitsch, H. (2012). Towards the solution of the enigma of forgetting in functional amnesia: recent advances and current opinions. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00403.