We are in a world where physical appearance is constantly judged by others. The clothes we wear, our weight, volume and physical form and even the presence or absence of hair are elements considered to be of great importance in interpersonal and even work relationships, leading to the fact that they are considered complex if not met with the ideal of beauty or even in some cases with suffering from different mental sufferings such as anorexia and bulimia. There are also phobias related to certain aspects of our physique.
One of them is phalacrophobia, Which we will be talking about throughout this article, and which is linked to an intense fear of baldness.
Phalacrophobia: what is this disorder?
By phalacrophobia we mean the existence of an exaggerated and excessive fear of baldness, Fear that generates a very high level of anxiety when exposed to stimuli linked or linked to this condition.
We are dealing with a specific type of phobia related to things related to physical appearance. It implies the existence of a totally irrational and uncontrollable fear towards a particular stimulus, so that the symptoms are severe enough to constitute an anxiety disorder.
Exposing or even imagining exposure to this stimulus generates in the patient such anxiety that it can trigger physiological symptoms such as tachycardia, hyper intonation, trembling dizziness and even anxiety attack. This causes the subject to actively avoid exposure to the stimulus in question, or to experience a high level of stress and discomfort if exposed to it.
In phalacrophobia, the fear in question may be both to the fact that the subject himself remains bald and to the possibility of encountering bald subjects. Thus, the subject may be tense when faced with social interaction with people with baldness, avoiding it. The presence of hair loss reviews or even advertising about it can also generate great anxiety and actively avoid it.
this fear it is often associated with the man, but the truth is that it is also suffered by many women. It should be borne in mind in this regard that in men hair loss is socially expected and is not so common in women. This expectation can have an effect on the likelihood of suffering from phalacrophobia.
This phobia can have serious repercussions on the patient’s life and even become an aspect with which the subject becomes obsessed. It is not uncommon for the fear of going bald to lead to frequent check-ups, such as observing the amount of hair lost during combing.
In extreme cases, the existence of perceptual alterations has been observed (similar to what happens in anorexia), considering that the subject loses his hair or that he has points on the scalp if the unhappy people keep him in perfect health.
Causes of this phobia
The origin of this phobia and others is an element on which there are many hypotheses, considering that its genesis is due to the combination of several factors.
In that case, one possible explanation for this phobia is conditioning. Some of the people who suffer from phalacrophobia suffered throughout their childhood from some sort of traumatic experience that was once associated with baldness. For example, having been the victim of abuse or mistreatment by a person with alopecia, or having observed the death of an elderly person or being loved near this trait.
In these cases, it is possible that the subject who will suffer from the phobia associates being abused or facing death with baldness, thus generating exposure to a high level of anxiety.
Another possibility is that we noticed in the introduction: the physical aspect. While in recent times some people believe that baldness can represent manhood, strength and personality, the truth is that baldness isand has been culturally associated with physical decay and has been removed from the canon of beauty prevails in society. This could lead to a learned fear of not being seen as attractive and socially rejected.
Related to the previous two peppers, it must be said that hair loss has traditionally been seen as something typical of aging, assuming the loss of youth and abilities of that time and entering a phase of loss and approaching death .
Treatment of this phobia it will vary depending on the stimuli in question that generate anxiety.
Exposure to a phobic stimulus and systematic desensitization are among the most effective techniques in the treatment of phobias, being based on the subject’s approach to phobic stimuli. As a first step, a hierarchy will be developed between the patient and the professional in order to determine some of the main situations generating anxiety, to organize them according to the anxiety they generate.
After that, the patient will be exposed to the feared situations, starting with situations that generate average levels of anxiety to be exposed to them until in at least two consecutive trials the level of anxiety decreases to the point of making it imperceptible. After that, you can move on to the next item in the hierarchy.
Another treatment to consider is cognitive restructuringVery necessary to modify dysfunctional beliefs that may be the cause of the onset or maintenance of the phobia. Also techniques like the decastrophización can be used to reduce the importance of the possibility of remaining bald.
A final element that we can take into account is the possibility of using relaxation techniques in order to reduce the level of anxiety.