It’s common to want to be cherished in the memories of those closest to you, and it’s normal to worry about it occasionally.
However, for some, the fear of being forgotten or ignored can be considered a phobia.
What Is Athazagoraphobia?
Athazagoraphobia is the unusual or abnormal fear of being forgotten. It may also include apprehension about forgetting someone or something.
If you are afraid of being forgotten by a specific person or social group, you could be suffering from a kind of social phobia.
A social phobia is an irrational fear of being judged or rejected in a particular social situation.
People suffering from athazagoraphobia may experience crippling anxiety, stress, or panic at the mere thought of being forgotten.
An estimated 15 million Americans suffer from social anxiety.
When confronted with your fear, you may also experience physical symptoms of anxiety, such as nausea, rapid heart rate, or even a full-fledged panic attack.
The fear of being forgotten may also be linked to specific concerns about memory loss, such as the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
While caring for someone with this condition, this fear may arise.
This article will go over the characteristics of forgetfulness, as well as the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for this phobia.
What Leads to the Fear of Being Forgetting?
The honest truth is that difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of phobias, but experts believe environmental and genetic factors play a role.
This could range from childhood trauma, such as being left alone as a child, to direct family connections, such as a relative with dementia, to specific memory phobias.
Most phobias can be classified into one of several categories. They could be related to situations such as the fear of developing Alzheimer’s disease, objects such as books, or the environment such as a fear of heights.
If you have a traumatic experience that triggers the phobia, you may be more prone to specific phobias.
A direct link, such as relative suffering from a phobia or anxiety disorder
A sensitive personality or you are shy or introverted.
Specific phobias are defined by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
At the moment, the APA does not recognize athazagoraphobia as a distinct type of phobia or disorder.
However, studies have shown that people experience anxiety and fear as a result of memory loss.
In conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the fear of forgetting things or people can be extremely distressing.
Alternatively, family members of those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia may be concerned about being forgotten by their loved ones.
A direct connection, such as a family member suffering from memory loss, can cause long-term fear and anxiety.
Symptoms of Athazagoraphobia
Specific phobia symptoms differ depending on the severity of the phobia. The most common symptom for the majority of people is anxiety. Others may have a combination of physical and emotional symptoms.
They are as follows:
- Anxiety attacks
- Achy body
- Tension in the muscles
- Elevated heart rate
- Elevated blood pressure
- Agitation, nervousness
- Staying away from social situations
- Inability to focus or concentrate
How to Cope With Athazagoraphobia
Phobias are very common. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that 12.5 percent of Americans have a specific phobia at some point in their lives.
Most people have mild phobias that they can manage without seeking treatment.
For some, the severity of anxiety and fear can have a negative impact on their life.
Learning a few coping skills can help to reduce and eliminate the phobia.
Some other ways you could cope are:
- Start exercising and meditating. Yoga helps a lot.
- Practice focused breathing techniques
- Try out Aromatherapy
- Follow a healthy and balanced diet
- Keep a journal and write down your thoughts.
- Cultivate good friendships and relationships that would be a support system.
When Should You See a Doctor?
Everyone experiences anxiety or fear at times.
When anxiety is chronic or severe enough to limit your daily life and activities or jeopardize your health, it may be beneficial to consult with a trained mental health professional.
Professionals in mental health can assist by:
- Discussing the source of your anxiety
- Assisting you in learning more about your specific phobia and its triggers
- Performing a physical examination and gathering your medical history
- Excluding other medical conditions or medications as potential causes
How Is Athazagoraphobia Diagnosed?
A mental health professional or your healthcare provider will normally consult the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) – the American Psychiatric Association’s official handbook to make a diagnosis of athazagoraphobia.
Although the DSM-5 does not recognize athazagoraphobia as a mental health condition, it may qualify as a specific phobia.
To diagnose specific phobias, the manual employs the following diagnostic criteria:
The fear is chronic and lasts for more than six months.
Fear is actively avoided and almost always results in anxiety.
The fear is out of proportion to the situation’s actual risk.
The fear interferes with critical areas of function, including social and occupational functioning.
A review of any childhood trauma, family history, and other related factors that may be causing your fear or anxiety may be included.
How to Treat Athazagoraphobia
Treatment for any anxiety disorder is determined by the severity of the condition. It usually includes coping tools, therapy, and medications, if necessary.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): This is an effective type of talk therapy in which one’s thoughts and behaviors are modified.
It teaches people how to recognize and change maladaptive (problematic) thinking patterns and behaviors associated with their specific phobia.
CBT is widely regarded as the first-line treatment for anxiety disorders.
- Exposure therapy: For many years, this has been the primary method of treatment for phobias. It generally entails gradually exposing a person to their phobias in a safe manner in order to reduce avoidance and fear over time.
- Meditation and breathing exercises: This is a meditation practice that emphasizes being fully present in the present moment. It can aid in the management of anxiety and fear.
- Anxiolytic medications
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, for example, are antidepressants (SSRIs)
The extreme or irrational fear of forgetting someone or something, or of being forgotten, is known as athazagoraphobia. It may also include apprehension about being ignored or replaced.
The severity of phobias can range from minor anxiety to severe fear, stress, and panic attacks.
Many people with phobias avoid living their lives fully, but there are excellent tools available to help manage phobia.
Learn what causes your phobia and what helps you relax. This could be a relaxing cup of tea, soothing music, aromatherapy, or going for a walk.
Long-term options include cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help with symptoms while also providing balance and clarity.
There are also many apps available today to help with anxiety. Some are free, while others require a small monthly subscription fee.
It is very important you discuss your specific concerns with a mental health professional, as well as what tools and strategies you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you manage your phobia and live your best life.
I hope you found this article helpful. If you did, kindly drop a comment and share with your friends. Better days we aspire for, someday and always.
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