Androphobia is the irrational fear of men. Someone experiencing this mental illness may find it extremely difficult to cope with day to day life seeing as how men account for roughly half of the Earth’s population. Women are not the only one’s who can suffer from androphobia, men can also experience thy symptoms associated with this illness also.
Someone with this fear may isolate themselves from society or only go to areas where the population is typically all women. People who are irrationally afraid of men may realize that their concerns are out of touch with reality.
However, the intensity of their anxiety is often too much to bear. Thus, forcing them to avoid men the best they can. This is all an attempt to help “protect” themselves from their deep fears.
Their androphobia may have evolved into a subconscious fear or hatred of men. They may take strong stances against workforce’s that are predominantly male or they may not have a job where a male is above them in the hierarchy. Though such behavior is clearly sexist, they are unable to see it as such and can quickly justify their beliefs so to minimize any anxiety.
Symptoms of Androphobia
There are many different symptoms of androphobia. However, the specifics will often vary greatly from person to person. Someone with this phobia will often try to avoid men or avoid places where men may be. If they don’t take such an action, then they may experience large amounts of intrusive anxiety and stress. Besides avoiding men, they may also try to make it a point to only watch films and listen to music that only include women. They may also only vote for females in political elections due to their fear of men.
Their androphobia may force them to dislike and even hate men with little to no rational justification whatsoever. They may even exude a strong confirmation bias against men by acting unfairly or rude to them. This, in turn, will often spark a negative reaction in the male. Thus, confirming or reassuring their reason to fear or hate men.
Below, you will see some common symptoms of androphobia:
Only supporting women
Intense anxiety around men
Dread when thinking of men
Muscle tension and shakiness
Causes of Androphobia
There are many different causes of androphobia. Genetics and one’s environment may play very significant roles in the development of this condition. Someone who has a family history of mental illness, especially of phobias, may have a genetic predisposition to develop androphobia. If this is the case for someone, then it may only take a traumatic experience for them to develop a full-blown fear of men.
Some possible traumatic experiences that someone could have endured for them to develop androphobia may be that they were abused by their father or another male caregiver. Other reasons could be that they were robbed by a man or a group of men before. There are many different traumatic experiences that could take place for someone to develop an intense fear of the male sex. There is also the possibility that the person suffering from androphobia is merely being paranoid.
Someone with androphobia may also suffer from other mental disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and/or borderline personality disorder (BPD). Having these mental illnesses or others may exacerbate someone’s symptoms of androphobia.
Nevertheless, someone experiencing the symptoms of androphobia may try to desperately justify their beliefs. For example, a woman may claim that they once experienced physical abuse from a man before. Thus, fearing and believing that all men are physically abusive. Such reasoning is a common fallacy called Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc.
Androphobia Treatments (abridged)
There is no specific type of treatment designed to treat androphobia. However, talk therapy, exposure therapy, and anti-anxiety medication may be able to help reduce the symptoms associated with this mental disorder. Talk therapy could be very helpful as it would help the patient to find out the true underlying reasons as to why they are so fearful of men. Upon using talk therapy, you and your therapist may figure out ways to think differently about men, as well as learning several coping mechanisms and skills that you can use in your day to day life to help minimize the anxiety associated with androphobia.
Exposure therapy would be advantageous by helping to desensitize you from your fear of men. This type of therapy would work by slowly exposing you to men. This may first start off by having you look at a picture of a man and then move on to having you watch a video of a man. Ultimately, the goal would be to get the patient to be around men and even talk to men in real life with as little symptoms of their androphobia as possible. Though this may take a significant amount of time to acquire adeptness, exposure therapy may be very advantageous for someone experiencing androphobia.
If you think you have androphobia, then you should talk to your doctor as soon as you can to try and get treated for your symptoms. It may be advantageous for you to have questions ready for him and/or to have a list of all of your symptoms ready for you so that you leave no stone unturned when you meet with your doctor.
Upon talking to your doctor, he may refer you to a specialist such as a psychiatrist or a psychologist to help treat your androphobia. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are often involved in medication therapy. So, this may be necessary if your symptoms are on the severe side of the spectrum. Your doctor may also refer you to a psychologist, therapist, or a social worker who can implement talk therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and/or exposure therapy.
Yoga Poses for Androphobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from androphobia. In part, this is due to the meditative state of mind that yoga tends to emit in those who practice it on a consistent basis. Yoga can be thought of as meditation in motion. It can help to relieve some of the anxiety associated with androphobia due to the mere fact that by engaging in yoga, your attention will be redirected to something more productive.
There are many different types of yoga that someone with androphobia can benefit from, such as hatha yoga or hot yoga, among many others. Nevertheless, regardless of the many different forms of yoga that exist, virtually all of them can help to relieve some of the stress and anxiety that is associated with androphobia.
If you have never practiced yoga before, then it may be in your best interest to take a class or watch some guided videos that can help you through each pose. Just like with meditation, the more you practice yoga, the more adept you will become at it. Besides helping you to reduce your symptoms of androphobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Androphobia
MBSR is an 8-week evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to help people who are suffering from anxiety, stress, depression, and other sorts of mental anguish. MBSR may be able to significantly help someone who is suffering from androphobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with androphobia can expect to learn a plethora of different skills that can help them to relieve the intense anxiety that’s associated with their specific phobia.
Talk to your doctor or therapist to see if MBSR can help you to reduce the intensity of your symptoms of androphobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Meditation for Androphobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from androphobia. Specifically, mindfulness meditation has been shown to be quite beneficial for helping people to enter into a more equanimeous state. There are many different ways with which you can implement mindfulness meditation and there are also many different meditation apps which are designed to make things as easy as possible for you.
Mindfulness has the potential to significantly help those suffering from androphobia due to how it will help one to distract themselves from their fear by refocusing their attention onto something else that does not have any sort of emotional baggage attached to it, such as by focusing on the breath for example. This is one of the most basic ways that one can meditate and be present.
For someone with androphobia in the midst of a panic attack, redirecting one’s attention to the various sensations felt when breathing can actually help to reduce the amount of mental anguish experienced during such an influx of anxiety.
To implement mindfulness meditation to help relieve one’s symptoms of androphobia, you can do so by paying close attention to the way the muscles in your abdomen and chest contract and relax with every inhale and exhale. You can spend time dwelling on how it feels as your chest expands during each inhale and how it sinks in with every exhale.
Besides focusing on your breathing, you can also focus on the sounds around you, the way your skin feels as you touch certain objects, the way foods taste, as well as the way certain aromas smell. Essentially, honing into your 5 senses can significantly help you to reduce some of the anxiety that is associated with androphobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.
Exposure Therapy for Androphobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as androphobia. It can be an efficient way to help desensitize the patient to their specific fears. Be that as it may, it is imperative that the therapist implementing it on their patient is very adept at doing so. For example, if the therapist were to slightly expose someone with androphobia to their fear, then it may not be very effective as they may need a higher amount of exposure to truly trigger any sort of worthwhile change in the patient.
The same can be said for the antithesis of this scenario. If the therapist were to excessively expose someone with androphobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their androphobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with androphobia has a very strong sense of just how severe their symptoms are so that they can know the level of exposure that the patient will likely be able to handle.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Androphobia
CBT is a psycho-social intervention that aims to improve one’s mental health. It is a modality that is often used to treat people suffering from anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder and OCD. Someone with androphobia may also be able to benefit from CBT as well seeing as how it would allow them to have a much better understanding as to why they think and behave the way they do in relation to their irrational fears.
CBT can be immensely helpful for someone with androphobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with androphobia is exposed to their fear, they will almost always have an instantaneous subconscious reaction to their fear. Such a lack of introspection is likely a large part of why someone with this condition will suffer to the extent that they will. CBT can help you to take a step back and analyze your fears more deeply than you typically would.
Besides learning to be more fastidious with regards to understanding one’s specific fears, someone with androphobia engaging in CBT can also expect to learn various other skills aimed at helping to relieve the anxiety caused by their condition.
Psychiatric Medications for Androphobia
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe androphobia due to the fact that people with phobias often experience panic attacks as well. Some common anti-anxiety medications include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin, among many others.
These types of drugs are not typically taken on a daily basis, but they may be insofar as their androphobia is severe enough. However, this is something that you should first discuss with your doctor before you decide to do so to ensure that it is safe and effective.
These types of medications aren’t only for people who suffer from depression as they can also help people suffering from anxiety disorders as well, such as androphobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of androphobia.
These types of drugs are typically taken on a daily basis. They can indeed help prevent panic attacks from occurring, but they are more so used to help reduce people’s daily anxiety. Talk to your doctor to see if taking antidepressants can help to reduce your symptoms of androphobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.
Exercise for Androphobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including androphobia. Specifically, cardiovascular exercise can significantly help to relieve one’s stress. This is not to say that weight-resistance training would not benefit someone with anxiety, but rather that aerobic exercise is has been shown to be more effective at releasing those feel good chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins.
According to the American Psychology Association, exercise can help to condition the mind to better cope with stressful situations. This makes sense when we take into consideration the high amount of stress that the body is put under during strenuous exercise. So, if you yourself are sedentary, then engaging in some form of aerobic exercise may be able to significantly help reduce your symptoms of androphobia by making it much easier for you to cope with the anxiety and stress that’s associated with this condition.
There are many different aerobic modalities that you can partake in to help reduce your symptoms of androphobia, such as swimming, biking, skiing, walking, and jogging. You can also acquire the many benefits of exercise by playing sports such as tennis, soccer, basketball, and racquetball, among many other sports. Engaging in some form of exercise consistently may be able to help relieve some of the pain associated with androphobia over time.
Limiting Caffeine for Androphobia
It is no secret that consuming large amounts of caffeine throughout the day can aid in making you more anxious. This makes sense when we look closely at how caffeine affects our body’s physiology. When we consume a high dose of caffeine, our heart will start to beat faster and we become more tense. Essentially, our body will begin to go into a “fight or flight” state of mind. Such a frame of mind is often a precursor for someone with androphobia to experience panic attacks.
So, consuming little to no caffeine throughout the day may be able to significantly help reduce your day to day anxiety. Although doing so will likely not make all of your anxiety go away, it will indeed help you to reduce any unnecessary suffering that you would have otherwise experienced if you were to consume a large amount of caffeine.
Beverages like coffee and tea are often high in caffeine, as well as some energy drinks. In fact, even some foods have caffeine in them as well, such as dark chocolate. Being more conscious of your daily caffeine consumption may help you to reduce some of the symptoms associated with androphobia.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Androphobia
DBT is a very effective form of treatment for people struggling with emotion regulation. It is often used to treat people suffering from borderline personality disorder. Nevertheless, it can also be very advantageous for someone suffering from anxiety disorders like androphobia too. This is due to the numerous amount of coping skills you can expect to learn in a DBT group. These groups typically last about 6 months long and can have anywhere from two people to several people depending on how many join the group.
One very effective DBT skill for helping someone with androphobia is half-smiling. This technique works by having you think about that which you fear or upsets you all while slightly raising the corners of your mouth by lightly smiling, thus the term “half-smiling.” Although, it isn’t enough to just think about your fear while half-smiling, you also have to try and refrain from entertaining those painful emotions that your specific fear may evoke.
Mindfulness meditation is also heavily used in DBT and can greatly benefit someone with androphobia as it is done in a group setting, which helps to put the patient out of their comfort zone. These group mindfulness practices may include drinking warm tea to hone in on the sense of taste and tactile senses or simply focusing on the breath.
Coping ahead is another very useful DBT skill that can help someone with androphobia. With coping ahead, you will want to find a place where you can sit down quietly without distraction. Close your eyes and then think about the many different possible scenarios where you would face your specific fear and overcome it or cope with it. Doing so will help you to be much better adept at coping with your androphobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.
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