Monophobia is the extreme or abnormal fear of being alone. Many people as well as animals are known to suffer from monophobia and it is not an easy fear to overcome.
Monophobia is also known by other names such as Isolophobia, Eremophobia or the related phobia Autophobia. It is characterized by extreme insecurity, anxiety and depression when the individual suffering has to be alone, even for short duration. As a result, s/he refuses to sleep, eat or even go to the bathroom alone. People suffering from monophobia are unable to do many simple tasks that most can do easily. The fear of being alone also leads to bad relationships as the individual prefers abuse to being left alone.
Symptoms of Monophobia
As with other types of phobias, the fear of being alone also triggers several physical and emotional symptoms:
- Feeling unsteady, experiencing lightheadedness or dizziness
- Feeling of choking
- Rapid heart rate, palpitations or pounding heart
- Chest pain and discomfort
- Nausea or gastrointestinal distress
- Trembling or shaking
- Numbness or tingling sensations
- Inability to distinguish between reality and unreality
- Fear of dying
- Fear of losing control
- Hot/cold flashes
- Fear of fainting
Monophobia is often combined with other kinds of phobias. For example, many people who suffer from Agoraphobia (fear of open/public places) or Thanatophobia (fear of death) may also suffer from Monophobia.
Causes of Monophobia
The fear of being alone can occur due to various reasons. As with most types of phobias, the origins of Monophobia can often be traced to the individual’s childhood wherein one might have had a frightening experience. Long term stress, anxiety, bad relationships, poor housing and other socio-economic factors can also lead to Monophobia.
It has now been established that most anxieties and phobias occur in people who have less well-developed strategies for coping with difficult situations in life. Children raised by anxious relatives/parents are also more likely to suffer from the common kinds of phobias. They inherit the anxiety which makes them react negatively to stressful situations and events.
A person suffering from the true fear of being alone is also likely to lack confidence and belief in the fact that activities can be carried out alone. S/he feels that having a trustworthy person along at all times is essential and failure to do so could lead to death or her/him acting ‘out of control’ when panic-causing situations arise.
Treatment for the fear of being alone
Many individuals suffering from Monophobia develop coping strategies and self-help techniques to help themselves. Alternatively, one can also seek treatment from a psychiatrist/psychologist who can recommend therapies such as talk therapy, cognitive behavior therapy (that is known to cure nearly 75% of people suffering from different phobias) or counseling etc. Hypnotherapy is also effective for treating many kinds of phobias.
Medications generally do not cure one’s fear of being alone; however, short term drug therapy is known to be effective for dealing with the symptoms. Beta blockers, anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications etc can be taken under the guidance of a doctor for dealing with stress and panic caused by one’s monophobia. It is important to note that there are many withdrawal symptoms one might experience when weaning off these drugs and the process should be done gradually and under medical supervision.
Relaxation and breathing techniques are the more natural forms of treatments recommended for dealing with the extreme fear of being alone. Guided mental imagery, meditation, deep breathing, muscle relaxation and soothing self talk are some of the effective ways of coping with monophobia.
Likewise, desensitization and gradual exposure therapy also help the individual slowly experience the fear of being alone, first in the form of images and visualization and then in reality. This can help one get desensitized so that s/he no longer reacts with uncontrollable panic when faced with being alone.
Vianna Beltran says
I’ve recently started suffering from this type of anxiety. Anyone who relates can contact me and maybe we can help each other out.
I’ve been on and off the decision scale as to whether or not I may suffer from anxiety or if I’m just a straight up scaredy-cat, but over the last few years, I have developed an immense fear of being alone inside of a large room by myself. I can deal with smaller rooms, small crowds (large crowds I tend to get a little antsy) and being outside on my own, but the second I get placed in a large room with just myself and my thoughts, I immediately become uneasy and start having recurring images in my head of a dream I had for months. I was super young (I’m 22 now) when this dream happened so how i still remember it, I have no clue. But one part featured a giant white room, no windows, no color, just white, and in the center was a drain. A small pool of water surrounded me that flowed steadily towards the drain. But gradually the waters speed had increased and I remember looking back at the drain and it had doubled in size. Eventually the drain got so big that the grates just sucked me in. I wasn’t able to move out of the way either, it’s like I was paralyzed. But I ended up in a weird open lake type of place next, and my mother was at the end of these 3, long isle-like islands. I kept calling out to her and she wouldn’t answer me. She was fishing, I think. But she ended up getting into a car and driving away without me, leaving me by myself. I tried chasing after her but I slipped and fell head first into the water and all I saw was massive head rising up to me and eating me. It was the strangest dream I had ever had but yet I still remember it so vividly. When I’m in a place like a large room, I start thinking about that dream and start to get really flustered. Any thoughts?
Hi. I’m pretty sure I have Monophobia. When I shower, I have to leave my curtain open while my door is closed, and listen to Youtubers that I watch to calm me down hearing their voices. Also, when it comes to using the bathroom, I leave my shower curtain open and bring my phone in so I don’t feel alone. When I’m sleeping, I have my grandma sleep in the same room as me so that I’m not worried that I’m gonna get kidnapped or something. My dad always tells me “No ones home! Your going to be fine!” if I need to get something from my basement or my parents room, it’s even worse when my parents tell me to turn off all the lights downstairs. I just feel like I’m going to immediately die if no one is with me or around me. I feel like no one I know will ever understand me, and they just think it’s something stupid that I’ll grow out of. I just know I’m showing my parents this.
Symptoms are exactly what I feel, mostly when sleeping alone. I just have this intense feeling so I can’t even sleep facing away from the door because I am too scared that someone or thing will get me in the night, even when I am just home alone I fear being like sniped from a distance or the house being broken into.
Marcel Kostwinder says
The best way to overcome any fear (even the fear of death), is meditation.
Be concious and don’t let your mind take control.
Find peace within yourself and you will come to accept any situation.
You will come to realise that its your mind(ego) who is causing the suffering of monophobia.
But you are not your mind, you are conciousness and the one listning to the mind.
Your mind is merely a tool, become the master of this tool instead of letting it be your master.
Observe your thoughts without judging them. then they will have no power over you.
Hope Ogbonna says
These fears and panic started last year after during a time i wasn’t feeling fine early December and i feel so scared that i will have to beg my colleagues and friends to come spend the night with me.Having fear and so many things going through my mind at the same time.I feel so scared that i have to play movies on my phone before i can sleep.
Oh wow. I’m only 13 and every night When I go to bed I just go downstairs and sit on the stairs watching my parents watching TV, until eventually I have to go to the bathroom but just hold it in until my dad comes up and I make him stand outside the bathroom door.
Nice article, i found out simple road to Recovery that you can consider by meditation, Hypnotherapy, Neuro-Linguistic, Desensitization.
Annie B says
When it’s time for me to bath or when I have to use the bathroom I always ask someone to come with me which annoys them. Pleas help me!
I understand! I am afraid to lock bathroom doors because I am afraid I will get trapped!
How old are you? When did it start?
I think my sister sometimes have this phobia when I left I’m alone whenever i do that my sister most likely felt worried about that.
try opening all your closet doors and your bathroom doors and go to sleep but if that doesn’t work then play a game of fighting your fear in the dark.
me either…i really need someone to sleep with me so i can sleep well..i am not sure if im sufferring from anxiety or i am monophobic. i live all by myself for 3 years already cos im working outside the country. Last few months i sufferred from the symptoms of panic disorder. i also feel like im going to detach from the reality, like im going crazy due to so many things going inside my mind. anyone can help me to assure what is this i am feeling?
Christal Flores says
Sounds like derealization or depersonalization
I wish I could be there for you. I know what it feels like
I don’t know if this is monophobia, but whenever I’m alone at home, I freak out if I don’t have any kind of music playing. Our neighborhood has a lot of birds, so it’s always noisy, but when I can hear the birds, I freak out because there’s no noise from other people to drown out the birds. I can’t go to sleep when I’m the last person to go to bed, and I can’t fall asleep if I can’t see light, or else terrifying faces will appear in my brain, and I think they’re coming at me. Sometimes, inanimate objects in my room will look like something scary. Once, the silhouette of a boot looked like a vampire dachshund when I was young. Also, I sit at the computer constantly and listen to music loudly, so I can’t hear anything else. When I’m at the computer, I always have my email pulled up so I can always see if my friends email me. If it isn’t up, I’ll check every five to ten minutes. When I’m away from the computer, I always have my phone with me in case I get any texts or emails from anyone. I always feel like I have top respond immediately to those kinds of things. Me and one of my friends are writing this story together, and right now she’s on vacation, so it’s really lonely when I’m typing alone. This probably doesn’t have to do with monophobia, but my other friend is getting surgery soon, and I’m really anxious for her. I cry whenever I hear something bad about any person, even if I don’t know them. I think this means I just have to sympathize for every unfortunate person. I even cry for animals. I cry internally whenever I see roadkill, and when I think about any person or animal I know dying. I even cry when I see videos of people doing amazing people doing beautiful things for the less unfortunate, like when people build small shelters for homeless people, and when they give food and clothes to homeless people. Sorry that this is so long, but I really need someone to talk with about this, and I thought that people with similar issues would be best. It feels really good to get this off my chest, and I really hope that you all can get your problems solved, even just a little bit. It’s sad to have these kinds of fears in my, but I guess that having fears and flaws is what makes all of us human. Unless you’re a robot.
Jannah Vincent says
omg! YOU ARE EXACTLY LIKE ME! this makes me feel so much better now! now the only thing that keeps me sane is my music! it distracts me from my fear of death, my stagefright, and my fear of being alone! Whenever I listen to music, I feel like nothing can harm me, like im in my own personal world. It is my paradise! But, THIS IS EXACTLY LIKE ME!
bjorn johnson says
Dezarae Aguilera says
I understand completely, I can relate to a lot of these thoughts and feelings. I am 24 years old and for a very long time now I knew something was wrong with me. I knew I was different from others. I think differently and I feel things on a level I don’t think anyone can understand. My mind is constantly going, especially when I’m left alone. I become very panicked and nervous, I start listening hard to every little sound and loud noises make me jump. I hate the quietness, I cannot stand being alone and in the quiet. I will go into a full on panic attack and often I will beg my boyfriend to come with me to the bathroom or shower, if he doesn’t I’ll leave the door open or cracked unless I have music, but sometimes it doesn’t help. My boyfriend can’t even walk outside without me asking and wondering if he is going to leave. Is he gonna sneak off and not tell me? I start to panic and my heart races, my palms get sweaty, I start doubting myself asking myself things like are you being boring? Did you forget to do something for him? Am I being too clingy? If I am hanging around even just friends and one friend gets up to go to the bathroom I immediately ask where they are going. I guess you can say paranoid. I wake up in the morning and the first thing that runs through my mind is I wonder when he’s planning on leaving me. And then I start going out of my way to try and make sure he is comfortable and stays around as long as possible. I can’t sleep alone. If he falls asleep first I have the hardest time going to sleep too. If he leaves while I’m asleep I wake up scared and start yelling for him looking everywhere until the tears come falling down and I’ll call and call until he answers to tell me where he’s at. This is not even half of what I experience. If I am alone, it’s rare, I’ll eat or shower, clean anything like that unless I’m stoned or something. Things, thoughts and feelings have been fueled by addiction and I almost never feel good about myself, if I do it’s based off how my boyfriend or someone else is treating me. For example if my boyfriend is having a bad day and needs space like a normal person would I start freaking out inside my head like is he gonna break up with me, what did I do wrong, am I not pretty enough, do I not interest him? I’m gonna be alone forever I can’t ever keep around anyone because often it’s been said I’m too much or just too much to handle. I’m obsessive and jealous, insecure, jumpy and clingy and idk how to turn all this off. My mind never rests, I think way too much about everything, always analyzing and dissecting. I don’t trust anyone. Really I’m always looking for lies or deceit. I pay attention to tiny details most don’t, like body language, peoples reactions and faces, tone of voice, what they act like around certain ppl or alone. I remember things that hurt me, some random girl could say something random about me like I’m a heifer and that stays in my head for weeks. I’ll always throw out there sometimes for no reason “I’m such a heifer”. I change 3-4 times a day always worried what others think. It’s exhausting. I can’t hang out with very many people because I make things weird. I talk too much, I’m too open or I’m too quiet, really awkward with a wall up. I’ve tried to be myself but I haven’t met one person who can truly deal and understand me the way I think and feel. I’m sensitive and after so long of being hurt or made fun of for the way I am I’ve begun to put a wall up and wear a mask for different people. I become the person they are expecting or what I assume they find appropriate. I’ve lost myself who I really am trying to fit in so I’m not so lonely but really I’m always lonely. I can’t speak my mind ever because people think I’m crazy or tripping or just trying to get attention or cause drama. But really I just need help sorting through my thoughts and feelings. I have gotten so bad I can barely differentiate from reality and what tricks my mind has kicking up. I can’t ever tell when someone is being real or sarcastic. Anything anyone says I assume is a lie or the complete opposite. I believe whole heartedly both are huge issues because I tend to believe the lies and not believe the truth. In my mind everyone is playing games in it for their own gain. I feel like I have nobody who is on my side. I have no friends, I’ve mostly lost my family and it’s destroying my relationship. I need help. This is only half of what I can explain.
I can relate although I’m younger. One day in class my friend left me alone to talk to someone else and I started crying. I had to wipe my face because people laughed. But I just felt that I didn’t matter. I also can’t handle when I’m home alone and I hear random noises. Same with the sleeping. I feel like things are in my room in the dark. So I see things, like a person.
mr. shaikh says
I think i suffer from monophobia… because I feel someone always with me and I can’t sleep alone. Please help me with this problem.
John Peterson says
Sadly, it seems we will have to perform an exorcism, this is common in people being stalked by demons, your body is a vessel for the underworld, visit a priest asap.
Jannah Vincent says
same here, I refuse to sleep alone, for my whole childhood I shared a room with my sister. I refuse to eat alone at lunch tables at school, Im always at the popular tables. Im always in a rush to go to the popular tables, im usually the first one there, since theres usually no more room in about five minutes. i can go to the washroom alone though XD
I can’t sleep alone too I need my parents to sleep with me and I’m 12
At night I can’t sleep in a room by myself because my own thoughts get to me and my heart starts racing and I start sweating. When I’m outside I can’t be by myself because my fears get to me. How do I stop this?
vaishali muzumdar says
I just give you one idea. It might work. First sleep in room with someone then tell that person to leave your room in the middle of the night. If you feel scared, you can go to that person’s room. But if you carry on like that, in a few days your mind begins to feel less scared. But just remember one thing. Tell that person not to tell you when that one decide to leave your side. Do as we did with small children? We let that child sleep and then slowly got out of the room. If it keeps happening again and again then sometimes slowly your mind adjust with it and if you have a window then keep it open so that you can hear voices of dogs or cats. That might give you feelings that you have company. It’s an idea that worked on me not professional advice.
Can you help me?? You seem good at this so… I am suffering from monophobia and I played a scary game and I kept thinking it was real so I was afraid the characters were going to come out and kill me so I was afraid of going out of my room to get a bottle of water… so… do you think you can help me please
I just can’t be downstairs when everyone is upstairs and I can feel like something or someone is watching me just there waiting for me and I tense up I freeze and I feel like I am going to be killed and I feel like something is gonna grab me when I go up the stairs and when I shut off all my lights. I feel like something is just following me but when I have someone with me I feel better.
Jannah Vincent says
same here!!! My fear is a mixture of the fear of being alone and the fear of death!!!! You know what I do? If I need something downstairs and everything is upstairs i either do two things:
1: I run downstairs as quick as possible, grab the thing i need quickly and run back upstairs as fast as possible
2: I ask a trusted sibling/parent/friend (if possible) to come down with me
I Have Monophobia says
, OMG same, i do exactly those 2 things and i even end up asking my younger brother to go upstairs to get a blanket with me at night. This makes me feel much much more better. And in the middle of the stairs in my house there is a wide window and there is a HUGE tree in the center of the grass area just 10 meters away from my front door and whenever i go up or down the stairs at night it feels like there is one of those creepy long haired completely white girl standing in front of the tree. ;-; I also do what you said, mostly at night or early early early morning when there is something upstairs/downstairs i quickly run down/up, quickly grab the thing i need and then run back downstairs/upstairs as fast as possible. I then just saying stuff like, omg, yes, whoo, or just breath more than usual in relief that that was over xd
I am the exact same. I don’t tell anyone cuz I think they’ll think it’s silly, but I can’t stand to be alone. I don’t even like being on the same floor as others just in a different room. I also hate the dark. I don’t know if fear of the dark and fear of being alone go together for anyone else, but that’s how it is with me
I feel the exact same way.
James Stone says
I think i have monophobia, but not so sure if it involves being single. Usually when I’m in a relationship i have that fear where it’s going to end or the person is going to leave. The problem is when i fear that i have to start all over again and it sucks.
I suffer from this heavily and never realized it until I read about this I mean I knew it was not normal to feel so anxious when I was alone but I honestly thought it was just because of what I’ve been through. Thank you for helping me out, I do the most extreme abnormal things when I feel like I will be left alone. How do I seek for help?
I have a fear of being alone with my own thoughts. I had gone through a bad break-up about a year ago and still overthink it. It is easier when I am with someone or with my horses, but when I am alone I think constantly because there is nothing to distract me. Hence why I can’t be alone WITH myself. Would this still be counted as monophobia?
I cant be alone either. I’m 29 years old and my longest relationship about a summer long.. Every time I meet a special someone, I become so attached to them by the second date I freak them out because I have fear of being alone. I’m constantly looking at my phone to see if that person read my text message. I look at my phone every 5 minutes or so.. If I don’t hear back from the person by X amount of time, I freak out because I feel the fear that the person quit talking to me.. It makes me depressed and I want to quit living because of it. I have a hard time sleeping, I cant eat, I cant go out because my thoughts hunt me down. I REALLY need help..
Hi Kyle, gosh.. I feel the same! I want to hold onto people even if they aren’t good for me just because I don’t want to be alone. I worry myself sick and get panic attacks. If they are around I am happy, even if I am miserable and know that it’s best to be patient and don’t push the person away as everyone wants their space. But my emotions and fears overplay. It sucks.
I am not sure if I have a phobia of being alone or just a fear. I can’t go to sleep unless someone is in the room with me, I am the first to sleep, or I have to listen to a conversation in a movie. I feel as if my senses are intensified and I panic and my heart starts racing and I get really scared. This only happens at night so I am not completely sure if it is a phobia or not. I might also just be a hypochondriac and think I have a lot of phobias because I can relate in some way.
bella smith says
I know I can’t sleep at night either.
I hate having monophobia, it’s attracted the wrong relationships for me. They all start to be aggressive, because they know that without them in my life I’m alone (no family). So I’ve been on the receiving end of abuse and assault all the time. I’m in a relationship now that’s abusive but I’m too afraid to live alone! I know it sounds nuts but the fear of loneliness and being alone is greater than abuse! Needless to say I’m totally depressed and find it hard to talk to people. I feel trapped, I wish I had a family but I don’t. I’m not too bad at night, but the days are so long. I’m not a bad person and I would not wish this on anyone, my heart goes out to everyone who suffers from this curse.
Why don’t you try having a roommate instead? Maybe that will help!
I can relate to you. I was in an abusive relationship for ten years in part because I have a fear of being alone. I finally worked up the courage to divorce him, and I have been living alone now for 3 years. It was very scary and difficult for me at first, but I am still glad I did it. I couldn’t have done it without the help I received from a therapist. My therapist gave me the strength and knowledge to leave him safely and with as little drama as possible (though there was still plenty of drama – it could’ve been much worse!). I’m forever glad I sought help. Are you able to go to a therapist to talk about monophobia and your relationship? Now I’m in a fantastic, loving relationship with an amazing man, celebrating 9 months together and it keeps getting better! I’m so much happier now, even though monophobia still affects me sometimes. Don’t let monophobia keep you in an abusive relationship. You deserve love and respect. Go out and find it. Surround yourself with good, loving people. Support groups, friends, therapy – do whatever it takes. You only live once, so why not live the best life you can? Best wishes to you.. You’re never alone! :)
I am sorry you feel that way, it’s me too now. Goodbye.
I like that dress
I feel you, I have monophobia and it’s the worse feeling in the world, where are you from? I’m from connecticut. If you want you can e-mail me.. I know how you feel.. my name is Laurie.
where in Ct? I am from Darien and am alone and do poorly alone-I have not slept for years and meds have bad side effects-A terrible situation-
Hi, I have what I think is general anxiety disorder and monophobia. I found CBT too hard to concentrate on and I am just desperate to stop feeling like this. There obviously isn’t one cure and we are all different because of our life’s experiences so it’s hard to suggest one therapy. I’ve recently thought it’s about getting to the root cause, the reason or trauma causing the anxiety, we need to get to the bottom of. I’ve been looking into trauma release, and EMDR is one therapy that could help, and possibly craniotomy sacral, but nothing will be an instant fix and I’m just exhausted thinking about it and dealing with life. I ended up taking an overdose recently because I can’t see an end to this nightmare. I think it’s worse since I did that, but it certainly didn’t help. Keep praying and giving myself Reiki healing and wish every sufferer out there much love. LOVE. It HAS to be stronger than this fear.
I got this and the fear of death phobia. It’s actually worse when I’m in a big city. I had no problem when I lived in the country. It’s horrible, like a friend leaves and I will cry and cry. I just can’t settle especially if I have not slept much.
Gio Gabriel Evangelista says
Now I know that I am a monophobic, I really don’t want to be alone especially at night I can’t sleep.