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Allodoxiphobia: When Opinions Become Sources of Fear

persons with Allodoxaphobia are afraid of hearing negative opinions about themselves/ Photo By Cookie Studio via Shutterstock

 

In a discussion, both sides must be heard to make a fair judgement. One side makes a comment and another side also puts in their opinion. However, there are those who cannot stand hearing an opinion, whether it is about them or otherwise. This is the case for those who suffer from Allodoxaphobia.
 

What is Allodoxaphobia?

Allodoxaphobia is defined by Disorders.net as the irrational fear of opinions.

According to Fearof.net, it is derived from three Greek terms: “Allo” means “different”, “Dox” means “opinion” and “Phobos” is the Greek god of Fear.

Fears and Phobias state that it is a social phobia or a kind of fear that will likely turn up in every conversation.

At the very core of it, not wanting to hear opinions is the result of an individual’s insecurities, since they may be very demanding of themselves. In essence, they are afraid that those harsh opinions others make may be similar to the ones they give themselves.

Since this phobia causes them much anxiety, they tend not to interact with other people. Although this avoidance temporarily reduces their anxiety, in the long term, it does not really help them.

Those who suffer from this phobia are not only afraid of hearing negative opinions about themselves but also fear the act of formulating their own opinions. They have the feeling that if they voice out their own opinion, especially if it is a strong opinion pertaining to a delicate issue, people will have a negative perception about them based on what they stand for.

As a result, they would rather keep quiet. Not saying their own opinion is their way of protecting themselves from being judged by others.

 

Causes

Allodoxaphobia is mostly caused by negative or traumatic past experiences. A child who was constantly warned about certain things or frequently reprimanded by grown-ups such as parents or teachers may cause them to suppress their own opinions and keep it to themselves. Experiencing abuse in their childhood may also be a factor.

Being a sensitive or passive person may also be another cause of having this phobia. This is due to the fact that they are afraid of criticism. They may have felt that as they were criticized whether it was in school or at work, a part of their brain, the amygdala, got triggered. In similar stressful situations, they get the same response from the brain repeatedly. This defense mechanism of the brain, in turn, makes the person want to avoid it. In order to avoid the triggering sensation, they try not to listen to opinions made about them.

The third possible cause noted is the media. Easy access to media where opinions flourish, such as TV, radio, and social media can make a person incredibly anxious and have panic attacks.

Lastly, genetics may also be one of the factors in developing this fear.

 

an individual who suffers from allodoxaphobia will feel intensely anxious about the opinions of others/ Photo By Prostock-studio via Shutterstock

 

Symptoms

An individual who suffers from allodoxaphobia will feel intensely anxious about the opinions of others, so much so that any opinion about them will be hard to get out of their mind. They may think about that opinion for a whole day. In addition, they may be able to identify which values they truly hold dear. Some may also have doubts about their self-identity.

They will try to refrain from conversing with other people to be able to fully steer clear of opinions. In severe cases, they try to avoid people altogether, which also prevents them from engaging in small talk. This may lead to isolation. When that isolation worsens, this may cause them to develop mental health disorders like depression.

A few individuals may find that their opinion may never be recognized as the best since people have too many opinions. However, staying away from these people may cause them to be lonely or hate themselves.

These are the signs that a person has allodoxaphobia:

1. Being extremely afraid of opinions

2. Thinking about opinions causes them intense anxiety

3. May be too harsh on themselves

4. Inability to deal with strong emotions

5. Having panic attacks

6. Muscle tension and shakiness

 

Treatment

As of now, there are no treatments tailored to allodoxaphobia. However, a patient may try some medication the three therapies suggested by common-phobias.com.

Therapy

Hypnotherapy

In this type of therapy, a specialist assists the patient in opening their subconscious mind to altering one or more of their behaviors. When the specialist is able to tap directly into their subconscious mind, it can make it easier to search for the cause of the phobia and instill new ideas and positive advice. The positive advice can help bring about the change in behavior that the patient wishes to have because it teaches the mind to associate the phobia with different emotions after several sessions. This kind of treatment is noted to be safe, fast and effective.

It is a form of therapy that has been authorized by the American Medical Association in 1958.
 

Inability to deal with strong emotions is one of the symptoms of having allodoxaphobia/ Photo By Koldunova Anna via Shutterstock

 

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

This therapy is described as the study and practice of how a person forms their sense of reality.

In NLP, it is believed that a person’s choice of words represents how they view their problems. If the individual’s words and views are flawed, then as long the person repeats this pattern of perception and choice of words, there will always be a hidden problem.

Under this therapy, the therapist will examine the words a patient uses when referring to the symptoms or concerns of their health problem. They will also try to “read” every body movement and facial expression their patient makes. Once the therapist is able to identify the error in the patient’s perception, they will then explain to them the root cause of the problem. They will help the patient reconstruct their thoughts and mental associations to be able to correct their preconceived notions.

 

Energy Psychology

This kind of therapy uses a myriad of methods which include yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, qi gong, prana, and energy medicine. These techniques help educate people on how to make minor changes in their lifestyle. These techniques activate the energy points on the surface of the skin. When utilized with certain psychological approaches, this enables the transfer of the brain’s electrochemistry. Although this therapy is said to be controversial, it has been reported to help manage some patient’s phobias.

 

Medication

In some instances, doctors may prescribe anti-anxiety medication to reduce its symptoms.

 

Other Methods

Other approaches the patient is encouraged to try are exposure therapy and gradually participating in discussion of opinions.

Long-term treatment is advised for those who have allodoxaphobia. Family members of the one affected are advised to be patient towards the individual and remain positive while they undergo treatment.


 

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