What is Monophobia?

People with monophobia may benefit from support groups.
Hypnosis may help treat monophobia.
Individuals with monophobia may experience fear when they are away from particular people and locations.
Monophobia causes extreme anxiety in those left alone.
Talk therapy can be used to help treat monophobia.
Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 August 2014
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Monophobia is an abnormal fear of being alone. While everybody feels lonely sometimes, someone with monophobia experiences extreme anxiety when left alone, and the condition can be both socially crippling and extremely frustrating. A variety of behavioral therapy techniques can be used to treat monophobia, including talk therapy and hypnosis. People who suffer from this condition also sometimes benefit from support groups, where they can meet like-minded people and learn about techniques for managing their monophobia.

This condition is caused by an anxiety disorder, and it may manifest in combination with other anxiety disorder-related symptoms. A monophobe may experience extreme panic attacks when left alone, for example, but he or she may not be able to immediately identify the cause of the panic attacks. A person with this condition might recognize that he or she feels uneasy when left alone, for example, but the person may not be able to understand that the root cause of his or her panic attacks and distress involves being alone.

In addition to being afraid of being alone, someone who is monophobic may also experience stress or panic in unfamiliar situations. Some monophobes are afraid of being away from particular people or locations, associating these people and situations with safety and familiarity. This can be a problem for partners who want to travel or spend time with others in a social capacity, and it can be very frustrating for caregivers.

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Because this condition can be intertwined with other symptoms related to an anxiety disorder, it can take time and patience to unravel monophobia and address the root cause. Patients may need to try several treatment approaches and therapists to find a treatment which works for them.

Monophobia is typically diagnosed by a psychologist or psychiatrist, who may also talk about treatment approaches with the patient. It is important to address the anxiety disorder which is at the root of the monophobia, to ensure that the patient does not develop another syndrome caused by the anxiety disorder. For the friends and family of the monophobe, it can be helpful to remember that people with anxiety disorders are typically unable to control their symptoms, and that for some people, deep shame surrounds panic attacks and other stress reactions. As a result, it is important to be supportive, no matter how frustrating it can be.

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Discuss this Article

ej3
Post 46

This sounds like me. I have panic attacks at the thought of being alone, from my earliest memories to now that I'm 38. I have never even applied to drive. I cannot handle even the thought of a stranger in the car with me, and on top of that judging me too! My husband goes everywhere with me.

I also have a fear that everyone is going to die around me or is just going to leave me all alone. It's very stressful. When we do go somewhere, I like one of my kids to go in case something should happen to my husband because I would never get back to the safe place I call home. My panic disorder prevents me from even knowing the neighborhood I grew up in. I have no sense of direction; I just panic. It feels like a heart attack. I start sweating, shaking and crying, or I zone out and it's like I’m not there. I guess the zone out is my brain protecting me from a total shutdown, kind of like the fainting goat thing. I don’t know.

I have a doctor and I’m on medication, but it just dulls the edge. Short of knocking me out, I feel there is no taking it away. It's just who I am, so I try to stay away from people and I feel alone and feel I will be left alone and lost. I have PTSD because of my childhood, OCD, panic and stress disorders. Has anyone ever had these problems?

anon924090
Post 45

In the past year I have not been able to sleep. As soon as my dad puts my dog in my room and closes the door, I start to panic. Sometimes I panic before then at just the thought of being alone at night. I am not scared that something will attack me. I am scared that everyone else in my family will leave me. I usually sleep in my parents' room. This helps me sleep, but then I feel bad because I interrupted their sleep. When I don't go to my parents' room I will start to cry in a panicky way then (what I think is) hyperventilate. Next, I will start shaking and my dog will stare at me weird. The only time I can sleep in my room is when I panic to the point of exhaustion.

I am perfectly fine with being left alone during the day. It is just at night that I have problems.

I also have a fear of vomiting and last year I went 10 nights on medicine because I thought I was sick. I never told my parents because I believed (and still believe) that if I tell them that I am sick I will vomit.

One night my dad came in and told me that if I was going to get sick I would get sick, then he stayed in my room until I fell asleep. I also think that if I am with other people I won't get sick. I might also talk to myself to not get sick. Even just the mere thought of being sick makes me think I am sick.

Right now I am fighting back the emotions of feeling sick. The main problem with this is that I have to keep my mind off the feeling of vomiting so I stay up later. But then I panic when I realize everyone is asleep.

helpme98
Post 44

I am 15 and I cry most nights because I'm scared of being alone and never being loved. I feel like I have no real mates and the ones I hang around with will be out drinking having fun or be with their best friends, having cuddles, and I'm sitting in the house.

I often think about if I killed myself there would be no pain and I'd be non existent. I can't cope with these feelings anymore as this has been happening for about a year. I need help but don't know how to help myself how to block out all the pain and make it better. Help me!

anon354491
Post 41

I am 13 and I think I have this, along with some other problems that I have yet to discover the meanings for. I am always afraid of being a loner and whenever I'm stuck at home alone while everyone else is having "fun" it makes me very upset. I can't sleep without holding onto something (stuffed animal, pillow, etc.)

I used to be fine until I turned 12. I just recently had to have to sleep with something in order to feel safe and not alone. I worry about this constantly, even when I'm with people. I have only told one person about all this and she just brushes it off. I want to ask for help but I'm afraid of being judged and then hated. Can I please have some advice? Thank you to anyone who has taken the time to read this.

anon350796
Post 39

I'm 14 and I have many problems. I can't figure out what's wrong, but I'm not crazy. I really don't think I am. They're always watching me though. they think I'm insane. But I'm not. I feel fine. I can't be alone.

anon347721
Post 38

I have had many problems like this. Whenever I am alone, I start to freak out. At night I'm scared to leave my room because I think I hear things that aren't really there or I can picture something following me when I'm walking alone in my house. I am like this at most times, but when it's dark it doesn't help.

Other times I am in my room all alone, nobody is near me and I can eventually convince myself I'm safe until I stare at the window. This is usually when I begin to realize that my room isn't completely safe, so I practically beg for dear life to bring someone to me so I can hold close to them.

Other times I'll be alone in the house and I will believe something happened to all the others or why they're gone. And if they don't come back, will something happen to me? And I am constantly looking around to make sure there is nothing near me.

It has gotten much better though, from when I was a kid. I could barely sleep alone. I would cry at my door until someone came and took me back. And even when I hear a door or something it catches my attention.

As soon as someone comes home, I rush to greet them, and give them big hugs. As well as when I am alone in a crowd, as soon as I see someone I know, I rush to them so I can greet and hug them.

anon345724
Post 37

I'm usually not left alone at home (I'm 12), but if I am, I get very nervous and panicky. This fear thing doesn't work very well for the area I live in. either. We have tornado watches frequently, and ironically, I'm left alone during most of them, and I panic.

anon339675
Post 36

I think I may have this. I am 12 years old and I am definitely a night person. I am an artist, plus I love music so I often stay up until or past midnight drawing or listening to my iPod. But I know that that is all just a diversion from what I 'm really feeling. Every night, after my parents turn the lights off, I change completely. I have so much trouble falling asleep at night when I know I'm the only one awake. I'm afraid to open my door and look out. I leave the hall light on, but it doesn't stretch far and I have a perfect view of the horrible darkness in front of me. The only light is where I 'm standing and it makes me feel isolated. And I hate it. It's a living nightmare. Any mention of something having to do with paranormal sort of things as I sit in my room alone, well it puts the "para" in paranoid, I tell you.

My parents sleep on the other side of the house and for a very, very long time I refused to sleep in my room, but on the couch outside their door. Why? Well, I watched one -- just one! -- episode of "The Haunted" on Animal Planet and I am so easily disturbed by things like that and I simply could not let it go.

One evening, not too long ago, actually, I felt awful. Horrible. I knew that as soon as those lights went off I was going to be subjected to my fears. Usually, I don't feel scared at all until they go to bed, but something in me started it up early. I actually spent about fifteen minutes in the kitchen, admiring a clove of garlic, sort of running my thumb across it and smiling oddly when the skin crackled. I started yearning to hold onto one of these. I was thinking, "They will protect me from the demons. Should I put salt on my windowsill as well?" Then I collapsed in a chair and felt as if I was about to cry and I just went through some things in my head that usually calm me down. But it didn't work. So I locked myself in my room and cried quietly while whisper-yelling for help.

My stepmother noticed something was wrong and I told her how I felt. That was the first night in a long, long time that I wasn't scared as I fell asleep. But it didn't last and still every night after that, I see the same horrible demons every time I close my eyes and feel as if the poster hitting against my wall is actually the sound of my death creeping ever closer to me. It's hard to divert myself, then.

Now, I don't mind being alone during the day. In fact, I like that very much. Nor have I ever had a panic attack because of this fear. (The only panic attack I've ever had was when I attempted snorkeling. *shudder*) so I do believe that this is only very mild for me. Or is just cornered into a specific section of this fear. Is there a specific phobia of being alone at night? Or is it monophobia I would be classified with? I don't know. But what I do know is that I'm living in what I call hell every time the clock strikes ten and they turn out the lights.

anon336555
Post 35

I'm pretty sure I have this. I get random panic attacks anyway, which are caused by my anxiety, but I'm scared to tell my mum about it because in the past I've tried and she's denied all evidence.

Even going up and knocking at someones door, someone I know, I will freeze up and go into a meltdown. My palms get sweaty and I can't breathe.

anon329690
Post 34

I think I must have this, probably mildly. I'm 14. I hate being in the house by myself, I am just now and I'm locked in the spare room, sweating, with Harry Potter blaring out in front of me, my ipod playing in my bedroom, my dad's radio on, the telly on downstairs, the computer on a web programme and a radio on in the kitchen but I'm still scared that there's someone in the house, or I'll suddenly die. I hate it.

I can't leave the room because I am so scared. At nights I find it very hard to fall asleep especially if everyone else has gone to bed, i often lie awake for hours, petrified that there is someone in my room, occasionally I go running into my mum and dads room but they just moan at me. It's horrible and I really don't know what to do. It's taking over my life.

anon328476
Post 33

I'm pretty sure I have this, just because of the fact that I can't be away from a human being for more than a few minutes. But over the years, I have developed a strategy that actually works at night: I always have two pillows. I keep one next to me that I snuggle my back up against (as I would against someone else's back if they were next to me) and one that I wrap my arms around (that's just a personal preference).

I always have a light on, and I have my radio on. It's really helpful. One other thing I do quite often (though it completely destroys your cell phone) is falling asleep on the phone with someone else (especially if they're your lover or partner or whatever you like to call it). It does, however, destroy your phone. It makes the battery all screwed up, but in my opinion it's worth it. Monophobia is a nightmare, and I wish it would go away, but I've learned to cope -- mostly.

anon314781
Post 31

I might as well join in the conversation. I think I have emetophobia. I can barely fall to sleep during the nights because no one's next to me. It's hard for me to fall asleep even when everyone is awake in the house (it's not them disturbing me, its the fact that no one is next to me). And when everyone is asleep, I won't fall asleep. During nights like these, I get up, sometimes in the middle of the night, and literally almost run to my parents' room to get my mom. I'm 16.

Sometimes it gets my dad really mad because he doesn't like the fact that I "want" to be with my mom while sleeping, but he doesn't understand I just can't sleep alone. So this is going to the point where sometimes he yells at me for getting her but I can't help it. When she's with me, I feel 100 percent better and can fall asleep immediately sometimes (at times it still takes me a while to fall asleep, but it's way better when she's there).

Like other people, I always feel like something is going to jump at me or scare me or hurt me. I don't know why, they are the stupidest thoughts ever. I watch scary things, sure, and I enjoy them, and they usually aren't the things to torture me mentally at night. It could be anything, and I can almost cry from the thought of something scaring me. What I watch doesn't affect me, yet my dad thinks so. I hate being alone in the house. Like others, I have to have at least some music on or the TV or entertain myself with something.

I don't know how this is going to work out when I leave to go to college, when I'll have to live alone. In unfamiliar places, I get more scared than usual too. And at some nights too when it's incredibly hot (I live in Florida), I still leave my blanket on me because if I take it off I just feel so uneasy and scared and unsafe. I have to have my fan on; the noise helps me fall asleep. It stinks. For once, I wish I could fall asleep easily and actually have a good nights sleep. I never went to a psychologist or anything; my parents would never want to take me, and I don't want to go. I kind of find it pointless, and don't see how anyone can help it.

I found the problem myself and have tried to help myself and at times it works, but in the end, nope. I never had any anxiety attacks, but sometimes I feel like I have to burst out crying, just from the fear. When I'm out in public, there's a ton of people around me, yet I have to get someone on my phone and talk to someone, or I can't help but feel weird and alone. My case isn't as bad as others, fortunately, and for others, I really hope everyone can feel relief eventually.

anon301213
Post 29

Great info. My panic attacks 15 years ago led to some OCD, and have manifested into monophobia recently and I still have all three. Any ideas?

I work and manage it all through planning and a lot of stress, because I keep a lot from my partner of twenty years. I just woke up one night and had a panic attack and the rest is 15 years of a nightmare that is ruining my life.

anon297365
Post 28

@anon131316: I completely agree with you but I keep thinking that there is someone behind me and when I wake up for school, all the lights downstairs in my house are dark and I feel really scared like someone is there. There are six people in my family, but when I wake up for school, everyone is sleeping and I think to myself that's not fair! Please someone help me!

anon295388
Post 27

My parents were cleaning my room because they wanted me to sleep in my room because I've been sleeping in my parents' room or my brother's room for my whole life.

I'm 13 and I wish I could sleep by myself but when I try and close my eyes I get so scared that someone's there and when it is really hot I still have to have the blanket with me or else I get a panic attack when I'm by myself. I really need help please.

anon271326
Post 26

I'm always afraid and I don't like to be alone. I am not relaxed unless my husband is beside me. Then, I am happy and relaxed. Please can you advise me on what to do? I want to know if I have monophobia? Why am I always afraid to be alone and can't go out or go to the store alone?

anon251582
Post 23

I also have monophobia. I've been told it stems from my agoraphobia and I know it has been because of past events in my life! Yet I used to be so independent. Now I can't even be in the house on my own without being on the phone and knowing someone will be with me within minutes. My mother has to sit with me while my partner fetches my children from the school. The other alternative is to go with him!

It's ruling my life and I feel like such a failure. I want to beat it and am doing cognitive behavioral therapy, but I don't feel I can go at the pace they are setting for me.

anon247679
Post 22

I'm 16 years old, and I never really thought about me having this problem until my mom told me about it. She told me I've being afraid of being alone almost all my life, and she said it was a sickness, kind of a harsh word, but I know its true.

I've had nightmares all my life about people dying in my family and so I thought I was afraid of death, but then I actually thought of it and noticed that I'm afraid of losing people I love and being alone in life. I have always slept with my younger brother, and when he doesn't sleep with me, I just get the weirdest feeling ever and I get, in a way, sad. When I'm in my room alone and not talking to anyone, I just start crying. It's the worst feeling ever.

I decided to tell my best friend about my problem and she totally understood me. She's always there when I need her, and I guess she's the only reason why I'm getting through this. I love her.

I guess the key thing to this is admitting you have it so other people could help you. You can't keep your feelings bottled inside.

anon240615
Post 21

I am 15. I have had Monophobia my whole life! I get all the symptoms and out of my life span have had 10 anxiety attacks. This phobia is life crushing for me. People have been making fun of me for it too! If this helps anyone, a thing I usually do when I have to be left alone is turn on at least one tv (I usually watch something live) and one radio, make sure I have my cell phone and a home phone by me at all times, get on a website (facebook) or anything other where I am able to communicate with other live human beings, and I also text or call some friends. It doesn't help me fully, but it does help a little. Try it.

anon213172
Post 20

I'm 15, and I've had monophobia at night basically all my life. It got too much a few months ago with all my GCSE's coming up, so my mum booked a doctor's appointment without me knowing and the first few times I just cried, not wanting to go, but now I'm so glad I did. I had counselling and surprisingly it worked.

I think it will never work fully as I still have the odd occasion, but now I know how to deal with it and to get better so now I want to advise people that it is curable. You just need to admit you need help.

anon186559
Post 19

Monophobia is a symptom. I know I have it, but only recently I discovered it is caused by an anxiety disorder and can be associated or shown with other symptoms. It does help to acknowledge and accept it, but there´s work to be done.

I've been suffering from panic disorder for 13 years now and am gradually overcoming it. It is curable and treatable. So hang in there since there's lot to be done for yourself. The beginning is hard but once past that, it gets easier.

anon180473
Post 18

I realized I had monophobia and found it difficult to sleep alone or be alone when my long term relationship ended. It was the worst time of my life as my children left home around the same time.

I went for therapy and one thing that really helped me was my therapist telling me I can never be alone because I had me (myself). So how could I be alone? This helped, although I still feel scared being alone. I am managing and can tolerate sleeping alone and being alone. I hope this helps.

anon169463
Post 17

I have had monophobia since my childhood days. Now I am 66 years old and I see I have monophobia. I believe the source of my monophobia derives from the event that took place during my childhood days.

My mom locked the door from outside and went away and I was worried that if an earthquake occurred, what would have happened? Since we have earthquakes so often in the western part of Turkey. I have also agoraphobia and am afraid that I may be trapped somewhere.

anon167032
Post 16

i think i have monophobia. I'm afraid of being alone and when im alone in our home i always opening the door and turning the tv with the music player. i always want to have people around me, and i don't want to be separated to the special people around me. I'm afraid of losing them.

anon165612
Post 15

I am 12 years old and i am positive i have this. i have to sleep near my parents and it's driving me and them insane. It helps to know that i am not crazy.

anon149255
Post 14

I know I have this problem. I have for years and have only just been diagnosed. now my husband has left me and my kids have turned against me because I get so panicky.

I've been a good mum and wife but now he's telling my daughters I'm crazy. It is so unfair. I still love them all, but feel my life is over because of this wretched illness. maybe we should all get together and raise awareness of it. --mss

anon147311
Post 13

I think I have monophobia. I used to hate sleeping alone, until i created a kind of character that acts like a sort of older brother. He is there at night and most of the time during the day, but sometimes I forget that I have him, like one day, I woke up late for school.

I dashed downstairs and called for my dad, no answer. I looked everywhere but couldn't find him, then I had a panic attack (dun dun dun!) I got something like an asthma attack, only I don't have asthma. Events like this have happened before, usually at school. I would be having an attack, I find some sort of teacher, my breathing is restored.

anon132504
Post 11

I am a college student. I sleep with my friend most nights. I knew I didn't like sleeping alone, but I never thought it a problem before last night. My friend and I didn't sleep together. When I awoke this morning and realized I was alone, and I had the oddest feeling of depression that swept over like a blanket. Now I realize this is a problem. I'm not always going to have friends to sleep with. How on earth am I going to fix this?

anon131316
Post 10

I think I have monophobia because I can't sleep alone at night. I always need someone sleeping with me to feel completely secure. But it's causing my parents to have sleepless nights as well, so last night I slept in this other room with a long chair (without them knowing) but the stranger problem now is that I only fall asleep for about 10 minutes and then wake up again and its very repetitive.

I know why I can't get to sleep in my bedroom is because I've seen too many horror movies and imagine then watching over me like staring at my face if my eyes are closed and it's terrifying and I start to cry and deep breathe. I want help. I'm only 11.

anon127312
Post 9

i am afraid of being alone but i can sleep by myself. I'm not afraid of someone jumping out at me. I'm afraid of being alone or not knowing where my family is and I'm afraid of them not coming back.

anon109346
Post 8

I am really afraid of being alone and even when in my own home i can't go upstairs without knowing that someone is there. When i am alone, i am always worrying that someone will jump out at me or that someone is going to hurt me.

If i am in the position where i have to be alone i must keep myself occupied by watching T.V or i will really panic. I have recently come back off holiday and whilst there if ever i needed the toilet i would need someone to come with me and wait outside the cubicle. i am permanently worried about being alone and always thinking of excuses to tell people why i can't be alone.

anon103621
Post 7

For most of my life i thought I had insomnia because I couldn't sleep alone, but now that I noticed monophobia, that just sums up my life. I can't sleep alone. I always have to have someone beside me or else i can't sleep. Please help me. This has been happening for four years and I'm sick of it.

anon97966
Post 6

i feel exactly the same as these other people. It's hardest when trying to sleep alone. i get really depressed and terrified to leave my bed. even if i really need the toilet or a drink, i can't do it.

i have to always be with someone. when i am alone for too long, even just an hour, it dramatically changes my mood so much like someone else said almost to what feels like insanity.

It's hard to explain how you feel but it's like you feel like something really bad is going to happen and it's because you're alone. As soon as someone else is there, anyone its fine. this is really getting me down as I've just broken up with my long term partner and don't know what to do so i always sleep alone now but it's really hard.

I had this before i was with him and during but not as much but now it's come back ten times worse. any advice would be helpful.

anon95965
Post 5

I think i have monophobia. I can't sleep alone and i always have to have somebody there with me. I can't travel on a bus unless somebody is with me and even then i feel uneasy. In the small time when i am alone i have to have the tv or my computer so i don't feel abandoned but even then i feel depressed and it's hard get me out of the feeling. Then i start thinking something bad is going to happen and i get a little panicked.

anon91260
Post 4

I feel like i constantly have to be with someone. It doesn't matter who it is, but i get upset and feel depressed if I'm alone. I always start thinking about sad things, and i feel like if I'm alone for too long, it alters my mood to a state of insanity.

anon90412
Post 3

I have monophobia because, unlike some people, i don't like to have the house all to myself. i always have to have the tv on so i don't feel lonely. I'm always afraid something bad is going to happen and i won't be able to get some help from people. can you help me?

anon87224
Post 2

I have monophobia -- the fear of being alone. I usually have to be with my mom or dad or else. I get really scared and get very sick even if they're gone for one hour. When my parents leave to work and take me to school it is very hard because I'm afraid people might make fun of me. How can I stop this?

anon78836
Post 1

I have a problem sleeping at the house alone. currently i live with my husband but his job requires a lot of travelling which is affecting my sleep and problem is i normally have to be up for work at 7 in the morning. any advice on this issue?

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