Androphobia is defined as the fear of men. The term originated within the feminist and lesbian-feminist movements to balance the opposite term “gynophobia,” which means fear of women.

What is androphobia?

Misandry, another term that emerged from the feminist and lesbian-feminist movements, is defined as a hatred of men. The opposite of misandry is misogyny, which means a hatred of women. Both men and women can be affected by androphobia.

What are the symptoms of androphobia?

Symptoms of androphobia can include:

  • an instant and intense fear, anxiety or panic when you see or think of men
  • an awareness that your fear of men is irrational or inflated, but you feel like you can’t control it
  • anxiety that worsens as a man gets physically closer to you
  • actively avoiding men or situations where you might run into men; o feeling intense worry or fear in situations where you are with men
  • trouble doing your daily activities because you are afraid of men
  • reactions to your fears that manifest themselves physically, such as sweating, fast heartbeat, chest tightness, or shortness of breath
  • nausea, dizziness, or fainting when around or thinking about men

In children, androphobia can manifest as tantrums with clinging, crying, or refusing to leave a mother or approach a man.

What causes a person to develop androphobia?

Androphobia is considered a specific phobia because it is an overwhelming and irrational fear of something (in this case, men) that do not pose a real danger but that “manage to cause anxiety and avoidance behaviors.”

Androphobia, like other specific phobias, is long-lasting and can negatively affect your ability to carry out everyday activities, such as work, education, and social relationships.

The exact cause of this phobia is not well understood, but some possibilities include:

  • Negative past experiences with men, such as rape, physical assault, mental or physical abuse, neglect, or sexual harassment
  • Genetics and your environment, which may include learned behavior
  • Changes in how the brain works

Some people are more at risk for this phobia than others.

Those most at risk include:

  • Children (most phobias, including androphobia, present in early childhood, usually by age 10)
  • Relatives who have had phobias or anxiety (this can be the result of inherited or learned behavior)
  • A sensitive, inhibited, or negative temperament or personality
  • A past negative experience with men
  • Hearing secondhand about a negative experience with men from a friend, family member, or even a stranger

Should you see a psychologist?

Androphobia can start out as a minor annoyance, but it can become a major hindrance in your daily life.

You should see your doctor if the anxiety caused by your androphobia is:

  • negatively affecting their work or school performance
  • impair your social relationships or ability to be social
  • interfere with your daily activities

Your doctor can refer you to a mental health professional.

It is especially important to address any suspected cases of androphobia in children. Sometimes children get over their fears. But this problem can greatly affect a child’s ability to function in society.

Your fears must be addressed with professional medical help.

If you ask your doctor to be tested for androphobia, they will talk with you about your symptoms and medical, psychiatric, and social history.

Your GP will also perform a physical exam to rule out physical problems that may be triggering your anxiety.

If your doctor suspects that you have androphobia or other anxiety disorders, he or she will refer you to a mental health expert for more specialized treatment.

How is androphobia treated?

Most people with androphobia can recover through therapy sessions. The main treatment for this disorder is psychotherapy, also called talk therapy.

The two most common forms of psychotherapy used to treat this fear are exposure therapy and behavioral therapy.

In some cases, medications are also used as part of the treatment plan.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is designed to change the way you respond to men.

You will be gradually and repeatedly exposed to things that you associate with men.

And ultimately, you will be exposed to a real life man or men. Over time, these gradual exposures should help you manage the thoughts, feelings, and sensations associated with your fear of men.

For example, your therapist may first show you photos of men and then have you listen to voice recordings of men.

After that, your therapist will make you watch videos of men, and then slowly get closer to a real life man.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy uses exposure in combination with other therapeutic techniques to teach you different ways to view and treat your fear of men.

Your therapist will teach you how to do it:

  • See your fear in a different way
  • Coping with bodily sensations associated with fear
  • Coping emotionally with the impact your fear has had on your life

CBT sessions will help you gain a sense of confidence or mastery of your thoughts and feelings rather than feeling dominated by them.

Medicines

Psychotherapy is generally very effective in treating androphobia. But sometimes it is helpful to use medications that can reduce feelings of anxiety or panic attacks associated with androphobia.

These medications should be used at the beginning of treatment to help facilitate your recovery and always under prescription.

Another appropriate use is for infrequent, short-term situations where your anxiety prevents you from doing something necessary, such as seeking medical treatment from a man or going to the emergency room.

Medications that are commonly used to treat androphobia include:

  • Beta blockers : Beta blockers control the effects of anxiety-induced adrenaline in the body. Adrenaline can cause uncomfortable, sometimes dangerous physical symptoms, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, pounding of the heart, as well as tremors in the voice and limbs.
  • Sedatives: Benzodiazepines help you feel calmer by reducing your anxiety. These medications should be used with caution because they can be addictive. If you have a history of alcohol or drug abuse, avoid taking benzodiazepines.

What’s the outlook for androphobia?

Androphobia can negatively affect your quality of life. Possible complications include social withdrawal, mood disorders, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts or attempts.

It is important that you seek help if you need it, especially if you have children who are or could be affected by your phobia.

With treatment, you can reduce your anxiety and live your life to the fullest.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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