Haphephobia: Fear of being touched

Haphephobia Fear of being touched


In an increasingly crowded world, it is normal that we want to protect and maintain our personal space, that said each person has their way of doing it, but as in all cases, there are extremes, in this case the disorder of hafephobia makes reference to fear of being touched .

This disorder is a specific phobia, that is, the fear of something specific, it can be considered as the exacerbation of normal behaviors and behaviors that people usually have to protect their personal space, that called intimate space.

Those who suffer from this phobia may suffer irrational fear of physical contact, even with people they know.

It is also known as Aphenphosphobia, most human beings have a certain predisposition to protect their space, and even more so their own physical integrity, however, when that condition is exaggerated, becoming an irrational repulsion to have contact with other people , even known, feeling irritation just because of being brushed, it is usually a psychotic disorder called aphenphosphobia.


It should be noted that it is rare , and that a series of physiological reactions that go hand in hand with fear is represented, therefore this disorder can become physically and mentally exhausting for those who suffer from it.

This can have different origins, there are people who are born with this phobia, but the most common cause is that it is developed after a traumatic incident such as a robbery, any kind of physical aggression, ranging from robbery, kidnapping to a violation, the latter is usually the most common.

This type of illness makes the individual fear contamination or invasion, even extended to people whom the phobic person knows well.

Compared to so many other phobias, it is a fear that appears in the face of certain situations that the individual faces, in this case before the possibility of being touched, which could be by a person, animal or thing, the fear or fear begins to be harmful to the patient’s life when it limits us to do what we want.

From interviews that have been done to people with this phobia, it has been possible to obtain information that some feel when they are touched and that they can feel that physical contact burns them.

Since this disorder is quite easy to identify, it is easier to get people who suffer from it to resort to treatment to overcome this phobia.


Like any disorder, this can vary greatly depending on the person, having something very mild such as the fear that a stranger will make physical contact with those people, even something quite profound such as having irrational fear even of physical contact with emotionally close people, such as the person’s parents or their sentimental partner.

Psychologically, the individual who is affected by this type of phobias, limits his activities to the point of social isolation , for fear of being touched, usually cancels activities due to fear of the possibility of being close to what for which he does not want to be touched. ,

This aversion manifests as an intense fear or panic when being touched, in other words, we could define it as fear of physical contact. This happens regardless of the person with whom the affected person comes into contact.

Someone may even be unable to hug their own parents without having to deal with feelings of great fear or anxiety caused by the same physical interaction.

The person may back away quickly to avoid physical contact ( reflex action ).

A brief list of what can happen to those who suffer from haphephobia, these symptoms go hand in hand with fear and anxiety such as: Discomfort, increased perspiration, rapid breathing, rapid and strong heartbeats, dryness in the mouth, hyperventilation, muscle tension, nausea, among others.


Hafephobia has a treatment similar to that of other phobias, it is usually among the most effective behavioral and cognitive therapies that seek to find the origin of fear and a way to combat it.

Cognitive therapy is often used to identify the cause of the disorder, especially if it has a traumatic origin such as the person having been the victim of sexual abuse, while behavioral therapy is used to help people who suffer from disorders of this type to control their behavior, providing support and tools to people so that they can respond appropriately to external stimuli and be able to face the day to day without the need to live in fear of something.

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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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