Greet a person we know with two kisses, give him a hug or a handshake are gestures that are frequently used in society and that have had to be limited due to the coronavirus pandemic. But, What other consequences has it had on the emotional and mental health of the population?

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The health crisis and the consequent prevention and safety measures, such as the widespread use of masks and frequent hand hygiene, has generated a notable increase in cases of hafephobia among the population.

What does this word mean? It is an anxiety disorder characterized by “an irrational fear of touching or being touched by other people “, stand out in the Claritas Psychological Institute.

This phobia generates deep suffering in those who suffer from it and has a consequent negative impact on social relationships and daily routine. In this sense, the main cause of this increase is due to the fear of contagion, especially when we are in the second wave of the pandemic.

What are the causes?

Haphephobia can be caused by different reasons, although in most cases it is caused by a specific event or event that triggers this phobia. In fact, one of the main causes of this type of disorder is having had a traumatic experience.

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In other cases “it arises from vicarious learning or from observing our closest environment. The person gradually begins to avoid that stimulus that generates fear or discomfort, and that causes the fear of the stimulus to increase, “they add.

No doubt the fear of contagion and uncertainty are reasons that have been able to trigger this problem in many people who experience this sensation when shopping, when taking the bus and even at the office.

What are the symptoms like? Can it be treated?

But what are the red flags? How does this disorder manifest itself in those who suffer from it? Intense and persistent fear can generate a variety of reactions, such as irrational thoughts and concentration difficulties.

On a physical level, the most common symptoms are usually sweating, chills, flushing, rapid heart rate, or hyperventilation by exposing yourself to this situation that generates fear and anxiety. On the other hand, one of the behavioral signs that this problem shows is when this stimulus is avoided, in this case touching or being touched.

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If this disorder lasts over time and greatly affects any daily activity, it is necessary to go to the appropriate professionals to overcome this type of specific phobia. One of the ways to overcome this fear is through exposure treatment, that is, gradually expose yourself to the stimulus that generates this sensation. The Claritas Institute highlights the following tips:

  • Identify and address the root of the problem.
  • Practice breathing, relaxation, or meditation techniques to reduce anxiety.
  • Be gradually exposed to contact.
  • Set small goals that can be achieved progressively.
  • Request help from psychology professionals specialized in this type of disorder.-