To understand and treat olophobia, differentiation to agoraphobia

Understand fear

Oloophobia and the fear of crowds, crowds, crowded places …

As Ochlophobie is called the irrational and exaggerated fear of many people and crowds. It is all about crowded places, crowds and the associated fear of being crushed or trampled .

Irrational and exaggerated is fear, because the accumulation of human beings is in fact by no means threatening. According to ICD-10, however, the ochlophobia is not among the specific phobias classified, but under the Agoraphobia (F40.0). Both are, however not congruent and it may even occur exactly opposite behaviors in those affected.

Differentiation from agoraphobia

The agoraphobia means the fear of public, wide squares, of travel and also of crowds of people. To diagnose agoraphobia, ICD-10 requires at least two of the following situations to be confirmed as an anxiety trigger:

  • public places
  • to travel alone
  • to travel far away from home
  • crowds

In the case of olophobia, however, there is the Just scared to the last point, the crowds, based. So she is one possible but not necessary partial aspect of agoraphobia. It can also occur completely independently of it as mere fear of crowded crowds and in front of crowds.

Affected persons of an olophobia can e.g. particularly large and wide public places prefer, because there the danger of narrow crowds is smaller, while affected the Agoraphobie also the width of the place itself can frighten. (see also

Symptoms and course

As with all phobias, the feared object can trigger anxiety from mild discomfort to panic attack in ochlophobia (see also panic attacks). Typical symptoms include pulse acceleration, palpitations, sweating, dry mouth, flushing, difficulty breathing, and dizziness (see Anxiety and Panic Attacks Symptoms).

Both the symptoms and the specific anxiety-causing situations vary individually. Essentially, the fear is always in front of crowded people, so either large crowds of people or too many people too little space. The latter can also include public transport or just small or full premises.

Affected people of the ochlophobia can therefore have problems with all events in which it comes to large collections such as concerts, celebrations, fairs or weekly markets. In addition, there are situations in which there is a danger of dense crowding even in fewer people than in narrow streets, squares, buses, trains, trains and even rooms.

In the case of olophobia, the avoidance behavior can lead to those who avoid a large part of public or even social situations. Depending on the severity and individual situation, avoiding such anxiety-inducing situations can be quite successful, so that the phobia is not perceived as having a significant negative effect. On the contrary, however, it can be perceived as a great impairment that can lead to social isolation and great dissatisfaction.

Olophobia causes

The exact causes for an ochlophobia can be diverse and are often difficult to identify. Phobias are usually caused by negative or traumatic experiences through or with the corresponding anxiety-causing object. The object does not even have to be the cause of the negative experience, it can also be sufficient if it correlates with it by chance (cf also anxiety disorders cause).

An ochophobia can therefore arise when someone (often as a child) has had bad experiences with large crowds. This can actually be the feeling or the fear of being crushed. But it can also be another event that happens to happen in a large crowd or a dense crowd.

In addition, as already stated, olophobia can be part of an agoraphobia. In untreated anxiety disorders, the fear-filled objects often expand, so that other forms of anxiety disorder can be the cause.

Therapy and healing

The right treatment depends on whether olophobia really only occurs as an independent phobia, whether it has to be considered as a subset of agoraphobia, or whether it has its causes in other mental illnesses. Depending on this, then the corresponding disease must be treated as such (see also anxiety disorders treatment).

As an independent phobia can ochlophobia with the exposure therapy be treated well. This also applies to the agoraphobia, so that the demarcation here only plays a minor role.

Confrontational therapy consists of a cautious habituation of the phobic to the anxiety-triggering situation through a cautious confrontation with it. In the case of ochlophobia, in contrast to agoraphobia, this affects only large crowds or situations or places with dense crowding.

Confrontational Therapy is commonly used for phobias as extremely successful. Although those affected by the intensity of their anxiety often take the opposite, there are very good chances of recovery in phobias of all kinds.

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Christina Cherry
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