Do you have an irrational fear of large crowds? If so, you may suffer from Enochlophobia, also known by the name Demiphobia. It’s more common than you think.

I have many phobias. I can’t say which, at the moment, affects me more, but I know I am afraid of crowds, that’s one of them. I don’t like being around groups of people that much and I even shy away from a single person if I get a strange vibe from them.

Anyway, Enochlophobia, or Demiphobia, whichever name you’re familiar with, has more than one cause. You can never be certain which cause is responsible until you get to know a person for a bit.

Causes of the fear of crowds

My son is afraid of little spiders, and I can tell you why. It’s because he swatted at a spider egg sack and it burst, sending baby spiders all into his curly hair. That was when he was a toddler. He is still afraid of them, thus, he has arachnophobia. Needless to say, there are many other causes of this fear too.

Now, back to Enochlophobia. What are the basic causes that we know?

Why are you afraid?

1. Past trauma

Well, as with my son’s hair full of spiders, something just as horrific could cause the fear of crowds.

Let’s look at an example. Say, you were a small child at a festival with your parents, and for some reason you became lost. In only a moment, a large group of people broke out into a riot and you were swallowed by the large group. You were pushed to and fro and almost trampled to the ground. Eventually, when you made your way out and found your parents, you were traumatized.

It’s possible that many of these kinds of things happened to you, and if they did, you grew up to hate large crowds. It’s kind of obvious, right? Past traumas or events can cause phobias to develop, and these phobias take time to heal if they ever do. I believe there’s a way to cure most every phobia, to be honest.

2. Genetics

If your mother and father hate crowds, maybe you will too. Maybe you already know and you are an entire family of Enoclophobians. Anyway, it could have been your grandmother who hated crowds and the gene passed down to you. Although it does seem kind of weird to think about it this way, genetics can be to blame.

3. Introverted anxiety

I am an introvert, and I hate crowds. When I am surrounded by people, I start sweating and my heart begins to race. That’s because I don’t like being around people, and my anxiety makes it worse when it’s a crowded situation. Unfortunately, there are so many of my loved ones who do not understand why I act strange when approaching a large group of people.

I know that being an introvert doesn’t mean you have to be anxious, but I am. I can stay at home alone all day and be perfectly happy. I can enjoy my family when they come home too, but I don’t like surprise visits and my anxiety hates those crowds. So, there you go, another cause of enochlophobia.

4. Wrong beliefs

If someone has never been in a crowd of people before, which is rare, they may depend on someone else to tell them what it’s like. The wrong person can tell them horror stories about crowds. This can actually cause them to develop a fear of crowds before they ever endure it for themselves.

As I said, I think this is a rather rare cause, but it is a cause none-the-less, especially for children or teens who’ve never experience festivals or concerts.

5. Chemical imbalances

Enochlophobia can come from imbalances in certain chemicals within the brain. For instance, bipolar disorder, with its drastic ups and downs, can trigger this fear of crowds.

Maybe it doesn’t seem sensible to think the mania side of this illness would cause this phobia, but it can. As mania rises higher and higher, panic can sometimes ensue. Being in large crowds is obviously stimulating and extra stimulation to the manic person is never a good thing. It can cause terrible consequences.

Help for the Enochlophobia

Although the fear of crowds can be suffocating and seem like something you will never shake, it’s okay, I understand. There are a few things you can do to alleviate those fears. Here are a few simple steps:

  • Breathe deeply, over and over and allow your heart rate to slow.
  • Focus on something. An object or a person, until you’ve removed a bit of the dizzy feelings.
  • Always have someone for support when you know there will be massive crowds.
  • If you have to, take your mind somewhere else and let the noise fade into the distance.
  • You can also learn desensitization, or enduring smaller crowds, until you can take the larger ones.

Phobias are no joke, trust me. It’s going to take some time to get over something that seems to have complete control over your mind and your entirety of a person.

The best thing to do is to practice these steps and have mercy for yourself. Try to hold your head up high and ignore anyone who sees your problems as an excuse. I know about that, I’ve been told that many of my issues weren’t even real. So, first of all, get all that nonsense out of your head right now.

If you want to cure your fear of crowds, then you do it at your own pace. I’m rooting for you!

References:

  1. https://www.nimh.nih.gov
  2. https://www.scientificamerican.com

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