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Haphophobia: the fear of being touched

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Our fears range from rational to more popular irrational phobias. Initially natural phobias were the only kind of fears that humans had to face, but with changing lifestyles a number of illogical fears have come up.

Haphophobia is a dislike or fear of being touched by someone. It is a kind of tendency wherein a person does not like his privacy to be intruded by someone else. Some people also relate sexual fears to the fear of being touched as both these fears are interlinked.

In some cases, fear of being touched may relate to sexual fears. Some people fear being touched because they are afraid of being contaminated. Many haphophobics are fearful of their personal space being encroached upon by others. It is also known as haphephobia, aphephobia or thixophobia.

As in case of other phobias, a person suffering from haphophobia must have experienced a trauma at some point in their life. This fear of being touched finds its roots in those people who have been victims of sexual and physical abuse.

Celebrities have to remain in the public eye and personal contact is a part and routine of their lives. British reality TV star and daughter of Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, Kelly, suffers from haphophobia.

Kelly is actually afraid of being touched specially on her collarbone. Giving an interview, Kelly’s brother, Jack, said: “All you have to do is just touch her collarbone. It’s awesome, she starts dry-retching.”

According to Jack, she definitely has a phobia about being touched.

Symptoms of haphophobia vary depending on the individual and sufferers might feel uncomfortable or nauseated. Haphophobics might also experience breathlessness, trembling, dry mouth, heightened senses, rapid heartbeat, numbness, dizziness and a strong feeling of being trapped. The best way to conquer this fear of touch is to opt for a massage which is done so as to address the person’s both physical and psychological state. It is important to make the sufferer feel the pleasantness of being touched and make them understand it is not something to be afraid of.

Celebrities who are plagued by their phobias include Justin TimberlakeChristina RicciWoody Allen and Billy Bob Thornton.

Image: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/823573

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