Anthropophobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by
an abnormal, irrational, and intense fear or dread of
people or human companionship. The term is not
frequently used in Western society but is common in
China and Japan. Essential anthropophobia symptoms
include fear of making eye contact and fear of being
watched by others. This is believed to reflect a fear of
being judged or evaluated by others, which is an
essential feature of social phobia. Thus, anthropohobia
is considered a subtype of social phobia. Social events
and parties would be avoided by someone with social
phobia and anthropophobia.
Most people with anthropophobia experience their distress cognitively (in their mind) as
opposed to converting stress into physical symptoms.
People with anthropophobia have been found to have problematic relationships with their
parents, a higher need for approval by their parents, increased feelings of discomfort
when interacting with the opposite sex, and increased feelings of social conformity
compared to other groups of subjects. If placed in a social situation, someone with
anthropophobia will likely manifest as poor eye contact, may blush (revealing anxiety),
and seem uncomfortable and socially awkward. Some patients with anthropophobia are
While it is common for some people to be shy or timid,
anthropophobia is an extreme manifestation of these
characteristics. This can occur in crowds of people but also in one
on one social situations. As with most psychiatric conditions, the
severity can be mild, moderate, or severe. In severe forms, the
person withdraws from all personal physical relationships and phone
conversations and only communicates with others through writing.
While the strong Chinese and Japanese associations with
anthropophobia indicate strong cultural influences, some have
argued that the condition may be inherited.
Anthropophobia is also known as anthrophobia and interpersonal relation phobia. In Japan, it is known as
Anthropophobia comes from the Greek word "anthropo" meaning "human," and the Greek word "phobos"
meaning "fear." Put the two words together and you have "fear (of) humans."