What Is Haphephobia and How Can You Manage Fear of Touch


What Is Haphephobia and How Can You Manage Fear of Touch?

The word “haph” means fear or dread in Greek. So when someone says they have haphophobia, what they mean is they are afraid of being touched. They may feel scared if their hands are suddenly grabbed, even if it’s just a stranger touching them on the arm.

People with this phobia tend to avoid certain situations where they might have to interact with others. For example, they may avoid going into crowded places like theaters, restaurants, movie theatres and amusement parks. They may also avoid going to certain types of events such as funerals and other social gatherings.

Some people with this phobia don’t actually experience any physical symptoms. Others do experience some mild discomfort or anxiety when encountering strangers who are likely to touch them without permission (or worse).

People with haphephobia may also worry about the possibility of having to physically defend themselves from another person. This can be dangerous if the situation ever becomes serious enough to require it.

Most people with this phobia are aware that their anxiety is not really reasonable or justified. They usually know that even the threat of violence is unlikely in most social situations and would only actually happen in very rare circumstances. However, the fear is still very real for them and they cannot seem to get past it.


Haphephobia is not usually something that someone develops overnight. Instead, it usually comes from a traumatic or stressful event that occurred at some point in the person’s life. It may have involved an assault, a natural disaster or war experience, for example.

People with haphephobia may have had an isolated experience where they were grabbed or held down against their will. Others may have had an ongoing situation in which a relative, family member, or friend violated their personal space on a regular basis.

Children who have been the victims of sexual abuse are at risk of developing haphephobia later in life. Often they feel that they should have been able to prevent the assault from happening. They may then start taking steps to avoid all future encounters with other people, thinking that it will always result in violence of some sort.


Some people with haphephobia do not seek treatment because they are aware that their fear is unreasonable and don’t want to discuss the reason behind it. They may only seek treatment for some of the physical symptoms such as headaches or nausea.

Others, however, are more open to discussing and working through the root of the problem. They may be more willing to see a therapist or psychiatrist in order to gain some insight and move past the phobia.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy has proved to be the most successful form of treatment. Through this therapy, people with haphephobia work through their negative thoughts and beliefs in order to gain a different perspective. They learn that not every social situation will result in violence and aggression, even if they feel threatened by another person.

In some cases, anti-anxiety medication may be necessary in order to alleviate the more immediate physical symptoms. In other cases, medication may be prescribed to help address the root of the problem. If medication is used, it will usually be in conjunction with therapy in order to maximize the effectiveness.

For most people suffering from haphephobia, there is hope for full recovery. It is possible to live a normal life without fear of being grabbed or touched by another person. Most importantly, treatment works if the person genuinely wants to move past this fear.


If you suffer from haphephobia, there are many different treatment options that can help you to live a normal life free of fear. You don’t have to let this phobia dictate your daily activities. Take the first step and contact one of the reputable treatment centers listed below:

1. Centers for Behavioral Health – Located in California, this hospital offers a range of services for people suffering from anxiety and phobias.

They offer both inpatient and outpatient programs, and can help to arrange follow-up visits after a patient has been discharged.

2. Center for Stress and Anxiety Treatment – With locations in Texas and Missouri, this treatment center focuses on helping people overcome their anxiety disorders.

They offer a number of services, including therapy, medication management, and nutrition advice.

3. National Mental Health Association – This organization works to improve the lives of those living with mental health illnesses.

They provide information and resources for mental health inquiries, and can connect you with local treatment centers across the United States.

4. Anxiety and Depression Association of America – This nonprofit organization helps to provide information and resources for people living with anxiety disorders.

They can also put you in touch with local support groups or recommended doctors/therapists in your area.

5. The Center for Cognitive Behavioral Psychotherapy – This healthcare facility has centers located in several different locations in the United States.

Their treatment plans are specifically designed to address the issues that cause phobias and anxiety disorders.

6. WebMD – The exhaustive symptom guide on this website can be a helpful tool when handling your own health concerns.

It also includes detailed descriptions of several different types of phobias, including haphephobia.

7. Anxiety Disorder Association of America – This organization provides information and resources for anyone looking for help with anxiety or panic disorders.

It also includes an extensive database of treatment centers across the country.

8. Help for Panic and Anxiety – This website offers several different self-help tools and guides that can be of assistance to someone suffering from haphephobia or another type of anxiety disorder.

The site provides a list of doctors and treatment centers across the United States.

9. How to Help a Panic Attack Victim – This article offers several different ways that you can help someone suffering from a panic attack.

It also offers advice to family and friends on how they can help a loved one suffering from anxiety or panic disorders.

10. Management of Specific Phobias: A Literature Review – This literature review provides an overview of the different types of phobias, as well as strategies for overcoming these fears. It is written in a highly technical manner, and is not intended for the casual reader.

Sources & references used in this article:

A Google Home Inspector Calls: On the Rise of the Doctrine of Compulsory Appearance by J Armitage – CTheory, 2013 – journals.uvic.ca

Hong Kong’s Cinema of Cruelty: Visceral Visuality in Drug War by A Tang – antae: a Journal on the Interspaces of English Studies, 2019 – escholarship.org

An excess of phobias and manias by JG Robertson – 2003 – books.google.com

The active and passive fantasy of rape as a specific determinant in a case of acrophobia by DL June – 2019 – Routledge

CHAPTER EIGHT THE TRAUMA PARADIGM AND COMMERCIAL FICTION: THE CASE OF FIFTY SHADES OF GREY1 SONIA BAELO-ALLUÉ by A Adams-Silvan – International journal of psycho-analysis, 1986 – pep-web.org