While many people long to be in a long term relationship, there are those who have such an overwhelming fear that it is diagnosed as a phobia. Such a person may fear relationship commitment in any form or perhaps be okay with commitment itself but have a dread of the state of marriage. Both variations come under the heading of gamophobia, also known as gametophobia. In this article I will briefly look only at gamophobia as the fear of marriage.
For someone to be diagnosed as having gamophobia he/she needs to have an irrational, consistent, excessive and uncontrollable fear.
Adapted from image courtesy of Pixabay
A person with gamophobia may avoid even talking about anything to do with marriage. The general idea of marriage may make him/her feel great anxiety or it may be the wedding ceremony itself which causes greatest panic. He/she may avoid attending the wedding of others.
What are the symptoms of gamophobia? Symptoms may include any of the following:
Rapid heart beat
Shortness of breath
Are some people predisposed to develop gamophobia? Research shows some individuals have a genetic trait that makes them more likely to develop a phobia if a traumatic event acts as a trigger. This explains why not all people who experience a traumatic event develop a phobia.
Studies have shown evidence that people who have phobias may have a serotonin level that is either too high or too low. Medication, under careful supervision from a medical professional, can help regulate serotonin levels.
Depressive conditions may contribute to gamophobia.
Are men or women more likely to suffer gamophobia? Although women are generally twice as likely to be diagnosed with a phobia, men are more likely to have gamophobia.
Is gamophobia on the increase? There are more people being diagnosed with gamophobia now than in previous generations. Is this because more people are developing phobias in general or because more people are being diagnosed?.Is it because more conditions are being classified as phobias?
What traumatic events could trigger gamophobia? Events that can act as a trigger include:
Divorce of parents during the sufferer's childhood
Witnessing frequent fights and arguments between married couples
Failure of previous marriage
Image courtesy of Pixabay
Is treatment available If gamophobia is distressing a person and stopping him/her from leading a satisfying life a general practitioner can help with a referral to a psychologist, psychiatrist or other medical expert.
Therapies used to treat gamophobia include:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
A person who has thought carefully and decided they would prefer not to get married isn't suffering gamophobia. It is only if a person has an extreme and irrational fear when they think about or encounter something connected with marriage.