Psychology experts warn of the rise of phobias in the face of the pandemic coronavirus as the hafefobia or fear of being touched, which arises from the irrational fear that arises when relating physical contact with the contagion of the Covid-19 and death, which can have particularly worrying consequences in children and the elderly.
The Valencian psychologist Enric Valls explains to EFE that it is “exaggerated and persistent” fear that generates a phobia, that it is “irrational, toxic and greatly limits our functioning”, and the psychologists Nika Vázquez Seguí Y Grace Vinegar they focus on children and the importance of contact in their emotional development.
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Valls affirms that during the pandemic of coronavirus Certain phobias have been enhanced, such as social, agoraphobia (fear of outdoor spaces or crowds), syndromes such as the cabin (the feeling of not wanting to go out due to a social future of uncertainty) and hafephobia, which It consists of the irrational fear of being touched by someone or something or of touching something.
It arises from fear that appears as Defense mechanism in a situation in which there is prolonged maintenance of social distance and messages about the contagion of the virus that makes some people obsess and paralyze with ideas such as taking the shopping cart, bumping the elbow with someone, push the elevator button or open a door.
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According to Valls, «we have been subjected to these measures for too many months» that generate prolonged stress and anxiety, and we still «do not see the end», which «generates much more suffering and anguish»; If this is added to personalities with a high level of very high self-demand, there is a greater tendency to suffer from this phobia.
Vinagre ensures that the messages arrive as a “bombardment” because “there is a real danger”, and within normality, he adds, “it is frequent that we have that fear or phobia in different degrees.”
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As the Covid-19, indicates Grace Vinegar, «We will go back to interacting supposedly as before, but the children are developing and need more contact», which is why he advocates that in family environments or between cohabitants the signs of affection and contact are intensified «so that the lack not so obvious or noticeable.
Nika Vázquez Seguí reflects on people who previously needed a larger living space than others, and who now feel more fear and “do not touch or even hug their parents, children or siblings” and this fear, he adds, “will do much damage ».
The psychologist sees a long-term repercussion here, because “not having physical contact has to do with how the brain analyzes reality” and this could make not touching others “become a lifestyle”: now he knows cases of those who “continue to wash all the purchases when they get home, even knowing that the health authorities have indicated that this is no longer necessary.”
And he tells the case of a patient, who is a teacher at a school and who is scared: “It is the children who when someone passes by, they say not to approach,” she says. The children have internalized since it is a danger to touch someone, so Vázquez Seguí advocates working and being attentive to them and telling them when it is dangerous to touch and when not, because «if you are careful and your surroundings are healthy and always the same It is good for people to touch and caress each other.
In the case of the elderly, this phobia, which may not be totally pathological, but manifests itself in an increased way, can lead to isolation, because the elderly indicate Valls, lives with an “evolutionary individual loneliness due to not working or having physical limitations.”
And he has already found situations of elderly people who have not left home since March, as well as “not so old that they have teleworked and this intense and irrational belief makes them not go out and not relate,” according to Valls.
Gracia Vinagre makes a call to you phobia “Do not harm your day to day because it can lead to isolation” and “emotionally this is not good for the cognitive development of the human being”, and he agrees with Valls in being more aware of the elderly so that they do not isolate themselves, because ” the danger is there but you have to see it in its proper measure ».