Haphephobia (Fear Of Being Touched)

Last Update on October 21, 2022 : Published on October 27, 2022

It is common for some people to not enjoy anyone touching them even for a handshake. In fact, in some cultures touching someone as a form of communication is considered rude and is looked down upon.

However, tactile communication is common and a handshake or a hug is very common these days. There are some people who don’t like being touched and that’s completely normal. But, however uncommon it may sound, some people dread being touched by someone else.

Such people are said to have haphephobia, the fear of being touched. They are so scared that someone might touch them, they altogether avoid human interaction. Haphephobia might seem unlikely because human touch is inevitable. Therefore, haphephobia can be devastating!

Let’s understand haphephobia better so that we can help someone who is struggling with the fear of being touched.

Haphephobia: Definition


Haphephobia can be defined as the irrational yet intense fear of being touched by someone. Haphephobia (fear of being touched) falls under the category of specific phobias. Even though it is considered to be an unusual phobia, people suffering from haphephobia struggle a lot even in completing daily tasks.

In Haphephobia the fear of being touched is so intense that having the milkman or mailman over also makes you anxious. People with haphephobia can go to any length to avoid physical human contact.

Remember when COVID-19 was on a rise and we all feared touching or even coming close to another person? Well, that’s how people with Haphephobia feel all their lives. I’m sure now we can all understand the misery of an individual with haphephobia.

Also read: Understanding The Fear Of Fear (Phobophobia)

Haphephobia: Symptoms

Haphephobia is the fear of being touched so the most prominent symptom is going to intense hesitation in touching someone or getting touched by someone. What’s interesting here is people with haphephobia know that their fear is irrational yet they don’t have control over their anxious thoughts.

However, Haphephobia symptoms can be less intense if you trust the person who is touching you. But to build that trust also you’ll need a lot of time and effort. When you come in contact with someone you don’t trust you might experience extreme fear and panic.

Other than that you might show some physical symptoms of haphephobia even upon thinking about physical touch. Here are some physical signs and symptoms of haphephobia that you need to watch out for;

  • Extreme fear
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Crying unstoppably
  • Freeze or running away from there
  • Keep your hand full to avoid a handshake
  • Keep yourself away from people (act busy )

What Are the Causes Of Haphephobia?


Like most phobias, haphephobia also doesn’t have a definite cause. However mental health experts have argues that having a traumatic past about being touched the wrong way can make a person develop haphephobia.

Other than that if you have a family history of anxiety disorders or phobia then you are at a higher risk of developing phobia like haphephobia. Specific phobias like haphephobia can develop without any reason also. Just keep the haphephobia symptoms in mind and get the help you need if you develop this fear of being touched.

Haphephobia: Treatment & Coping

Did you know almost 99% of phobias are treatable and most of them have a 90% success rate when it comes to reducing the symptoms? In most cases, mental health experts go for psychotherapy like cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy.  They are said to work best with phobias like haphephobia.

Medicines like Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can also be used in some cases. They are mainly used to treat panic and anxiety which comes along with your phobia. Therefore, you might either get psychotherapy, medicines, or a combination of both.

Along with receiving treatment for haphephobia, you must know how to cope with it as well. Here are some tips that can help you cope with Haphephobia;

  • Take some time off for self-care
  • Have a group of trusted friends
  • Have a strong support system at home
  • Set boundaries and let others know
  • Don’t reinforce your fear and anxiety

That’s All Folks!

I hope you found this blog about haphephobia interesting, informative, and helpful. Haphephobia is capable of destroying your social life, therefore, it’s important to get it treated as soon as possible. Specific phobias like haphephobia can take total control over your thoughts and actions as an obstacle when you try to build a relationship.

Keep the signs and symptoms of haphephobia in mind so that you can easily identify it. Do share this blog with your friends and family so that they do not fall prey to haphephobia. And even if they do, they should know what to do.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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