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Q: Identify this fobia ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   7 Comments )
Subject: Identify this fobia
Category: Health > Conditions and Diseases
Asked by: tibiaron-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 10 Mar 2004 07:49 PST
Expires: 09 Apr 2004 08:49 PDT
Question ID: 315275
The answer contains two parts.  1.  Identify the fobia or problem by
name.  2.  Point me to a web site which can provide self help to solve
the problem.

Here are John's symptoms.
1.   John cannot tolerate crowds of people.  Especially in cramped
quarters, like a crowded elevator, or buffet restaurant.
2.   John feels like people invade his space.  If in a waiting line,
or in a crowded waiting room etc. he will have extreme anxiety and
almost panic.  Men in his space cause the problem more than women, but
they both cause it.  A worst case scenerio would be to find himself in
a crowded elevator full of loud crude talking men, or in the foyer
full of people exiting after a movie.
3.   John has no problem being confined in a small space alone. An
example would be the donut of an MRI scan, which, though very cramped,
would not cause him any difficulty.

Clarification of Question by tibiaron-ga on 10 Mar 2004 07:55 PST
Phobia  :(
Subject: Re: Identify this fobia
Answered By: tutuzdad-ga on 10 Mar 2004 10:15 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Dear tibiaron-ga;

Thank you for allowing me an opportunity to answer your interesting question.

While John?s phobia, if indeed it is one, does sound a bit like
Agoraphobia (a generalized fear of crowded places) as mentioned below,
there are some more definitive phobias that better describe John?s

Enochlophobia is the fear of crowds (the crowds themselves, rather
than the crowded space)

Because John is more fearful of masculine crowds, he may be suffering
from Ochlophobia. Ochlophobia is defined as a morbid, persistent,
abnormal, and irrational fear of crowds or mobs like those who could
pose a personal physical threat.

Demophobia is much the same as Ochlophobia but to a somewhat lesser
degree. It is defined as ?a persistent, abnormal, and unwarranted fear
of crowds, despite the understanding by the phobic individual and
reassurance by others that there is no danger.   Demophobia [is] a
strong fear of, dislike of, or aversion to crowds.?

While these three phobias may not be a part of your everyday lexicon,
they are actually ranked quite high on the list of most common human
phobias, so in that sense, even though John may not be considered
psychologically healthy he isn?t as rare an example as one might

It is also possible that John?s irrational fears stem from a related
phobia such as Acousticophobia, Ligyrophobia, or Phonophobia. These
are unwarranted fears of various noises that range from the sound made
by bustling groups emitting crowded and confusing chatter at one end
of the spectrum down to the mere sound of voices at the other end of
the spectrum.


Policy prohibits us from diagnosing a person?s illness of practicing
medical advice, so I can?t say for certain what John?s problem is. But
generally speaking these do seem to resemble your description of
John?s problem. Frankly, phobias can be so complex that it would take
a trained psychologist to identify John?s problem for certain, but
these conditions definitely provide a good starting point.

I hope you find that my research exceeds your expectations. If you
have any questions about my research please post a clarification
request prior to rating the answer. Otherwise I welcome your rating
and your final comments and I look forward to working with you again
in the near future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.

Best regards;
Tutuzdad-ga ? Google Answers Researcher


Defined above



Google ://








tibiaron-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
I didn't say anything about fear.  John said there is no fear just
extreme irritation and anxiety.  Your research is still good.  I don't
think I stated the question as well as it could have been. You did
okay, thanks.

Subject: Re: Identify this fobia
From: jackburton-ga on 10 Mar 2004 08:30 PST
It sounds like John suffers from "Agoraphobia".
Freedom From Fear, one of the leading organizations in the field, has
created a ?screening room? on their website.  Anonymously and with
privacy, anyone can find out if they might be suffering from an
anxiety disorder.  The website utilizes a short questionnaire.  If the
answers indicate that an individual might have an anxiety disorder,
he/she can get a free consultation with a professional trained in this
The website address is:
Overcoming Agoraphobia
Subject: Re: Identify this fobia
From: ac67-ga on 10 Mar 2004 09:31 PST
Agoraphobia is the more common term, which literally translates as
fear of open spaces, but from a practical stand-point is usually used
for a spectrum including fear of leaving home, fear of being around
other people and fear of being in crowds, particularly stuck in
crowded places.  Thus the example of the elevator, which is certainly
not an "open space", still falls under this disorder. Another term
which is some times used is demophobia, which literlally means fear of
people (not fear of democrats :-) ).  Unfortunately in regard to the
second part, there are a lot of sites promising help, but I'm not sure
which are good and which are not.  You might start by looking at
websites of professional organizations, such as the American
Psychological Association (or something similar for other countries if
not in US).
Subject: Re: Identify this fobia
From: robertskelton-ga on 10 Mar 2004 22:50 PST
As someone with an anxiety disorder, here are my thoughts:

Labeling anxiety disorders is tricky, and many people have totally
individual varieties.

I have the same symptoms as John. I have always lent towards
claustrophobia as a definition. It isn't really the fear of enclosed
places. It is a lack of control of a situation, and a lack of an exit
strategy. The more people, the more complicated the situation, and the
harder it becomes to be able to control it.

For me it is worst:

- in new situations
- with more people
- without a physical exit. I'm terrified of flying. In a new place I
sit close to the exit and where I have the best view of what is going

For me drugs and alcohol alleviate it, purely because I relax and care
less. But that's just me, for others it might get worse.

Medication can help, but can cause you to lose spark and you can get
hooked. If John can cope, I recommend no medication.
Subject: Re: Identify this fobia
From: tutuzdad-ga on 11 Mar 2004 07:18 PST
With regard to your final comments:

The words "Anxiety" and "Phobia" as mentioned in your question are
both commonly defined as being marked by fear:



Subject: Re: Identify this fobia
From: johnfrommelbourne-ga on 12 Mar 2004 04:13 PST
Excellent rundown of the various phobias Tutu. Five hollow stars from me.
Subject: Re: Identify this fobia
From: johnfrommelbourne-ga on 12 Mar 2004 04:15 PST
..hold on, I did not realise the question offered a whole $2. In this
case maybe only four stars was about right!!
Subject: Re: Identify this fobia
From: moonrising-ga on 29 Apr 2004 11:38 PDT
Hi!  Found this thread while searching for a 'label' for myself! 
John's symptoms sound very like mine.  For me the issue has come to
the fore as I have an 11 hour plane flight coming up.  I booked good
and early and paid an extra fee for a window seat, but due to a
cock-up they've put me in an aisle seat.  When I told them I was
claustrophobic (as Robert has been describing himself) they replied
'but you'll be better in an aisle seat!'.  Not true for me!  For me an
aisle seat means being surrounded with people, no privacy, and people
brushing past as they go down the aisle. In a window seat I might be
more enclosed by seats, which would bother a true claustrophobic, but
for me it's better, as I have some degree of privacy, and at least one
side of me with nobody impinging on my space.

Also unlike Robert, I really like flying, so having a window to look
out of gives me a little 'safety valve'.

I think for me it comes down to personal space.  I don't like it being
invaded.  I don't like being crowded, having people rub up against me,
or the person in front putting their seat back.  In an unavoidably
crowded situation I'd rather sit next to a woman, but that's because
women tend to spread themselves less, be smaller and so take up less
space, and be more aware if they are invading another's space and more
likely to avoid it.  But I'm not a social phobic (I've worked in jobs
that involve public speaking and been fine), nor am I really phobic
about touching (I love hugs, as long as they are consensual!)

Though our coping strategies are different, I think Robert might be
right about it being at least partially a control issue.  The thought
of not being able to get out of an unpleasant situation certainly
makes it worse. And having a defined 'territory' which is not going to
be invaded, even if it's small, makes it better.  Looking out the
window on the plane allows me to 'escape' and ignore the people near
to me if I need to.  On a crowded tube train it helps me to cope with
people rubbing up against me if I close my eyes, mentally 'go away'
and breath deeply.  I need my own space or some ilusion of it.

Looks like there isn't really a word that fits!

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