Demophobia: What is it? Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

It is an exaggerated or irrational fear of crowds, the person is terrified by the congestion of people and thinks that he is in danger.

A person does not understand that a crowd of people will not harm him, but in his ideas, this is a terrible and uncontrollable force that can crush him.

Unfortunately, the modern way of life causes chaos in transportation, traffic jams, long journeys, and on television they show bloody terrorist attacks, mass robberies, causing the human psyche to spiral out of control and as a result, a phobia develops.

The fear of crowds or demophobia consists of an irrational fear of large crowds and gatherings of people. Demophobia is a general social phobia that, as is known, affects many people today. This occurs more in women than in men.

Each case of demophobia is different and depends on the thoughts and images that a person associates with large crowds. This is mainly due to the different thought patterns of each phobia.

Therefore, there is no reason to fear crowds, but most experts blame genetics, biochemical disorders, stressful or traumatic life events, and inaccurate beliefs for fear of crowds.

A person who has such a phobia experiences an obsessive and uncontrollable fear of the crowd, it is unbearable to be there where there are a large number of people and he cannot get rid of the obsession.

Irrational fear can arise even when a person simply observes the crowd from the side, not being at its epicenter. For example, it could be a musical concert, a rally, a vacation in the city etc.

The fear of the crowd makes the person realize that this is just an ordinary social event, interesting to him and not threatening, but he cannot join the crowd.

He cannot control or overcome his fear. He will try to stay as far away from the crowd as possible, and he will certainly never become a participant in the carnival, or the football game in the stadium since he does not have the willpower to overcome the fear of the people.

A demophobic person can present panic episodes in places where they go daily such as:

  • Supermarkets, pharmacies, shops, squares and public places.
  • On trains, buses, or planes.
  • On the bridges.
  • In an elevator.
  • In the cinema, the theater, the restaurants, where there is no easy way out.

Causes of demophobia

Fear does not simply develop without cause. There is always a specific reason. In some cases, it occurs in childhood when the child is in the stage of formation of his personal space.

If parents constantly limit it, then demophobia can develop later. When a child grows up, he has unpleasant feelings associated with a group of people.

Demophobia can be accompanied by various nervous disorders and mental illnesses. Some do not tolerate other people’s touches or unpleasant odors.

It is important to understand that each person has their own distance. When a person establishes it clearly, they feel completely secure. But demophobics do not feel this distance, so these people perceive it too sensitively.

Often when a person has to communicate with many people a day, he simply runs away from everyone, because he wants to be alone and if timely measures are not taken, the tension will constantly increase.

According to psychologists, the phobia of a large number of people, unlike many other phobias, can originate not only in childhood, when the subconscious has not yet been formed to the end, but also at a fairly adult age.

A person could have an unpleasant situation with the crowd: they could suffer physical or material aggression.

For example, you could be trampled on by a crowd or have your phone stolen – in these cases, justified fear is even harder to overcome.


A person who suffers from excessive fear of crowds, believes that the masses are too noisy.

In general, shy people or people who cannot desensitize themselves to the emotions provoked by crowds are more likely to suffer from demophobia.

Demophobes have different internal representations for their own fear. Naturally, the symptoms presented are different for each patient.

These symptoms and signs are widely described as physical, mental, or emotional.

The main sign is clear; it is the phobia of the street, the reluctance to leave the house, the effort to avoid places with many people, the seclusion.

The physical signs are similar to those of other phobic fears, some of them increasing the level of serotonin.

These symptoms are also included:

  • A mild anxiety that can turn into a panic attack , at the thought of a large crowd.
  • A demophobic person will probably go to great lengths to avoid and escape crowds.
  • You have an inability to function normally in front of them.
  • You cannot distinguish between reality and unreality.
  • It has a sensation in the stomach, nausea and gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Tremors or excessive sweating are also possible.
  • You have an increased heart rate, changes in blood pressure, feel unable to breathe, and suffocate, and these are some of the physical symptoms of this phobia.
  • Many demophobic people are sure that they will be crowded or crushed by crowds if they are present at these concentrations.
  • Many in the crowd are extremely uncomfortable, because people are invading their personal space.
  • They do not like strangers to touch them, nor the smells that come from them.
  • They fear that in the crowd they may be robbed, that objects will be taken from their pockets or purse.

In principle, the probability of this happening is there, the feeling of rational fear is justified, but experiencing panic in such situations and developing anxiety symptoms is completely abnormal.

The symptomatology will manifest itself constantly, so you must learn to combat it.

Most of the time, taking extreme avoidance measures, suffering from anxiety or a panic attack are protective reactions.

It usually helps to feel completely safe, when the demophobic is accompanied by a person who is very receptive or with whom he feels comfortable and protected.

It is possible to suspect a phobia when a person refuses to visit the market, a store, crowded places, etc.

This indicates that you are afraid or predisposed to it, because you feel a great fear to be in these public places where you feel that an escape may be difficult or impossible.

Treatment of demophobia

This can greatly affect the daily life of the demophobic. In many cases, treatment can work well. Treatment options include medications, using a selective serotonin inhibitor.

If a phobia in front of crowds is expressed in a mild way, the person is able to take all his willpower and leave the place in silence, even if he feels terrified.

In any situation, no matter how scary, such a patient can overcome fear, withdraw, and calm down. As a rule, with demophobia a person does not perceive everything individually, for him people are a terrible gray mass. Your doctor will usually treat demophobia with therapy, medication, or a combination.

When sedatives are prescribed, the person calms down completely, and has many positive emotions, making therapies easier and recovering quickly.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is used because it relieves anxiety. There are also some things you can do at home to make yourself feel better.

The therapist can teach new ways of thinking or dealing with situations that cause panic. These new ways will help you be less fearful.

Relaxation and breathing exercises can also be learned. Sometimes the therapist may offer exposure therapy, in which he tries to do some of the things that bother him, exposing the patient to these adverse factors slowly.

The main goal of the therapist is to do everything possible for a person to really assess the situation and lose fear.

Self help

  1. Psychologists recommend looking for potential danger from the people around you. After you have observed the surroundings, you will see that everyone is busy with their thoughts, and their activities, and that they are there for the same reason and are just other passersby.
  2. A good solution in this time of panic is to hear the voice of a loved one who can be called. This will calm you down, distract you, give you strength and confidence.
  3. A person in such a state of anxiety does not distinguish anyone in the crowd, for him it is just a gray mass without faces. It is recommended to speak to someone in the crowd, ask for the time, ask any questions or comments.
  4. Try at this moment to feel yourself, your body, control your breathing. Breathing deeply will help you relax, organize your thoughts, and calm yourself.