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How do I Deal with a Fear of Crowds?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Much like other fears or phobias, a fear of crowds is usually borne from another experience or underlying issue that must first be confronted in order to alleviate the fear of crowds. For many people, crowds represent both a confined space and a loss of control should the crowd become too overwhelming. Therefore, the fear of crowds could be linked to claustrophobia. In other instances, a fear of crowds may be linked to agoraphobia, or the fear of going outside. In order to conquer a fear of crowds, it is important to recognize and understand the underlying causes of the fear.

One of the most obvious ways to deal with a fear of crowds is to avoid crowds altogether. This, of course, is not the most practical route for most people, as crowds are, at times, just about unavoidable. One must therefore confront the fear in order to find solutions. One might try starting with small crowds — a few people at a time — to get used to the feeling of being around strangers. Then, try going into a larger crowd. A bar or retail store might be a good choice. Eventually, one can try a larger crowd at a concert, fair, or other public gathering. These slow, incremental steps can help one get used to the feeling of being in crowds without breaking too far beyond the comfort level.

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Sometimes, this fear of people and crowds can stem from a fear of strangers. Such fears may be rooted in childhood fears of strangers, or of other dangers associated with contact with strangers, such as violent behavior, the spread of illness, and conflict. In this case, the sufferer should remember that most people in crowds are simply going about their business, avoiding conflict and danger the same way the sufferer does. It helps, in this situation, to try to work on being less judgmental of people and understanding that most people have a natural instinct to keep the peace and avoid conflict.

Dealing with crowds can sometimes focus on a loss of control. The sufferer may fear sudden movements in the crowds, being lost in the crowd, being abandoned by friends or loved ones within the crowd, getting lost, etc. In this case, it may be difficult to find solutions to the fear of a crowd; some tactics to consider would be looking for expedient exits should the crowd move suddenly, keeping in contact with friends and family should one get lost in the crowd — a cell phone works well for this — or simply accepting a certain level of loss of control and understanding this is not necessarily a danger.

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