What Is Koinoniphobia?

The irrational fear of rooms or people in a room is known as koinoniphobia. It's also known as social phobia and can have a big impact on a person's life. Fear of crowded spaces, fear of enclosed spaces, and fear of social situations are all examples of koinoniphobia. Koinoniphobia can be caused by a variety of factors, including previous traumatic experiences or genetics.

An individual suffering from koinoniphobia may take this to the extreme by ensuring that they are not exposed to rooms in any way. For example, someone suffering from this condition may refuse to enter a room regardless of the circumstances. These avoidance behaviours can become repetitive, leading to depression.


Entering rooms or a room filled with people is an everyday situation. Nevertheless, a room filled with people could cause some form of anxiety, especially if you are going in for the first time. It's normal to experience anxiety when walking into a room full of strangers. Additionally, you might not enjoy going into rooms where you are unsure of what to expect. 

Although not many people experience anxiety while entering a room or a room filled with people, there are some people who experience intense fear of rooms or people in rooms. Treatment and behavioural management can help regain your peace of mind around people in a room. 

The name ‘koinoniphobia’ originates from the Greek word ‘koini’, meaning shared, and ‘phobos’, meaning fear. This kind of fear is usually termed “irrational” because the rooms or people in a room are normal and are not naturally threatening. Other specific phobias exist, such as:

  • Felinophobia: Irrational fear of cats
  • Iophobia: Fear of poison or getting poisoned
  • Pyrophobia: Fear of fire
  • Aurophobia: Fear of gold
  • Agoraphobia: Fear of enclosed areas
  • Anthropophobia: Fear of people
  • Catagelophobia: Fear of mockery
  • Enochlophobia: Fear of crowds
  • Glossophobia: Fear of public speaking
  • Haphephobia: Fear of being touched
  • Scolionophobia: Fear of school

Furthermore, a person with koinoniphobia might actively avoid their fear in an effort to lessen the immediate anxiety, but doing so could make their symptoms worse in the long run because they would be justifying their fear to themselves. However, avoiding the realities of koinoniphobia does not make it go away. They must first identify its causes and make a decision to manage its symptoms. 

Causes of koinoniphobia

There are no clear causes of koinoniphobia. Nonetheless, both genetics and a person’s environment may play important roles in the development of this condition. For example, if a person has a family history of mental illness, particularly anxiety disorders, they are more likely to develop koinoniphobia. In essence, if a person has the right genetic makeup, any emotionally traumatic event that involves the various fears connected to koinoniphobia may be enough to cause them to develop this condition.

Additionally, a traumatic experience that occurred in a room or with people in a room is one of the most common causes of koinoniphobia. For example, if a person was trapped in an elevator or had a panic attack during a fire outbreak in a room filled with people, they may develop a fear of being in similar situations in the future. This fear can be so intense that it causes aversion behaviour, in which the individual will do anything to avoid being in a room or around people. 

Signs and symptoms of koinoniphobia

Koinoniphobia symptoms differ from person to person. Some people may have mild symptoms, while others may have severe symptoms. Koinoniphobia symptoms can include:

Behavioural symptoms:

  • Avoiding public places
  • Refusing to attend social meetings/gatherings
  • Avoiding any association with people
  • Refusing to leave the house

Physical symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Muscle Tension
  • Nausea
  • Breathlessness

Emotional symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Unexplained anger
  • Overthinking
  • Excessive worry
  • Mental exhaustion

Management and treatment for koinoniphobia

Koinoniphobia can be a difficult phobia to manage, but it is possible to overcome or cope with this fear with the right strategies and support. It is also important to seek the help of mental health professional if you are experiencing the symptoms of koinoniphobia.

Below are some tips for managing koinoniphobia:

Gradual exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is a common treatment for koinoniphobia. A therapist assists you in gradually becoming more comfortable with large groups of people. The first step could be talking about how different types of rooms make you feel. 

Theoretically, a person's fear will affect them less over time the more they are exposed to it. In the event that the patient's therapy session didn't already take place in a room, the therapist may begin by exposing the patient to pictures of a room before eventually exposing them to a real room in order to treat koinoniphobia. All of this would be done to help the patient become desensitised to their fear by repeatedly exposing them to it.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

Patients with almost all types of mental disorders frequently receive CBT as one of their treatments. Koinoniphobia is an irrational form of fear, so in this case, the therapist helps to replace the irrational thoughts with rational ones. Essentially, the reasons behind the sufferer’s fear are uncovered and replaced with pleasant thoughts.

Relaxation techniques

Deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and meditation are examples of relaxation techniques that can help lower anxiety and foster a sense of calm. Applying these methods on a regular basis can help you manage koinoniphobia.


In addition to therapy, medication can be used to treat koinoniphobia. Although there are no medications specifically for koinoniphobia, antidepressants and anxiety medications can aid people in controlling their symptoms and lowering their anxiety levels.

Practise mindfulness

Mindfulness practice can help you stay present and focused in social situations, reducing excessive worry and anxiety. Engage in mindfulness exercises to help you ground yourself in the present moment, such as slow breathing, yoga, and meditation.1


Take part in enjoyable activities, maintain a healthy lifestyle by working out frequently, eat a balanced diet, and get enough sleep. Your mood and general resilience may benefit from these elements.

Support groups

Consider joining support groups or online communities where people with similar phobias or fears can exchange experiences and coping mechanisms. Making connections with people who can relate to what you're going through can encourage and validate you.


Koinoniphobia can be identified by a mental health professional after carefully examining your symptoms and medical background. A mental health professional may ask questions like:

  • How do you feel being in a room?
  • What particularly scares you about being in a room?
  • Have you made any changes in your life as a result of this phobia?
  • Do have a family history of social anxiety disorder?
  • Have you avoided any activities due to this fear?


How can I prevent koinoniphobia?

There is no one way to prevent koinoniphobia, especially when it’s genetic. There are, however, several things you can do to lower your chances of developing this phobia such as: building social relationships and skills, addressing past traumatic events, and seeking professional help.1

How common is koinoniphobia?

Koinoniphobia can change depending on the population being studied and the diagnostic standards being applied. According to statistics, 12 out of every 100 people will eventually develop koinoniphobia.1

What can I expect if I have koinoniphobia?

In crowds or enclosed spaces, you may feel a great deal of distress and anxiety. Specific symptoms and severity may differ from person to person, but common reactions include: panic attacks, anxiety, avoidance behaviours, hypervigilance, physical discomfort, and emotional distress. 

When should I see a doctor?

If your fear significantly affects your daily life, causes you distress, or impairs your ability to function in social situations, it's generally a good idea to see a doctor. 


Koinoniphobia is a form of anxiety disorder that can have a significant negative impact on a person's quality of life. Although the exact causes of koinoniphobia are unknown, it is thought that a combination of genetic and physiological factors is responsible. A thorough assessment by a mental health professional is required to diagnose koinoniphobia. 

Therapy, medication, or a combination of the two are all possible forms of treatment. Koinoniphobia management can also benefit from practising relaxation techniques and good self-care.


  1. Wardenaar, Klaas J., et al. ‘The Cross-National Epidemiology of Specific Phobia in the World Mental Health Surveys’. Psychological Medicine, vol. 47, no. 10, July 2017, pp. 1744–60. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291717000174
  2. Brady, Victoria Popick, and Sarah M. Whitman. ‘An Acceptance and Mindfulness-Based Approach to Social Phobia: A Case Study’. Journal of College Counseling, vol. 15, no. 1, Apr. 2012, pp. 81–96. DOI.org (Crossref), https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2161-1882.2012.00007.x.
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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