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Atazagorafobia (fear of forgetting): symptoms, causes and treatment

Atazagorafobia (fear of forgetting): symptoms, causes and treatment

January 25, 2022

Atazagoraphobia is the excessive fear of forgetting, which includes both fear of forgetting, and the fear of being forgotten or replaced by others . Although it is a common sensation, Atazagoraphobia has been little described in scientific language. In fact, it has been more pointed out by philosophers and writers who speak of atazagoraphobia as the fear of eternal anonymity.

In this article we will see what atazagorafobia is and what are its main characteristics.

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Atazagorafobia: the fear of oblivion

The act of remembering is a central function for human beings. Among other things it allows us to maintain a sense of integrity. It also serves as an identification tool that makes it possible to respond to the demands of the present and the future.

The opposite act, that of forgetting , is a process that occurs along with memory consolidation. Neuroscience tells us that, from an adaptive point of view, forgetfulness allows the purification of unnecessary or irrelevant information, or allows us to block traumatic experiences and thus avoid some discomfort.

Possible causes

At the base of the Atazagoraphobia is the recognition that, just as it would be little adaptive to remember absolutely everything; It is also not very functional to forget everything. We can intuit quickly that the latter would result in a significant loss of our own "I". We can also suspect that forgetting the most everyday things would seriously affect our links with others . So much for the modification of our perception of the world and of ourselves, as of the closest beings.

The above intuitions can provoke fear, or not. It may be that we evoke and retain them as useful information without necessarily generating a physiological response or obsessive thoughts about the consequences of forgetting and being forgotten.

Produce fear, or not, the perception we have about the negative consequences of forgetting It may have been generated by having lived with a person whose medical condition hinders memory retention or even prevents him from evoking memories of the past and the everyday.

However, excessive fear of oblivion can also be a consequence of how the media have often portrayed their consequences and the associated medical conditions (Staniloiu & Markowitsch, 2012). More than the research that makes us think of atazagoraphobia as a clinical fear of oblivion, this phobia has been rather widespread and sometimes mediated.

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Symptoms: do you have clinical manifestations?

Any phobia can cause an experience of anxiety and the organic activation that accompanies it. That is to say, hyperventilation or hypsarrhythmia, dyspnea, excessive sweating, nausea, tremors , among other manifestations. However, Atazagoraphobia is not a mental disorder recognized by any specialized association.

It is a phobia (a fear that is not rationally justified), which has been described in colloquial and informal language to refer to important discomforts related to forgetfulness ; but that are not necessarily clinically significant. That is, they do not affect the activities or responsibilities that are considered appropriate for the person in their cultural environment.

For this reason we can not formally talk about a series of clinical criteria that lead us to a diagnosis of Atazagoraphobia. What we can do is analyze in what situations and contexts can be generated more likely an experience of fear of oblivion and why.

In what circumstances can it be presented?

Returning to the issue of medical conditions related to memory loss, we can consider Atazagoraphobia it can occur in two main circumstances (although it could also happen in others): people who have received a diagnosis and the people who care for them.

1. Before a diagnosis of medical condition associated with memory loss

On the one hand, Atazagoraphobia may manifest itself in people who have an early diagnosis of dementia or other medical conditions. It would be normal for them to feel afraid to forget their own identity, other people or also everyday things. However, the diagnosis by itself does not generate an irrational fear .

The latter can be produced by multiple factors, among which are the emotional and psychological resources of the person receiving the diagnosis; the support network that you have; and also the quality of the information given by the doctor, as well as his attitude.

That is, if the diagnosis is accompanied by a detailed and truthful explanation about the medical condition and its possible consequences, there is probably no experience of irrational fear of forgetting. The same if the doctor's attitude is empathic and patient before the person with whom it deals.

2. During the care of the person who has received the diagnosis

On the other hand, Atazagoraphobia can occur in caregivers of people who have been diagnosed with dementia or other related medical condition. The latter may be related to the belief that the person they care for will eventually forget them , which can affect both the identification mechanisms of those who care for them, and their daily tasks.

Related to the latter, it can also happen that the person who cares generates the belief that she herself will be forgotten after the loss of memory of who has the diagnosis occurs. This same can be work and accompanied by professionals and for the security provided by the support network itself.

Bibliographic references:

  • Kangyj (2015). Athazagoraphobia: phobia of being forgotten or ignored? Retrieved July 31, 2018. Available at //
  • (2018). Fear of being forgotten phobia- athazagoraphobia. Retrieved July 31, 2018. Available at //
  • Staniloio, A. & Markowitsch, H. (2012). Towards solving the riddle of forgetting in functional amnesia: recent advances and current opinions. Frontiers in Psychology. DOI: //

Athazagoraphobia - Rafael Salinas (January 2022).

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