Koinoniphobia (Fear of Rooms or People in Rooms)

Koinoniphobia is a fear of rooms or people in rooms. People with this phobia often go out of their way to avoid being in a room, especially a room full of people. It may make them feel out of control or stressed. But you don’t have to live your life this way. Therapy can offer help.


What is koinoniphobia?

Koinoniphobia is an intense fear of rooms or people in rooms. It’s a specific phobia, which means that it causes fear of a particular situation. The discomfort you experience is more concerning and uncomfortable than any real threat to your safety.

Koinoniphobia may stem from social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety means that interacting with other people makes you anxious.

You may have more than one specific phobia, including:


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What is a phobia?

People often fear things that feel dangerous or uncomfortable. Great heights and flying give many people anxiety. But these thoughts don’t usually disrupt their daily lives.

Phobias are more severe. They cause intense fear that makes you go out of your way to avoid situations that trigger it. These efforts can lead to abnormal thoughts and behaviors that get in the way of daily activities.

Do I have koinoniphobia?

Rooms are a part of everyday life, and other people are often in them. It’s natural to feel anxious about entering a room full of people you don’t know. You may also not like entering rooms where you don’t know what to expect.

For some people, rooms cause an irrational fear that prevents them from completing once-simple tasks. If you have koinoniphobia, the thought of entering a room can bring severe anxiety. It can also cause overwhelming fear that leads to panic attacks.

If you think you may have koinoniphobia, talk to your healthcare provider. Having an intense fear of rooms or rooms full of people can negatively impact your life because these situations are difficult to avoid. There’s no reason to feel self-conscious about having a phobia. Treatment can help you regain peace of mind.


Symptoms and Causes

What causes koinoniphobia?

Genetics and your environment can increase the risk of specific phobias like koinoniphobia:

  • Genetics: A family history of mood disorders can raise your risk of anxiety and phobias.
  • Environment: Emotional trauma related to being in particular rooms, or the people in those rooms, can lead to koinoniphobia.

What are koinoniphobia symptoms?

Koinoniphobia can cause a combination of behavioral changes and physical responses.


You may go out of your way to avoid rooms full of people by:

  • Refusing to leave your house.
  • Not going into a building or specific rooms if people are there.
  • Working in certain professions or not working at all.
  • Avoiding school.
  • Avoiding social gatherings.

Emotional symptoms

Cognitive symptoms affect the way you think and feel. They may include:

  • Anger.
  • Anxiety.
  • Brain fog.
  • Excessive worry.
  • Feeling out of control.
  • Irrational thoughts, like the people in the room may wish to harm you.
  • Stress.

Physical symptoms

Koinoniphobiacan also make you feel sick with physical symptoms that include:


Diagnosis and Tests

How is koinoniphobia diagnosed?

Healthcare providers diagnose koinoniphobia by asking about your symptoms and behaviors.

They may ask:

  • How does being in a room make you feel?
  • How often do you think about being in a room?
  • What is it about being in a room that scares you?
  • Do you have a personal or family history of social anxiety disorder or a specific phobia?
  • Is the fear of rooms causing you to make changes in your daily routine?
  • Are you avoiding activities or places you used to enjoy because of your fear?

Management and Treatment

What is koinoniphobia treatment like?

A common treatment for koinoniphobia is exposure therapy. A therapist helps you become more comfortable being in rooms of people one step at a time. The first step may be discussing how different types of rooms make you feel.

As therapy progresses, you look at pictures, talk about situations and learn coping methods as you then gradually spend time in rooms with people. The first room may be with people you know. As you become more comfortable, you spend time in rooms with more people and with unfamiliar people.

Can other treatments help me cope with koinoniphobia?

Other treatments may include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Your mental health provider guides you through CBT. You explore why rooms make you feel anxious. You also learn how to shut down negative thought patterns.
  • Medications: Drugs don’t cure koinoniphobia. But antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can help you push past challenges. Anti-anxiety drugs may decrease your fear or temporarily make being in different types of rooms less stressful.
  • Stress reduction: These techniques, which include deep breathing and meditation, help quiet your mind and relax your body. This can reduce the likelihood of panicking when you enter a room full of people.


Is there anything I can do to prevent koinoniphobia?

If you struggle with anxiety, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of it worsening. Doing so can help you gain more control over your thoughts, lowering the risk of specific phobias.

Steps you can take to manage anxiety include:

  • Limiting alcohol and recreational drug consumption.
  • Lowering stress.
  • Quitting smoking and other forms of tobacco use.
  • Spending time with loved ones.
  • Taking up a new hobby to take your mind off the phobia.

Outlook / Prognosis

What is the outlook for people with koinoniphobia?

With the guidance of your healthcare provider, exposure therapy and other treatments can help you manage the fear of rooms. Certain situations may sometimes still cause anxiety, like giving a presentation or meeting a group of coworkers for the first time. But knowing how to calm your mind can prevent these feelings from escalating. Eventually, therapy should reduce the hold koinoniphobia has over your daily actions and improve quality of life.

Living With

What else is important to know about living with koinoniphobia?

You don’t have to live in fear of rooms. Treatment can ease symptoms, making it easier to come and go as you please. Overcoming phobias takes time. But don’t let this discourage you. Working with your trusted mental health provider can help you make steady progress.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Koinoniphobia is a fear of rooms or people in rooms. Going out of your way to avoid rooms can worsen the phobia’s grip on your life. The first step to getting better is talking to your healthcare provider. They can help you find healthy ways of coping. With successful treatment, rooms of people will become less bothersome. You may sometimes still feel anxious, but you’ll know how to quiet negative thoughts so they’re less likely to derail your plans, and life.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed on 02/16/2022.

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