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Only when we are no longer afraid do we begin to live.
Dorothy Thompson

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Fear of strangers or foreigners

Information on Xenophobia

Xenophobia is the irrational fear of strangers and foreigners. In order for a person to exhibit xenophobic behavior, he must genuinely believe the target is a real threat. For this reason, xenophobia and racism are two very separate concepts. Xenophobia can be aimed towards entire population groups within a society as well as individuals. Immigrants and recent settlers are equally targeted. Cultural differences are perceived as dangerous. Hostility, anger and violet reactions are common symptoms of xenophobia. Other symptoms include anxiety,sweating, increased heart rate, increased rate of breathing and avoidance of public or social situations. Xenophobia can keep apart loved ones and business associates and have a major impact on the quality of life. Serious consequences such as political campaigns for linguistic purification, isolationism and genocide can occur if the phobia goes unchecked. Causes of xenophobia may include a traumatic experience sometimes in life that provoked a panic attack near a stranger or foreigner. This behavioral response then became encoded in the body as a natural reaction to the stimulus. Although this phobia is believed to be learned, it can be unlearned through cognitive behavioral therapy coupled with anxiety medication. It is best to try proven treatments before wandering into the forever growing pool of unproven ones. As always, therapy forces the patient to confront his fears and reassess the rationality pathways in his brain. It is imperative to embark on this treatment with an open mind. Although medications can speed up the process, they include serious side effects and are never a permanent solution.