Mysophobia or Fear of Germs and Dirt Mysophobia or Fear of Germs and Dirt
The fear of microorganisms is a pathological condition and in medicine it is called mysophobia. If a person suffers from this mental disorder, he tries to avoid any contact with germs, he has a pathological fear of germs and even fears to touch since bacteria can get in his body after touching different objects, which, in his opinion, can cause severe diseases. Another form of mysophobia is germophobia – fear of being infected by germs.
Healthy people understand that microbes can be either pathogenic (for examples, agents of influenza, pneumonia, etc.) and useful (for example, intestinal flora helps to digest food). A person with mysophobia believes that any microbe, even the most harmless, is harmful to the body.
The fear of dirt and germs is a modern phobia. It is common among people who see the world as a constant threat. Moreover, TV is constantly advertising that your home is needed another disinfectant since microbes are “ready to attack”. It creates misunderstandings that make the situation worse.
What causes mysophobia?
Mysophobia itself is rare. It occurs as a part of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Forcible and unwanted thoughts are results of these violations. Mysophobia is often accompanied by fear to catch any disease (hypochondria).
This phobia may occur because of the wide range of causes. People suffering from depression and experiencing anxiety tend to develop this disorder. Such people may experience signs of mysophobia when watching TV shows or unpleasant scenes from movies.
If any, even the smallest piece, dirt, dust, etc. in the past brought a negative reaction, the phobia is most likely to appear in the present. If you have a family member who suffers from mysophobia, he influences you and other family members and this leads to anxiety and depression.
Symptoms of mysophobia
If a person has the fear of microorganisms and he believes that germs invade his territory, the person starts shivering, experiences dyspnea, nausea, increased heart beat.
A person who suffers from mysophobia constantly tries to create sterility around him, in other words, “no microbe should be alive.” He cleans and washes everything using a lot of different disinfectants. To recognize the person with mysophobia is easy – he always washes his hands.
A person suffering from the fear of bacteria experiences other signs and has changes in behavior:
- he refuses to attend the event where a lot of people or animals are present;
- he refuses to attend public facilities (toilets, baths, etc.);
- at home, he guards his private sterile space where belongings, toiletries, dishes and even food are stored.
Mysophobia does not allow a person to enjoy life. It limits space as well as communication because such a person may, for example, unreasonably refuse to shake a hand causing misunderstanding and hostility. As a result, many who suffer from this phobia, do not go out in order to avoid unpleasant situations.
Treatment of mysophobia
In order to get rid of mysophobia, modern medicine uses different methods. Thus, in order to be effective, treatment should be started when the first manifestations of anxiety appear.
Method of paradoxical intention
This method is used when mysophobia is not severe. The essence: look at fear’s face. Make a mess at home on purpose. All you need is dirt, dust, and germs. At the same time, try to enjoy everything that you see around you.
It is important! No one should force a person – he himself should want to get rid of his fear for good. If at this stage of treatment you feel that you can fight – go forward to new achievements. Be brave: touch door handles and go outside. Do not forget to shake hands of your neighbors.
Hypnosis allows to change a person’s pattern of behavior towards his fear. The positive result will largely depend on the professionalism of the person who knows the method of hypnotic influence.
Mysophobia is a pathological fear, which can and must be cured. Just remember that it should be done with the help of a specialist.
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By Maria Shevtsova
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist. Taking action in support groups organization and social adaptation of the people with mental disorders. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the undepress.net project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who want to get their life back or help someone dear, who got into mental trap.
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