What is mysophobia? It is a condition wherein you have a fear of germs. Do you think being obsessed with germs and infection control is still treatable? Let us look for further details as we go along with this article.
As we have mentioned earlier, it is an individual’s fear of germs. They possess an unhealthy fear of getting contamination. Mysophobia seems to be relative to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
On the other hand, OCD is a mental health disorder that can cause the repetition of unwanted thoughts or sensations (obsessions). Aside from that, it can also show an urge to do something over and over again (compulsions).
In this case, we can consider mysophobia as a type of OCD wherein there is an obsession to clean or wash. Individuals with this condition might end up taking multiple showers a day. They might even use sanitizers frequently. It is easy to identify if someone possesses this condition. These symptoms might help.
Symptoms of mysophobia
Please take a look at these practices. Someone you know might be doing it. Recognizing these symptoms might let you understand them or even help them get over their condition.
- The person frequently or obsessively does hand washing, or you know them as someone who takes a bath multiple times.
- Another thing they have is an obsession with cleanliness.
- You won’t see this person use a public restroom. No matter how much you pursue them.
- They will keep avoiding situations or events where a lot of people will gather together.
- Additionally, people with this condition will continue refusing to lend something they own, such as a comb or food.
- Furthermore, you can’t even see them touch a doorknob or do shake hands.
Being a mysophobe is tough. Even just the thought of the germ’s presence will cause severe reactions similar to panic attacks, such as the following:
- Irregular heartbeats or palpitations
- Chest pain
Impacts of mysophobia
Being a mysophobe does not only revolve around fear and avoidance. It can be more extensive and affects a person’s life severely. Individuals with this condition tend to act irrationally. Little did the people who interact with them know that they can’t control it.
As a result, mysophobia can lead to mental health issues, such as depression, isolation from other people, and anxiety. Aside from that, their obsession with using antibacterial and disinfectant products might even lead them to experience allergies.
In general, mysophobes have an extreme preoccupation with hygiene. In effect, it would be hard for them to perform daily tasks. They will keep thinking that everything contains germs exaggeratedly.
Furthermore, this condition can make them incur absenteeism at work. Mysophobes can’t live their life if no one stood up to help them overcome this condition. For the worst part, mysophobia can even lead them to have suicidal thoughts.
Treatment for mysophobes
Fortunately, mysophobia is manageable. This phobia can be frightening to a person, so their loved ones are mainly going to play a vital role. It would be best to bring the mysophobe to medical professionals who can address this mental condition. It is important to realize that it can worsen over time.
The loved ones of the patient should try their best to convince them to undergo therapy. It would be best to explain to the patient how best it could be to overcome this phobia. It might take time and effort to convince them. However, the patient requires a complete understanding and support.
The most common treatment for mysophobia is cognitive-behavioral therapy. This therapy allows the patient to manage their fears by changing the way they think. Additionally, the therapy focuses on the interconnectedness of thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and behaviors. The therapist will work on these while sessions are ongoing.
It may take several sessions. However, the therapist should do incremental steps to be able to help the patient little by little. They aim not to cause more panic attacks by jumping into quick solutions. Other options can be individual therapy, family therapy, or medications to reduce anxiety.
Behavioral therapies excellently work in treating phobias. However, it would be best to consult a doctor first. The doctors will determine the best treatment option based on the condition of the patient.
Reality hitting the mysophobes
Generally speaking, if a person continuously draws themselves to this condition, it will continue to worsen in time. Life’s reality for the mysophobes will be complicated. They will live life differently and difficultly if they do not get any treatment at all.
Furthermore, they can’t do this alone. Support from a mysophobe’s loved ones is essential. Overcoming mysophobia can be a long journey, but it’s worth trying to live their everyday lives just like the others.
For this reason, mysophobes should accept their need for treatment. Their self-will is completely necessary to overcome this phobia.