Mysophobia Or Germophobia – Fear Of Germs: The term mysophobia, derived from Greek words musos for uncleanness and phobos for fear, is an irrational fear of uncleanliness, contamination and germs. It was coined in 1879 by Dr. William Alexander Hammond. Germophobia is defines as a pathological fear of germs, bacteria, microbes, contamination and infection.
Psychologists mainly use the term Germophobia (sometimes spelled germaphobia) to describe the fear of germs, microbes, bacteria, infection, or contamination. There are also other names for this pathological state, such as mysophobia (fear of uncleanliness), bacillophobia, verminophobia, or bacteriophobia. Other terms like rupophobia, rhypophobia, molysomophobia, or molysmophobia also relate to the abnormal fear of filth and dirt.
All people have fears, but phobias are more advanced compared to standard fears. You cannot control them, and they can be unreasonable and excessive. Germophobia causes anxiety and distress that are out of proportion to the damage that parasites or contamination may cause. A person with this phobia might do many strange things to avoid germs.
Mysophobia – Fear Of Germs: Introduction
Mysophobia or Germophobia, the fear of germs can be cured – there are treatment programs that really do work and there’s one we particularly recommend:
Like many other fears, germophobia often origins from the period between childhood and young adulthood. Several primary factors can contribute to the development of this phobia. They include:
- Environmental factors. Beliefs and ideas about hygiene or cleanliness that you were exposed to as a child may determine the fear development.
- Family history. Many phobias have a genetic origin. If your family member suffered from anxiety disorder or phobia (even if it is not the same phobia as yours), it might increase the risk of germophobia development.
- Negative experiences in childhood. Traumatic experience or some specific events that occurred in childhood may lead to germ-related fears.
- Brain factors. Other factors that can start the development of phobias are certain changes in brain function and chemistry.
Germophobia triggers (places, situations, or objects that can worsen phobia symptoms) include:
- dirty surfaces and objects. Such as computer keyboards, doorknobs, or unwashed clothes;
- bodily fluids. Such as saliva, mucus, or semen;
- unhygienic habits or people;
- places where germs can accumulate. Such as public transport or hospitals.
The Fear Of Germs – Symptoms
Germophobia symptoms are the same symptoms, as of any other specific phobia. They apply to the situations or thoughts that involve contamination or microbes.
Germophobia’s psychological and emotional symptoms include:
- stress, nervousness, or anxiety, related to exposure to parasites;
- intense fear or panic of germs;
- feelings of being overcome with fear in places where germs are present;
- the inability to control a fear that is unreasonable or extreme;
- thoughts of germ exposure resulting in different negative consequences, like illnesses;
- trying to avoid situations that involve germs or thoughts about them.
The behavioral symptoms of the fear of germs include:
- seeking help to cope with the excessive fear or situations that cause it;
- spending too much time thinking about places or situations that might involve microbes;
- problems at home, school, or work, caused by the fear of germs (for example, the urge to wash your hands every few minutes may cause many inconveniences).
Germophobia’s physical symptoms can occur during both situations involving germs or thoughts about them. They are similar to those of several other anxiety disorders, and they include:
- sweating or chills;
- rapid heartbeat;
- shortness of breath;
- chest tightness or pain;
- shaking or tremors;
- muscle tension;
- nausea or vomiting;
- difficulty relaxing.
Sometimes germophobia also leads to obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Germophobia Treatment Options
Several treatments are available. If the individual suffering from this condition diligently follows the treatments, he/she can enjoy long-term benefits and a better quality of life.
One of the safest as well as effective treatments employed is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). It teaches individuals to practice cognitive restructuring. CBT, therefore, involves identification of negative thoughts and challenging and replacing them with realistic and positive thoughts.
In exposure therapy, the patient is taken through a number of gradual exposures of the feared situations or items. The intensity of exposures is increased as the individual learns to cope up with the fear. If administered properly, this therapy can be effective and provide results in a few months’ time.
Hypnotherapy also works extremely well by, in effect, resetting the brains automated response in order to react in a rational manner to any percieved threat of germs.
Alternative therapies such as energy psychology and neuro-linguistic programming which are not proven are also available. Practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing, yoga and meditation can be of great help.
In certain cases, depending on the individual and the severity of the phobia, doctors may prescribe SSRI antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil or Zoloft. Sometimes, doctors may combine medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy to obtain better results. Always remember, any such medications may result in unwanted side effects (check with your doctor). It’s also important to understand that medication will not cure the condition, instead it will only help manage the symptons which may help in treating the fear of germs.
Fear Of Germs – Self Help Treatment
We mentioned earlier that hypnotherapy is a recognised and effective treatment option. We now would like to introduce you to a self-hypnosis treatment program called “Overcome Fear Of Germs”. It’s an audio download specifically designed for the treatment of Germophobia. It works extremely well and has recieved excellent reviews.
Unlike many other options this one is priced at less than $15 making it one of the most cost effective ptions on the market today. Even better still – it comes with a full money back guarantee that lasts 90 days! This is why we, at BeatYourFears.com, suggest you check it out. Click the links below to find out more and to decide for yourself: