Mysophobia – Fear Of Germs: The term mysophobia, derived from Greek words musos for uncleanness and phobos for fear, was coined in 1879 by Dr. William Alexander Hammond. Also referred to as germophobia or bacteriophobia, mysophobia is the fear of germs and contamination. It is normal for people to be concerned about contamination of foods and exposure to the body fluids of others in order to maintain good hygiene. However, in a person suffering from this phobia, referred to as a mysophobe, these concerns become overblown.
The phobia may develop when an individual’s traumatic experience gets linked to dirt or germs and creates a negative emotional response. An event and sometimes no obvious reason triggers mysophobia.
This phobia may wrongfully be construed as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, there is a difference. Whereas a person who fears germs will either avoid them or get rid of them, an individual having OCD will have a fixed stringent routine.
Mysophobia – Fear Of Germs: Symptoms And Treatment Options
Mysophobia or the fear of germs can be cured – there are treatment programs that really do work and there’s one we particularly recommend:
Mysophobia is a common disorder and experts attribute its growing incidence to a general perception that the world is a dangerous and uncontrollable place. The extensive media coverage that is being given as an effort to control the AIDS epidemic and the increased availability of such hygiene products as hand sanitizers, toilet seat covers that can be disposed after a single use and portable subway straps are also considered as contributory factors.
When an individual having mysophobia is exposed to germs, he/she may experience breathlessness, heart palpitations, nausea and a feeling of loss of control. The person may also feel sick and start shaking if he/she gets the feeling that he/she is getting contaminated. A mysophobe generally tends to avoid situations that are likely to expose them to germs. Mysophobes may involve in repeated, unreasonable actions and behavior including:
Excessive washing (example: washing hands repeatedly)Avoiding activities deemed to be unclean (example: using public bathrooms)Not sharing any of the personal items (example: sharing utensils and food)Avoiding social situations (example: meeting a group of people)
This phobia, the fear of contamination, can have a severe restrictive effect on an individual.
Mysophobia Treatment Options
Several treatments are available for mysophobes. 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.
For certain individuals, depending on 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. The drawback of medications is the unwanted side effects and moreover, it is not a permanent cure for the condition.
Alternative therapies such as hypnotherapy, 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.
Fear Of Germs – Self Help Treatment
Beat Your Fears have recommended treatment programs that will work for every person with mysophobia who follow them correctly – with NO exceptions. They will show you that you can quickly and permanently cure your fear of germs and reverse the formation of panic attacks, OCD, Agoraphobia and Phobias – GUARANTEED and RISK FREE.