Everyone should be concerned about proper hygiene and everyone should have a knowledge of basic sanitation procedures. This helps keeps sicknesses away. However, the fear of germs (mysophobia) my can become excessive as a person in this situation tries too hard to control the outcome of their future.
For instance, a person who has a severe “germaphobia” as it is sometimes called washes his or her hands far more often than the average person. They also might Take antibacterial wipes wherever they go and wipe off door handles to public bathrooms.
They might also be constantly doing dishes or cleaning. They may even not want to set food in a hospital or they may be standoffish to sick people.
Causes and Symptoms
Oftentimes a traumatic experience is to blame for people who struggle with being afraid of germs. It could be a first-hand experience or one may have possibly known someone close.
For example, perhaps it was a loved one or friend that was sick and that sickness resulted from contact with an airborne or skin-to-contact pathogen (i.e virus or bacteria). Maybe the friend or loved one was terminally ill for a long time and then died, or it was a sudden death.In any case, it is these past traumas that could cause a person to take reasonable protective measures against being in contact with germs today. It is an effort for some germ phobic people to even step foot in a bathroom. It could even be hard for them to go to a maternity ward of a hospital where live is born, not dying (or already dead).
As far as symptoms are concerned, they are very similar to that of most phobias. A person who may be confronted with potential germ contact may feel nauseated, or they might go to extreme measures to avoid social situations out of extreme terror.
Physical symptoms of a phobic person are usually similar to a person dealing with a panic attack, and such signs of panic include the following: racing heartbeat, racing thoughts, sweaty palms, and shakiness. A person in a panic may also have difficulty breathing.
Some ways to deal with mysophobia are shown below:
- Seek out therapy from a professional counselor and/or psychiatrist. This may be hard to do at first if you fear that you will run into sick people even if you show up at a place designed to assist people psychologically. During your counseling sessions you will explore the root of your fears and you will be given a plan to overcome your fear of germs step by step. Usually you will be slowly exposed to more and more risks as resulting to this phobia, in a way as would a person who has obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Request some anti-anxiety medications. If you go to a doctor or professional counselor that individual will refer you to a psychiatrist who is authorized to give you anti-anxiety or anti-panic medicine. This should help calm you as you enter higher-risk germ situations.
- Educate yourself. For instance, it may help you to understand the real likelihood and real statistics you would face in regards to catching a disease. You could also learn more reasonable methods of protecting yourself from germs.
- Seek group support. Perhaps there is a phobia or panic disorder group in your immediate location. If so, you can seek out the compassionate encouragement of others who are on the same road to phobia recovery as you. The meeting may be general covering over a wide range of phobias but also it could possibly be a meeting specifically for people with fear of germs.
- Seek stress-reducing treatments, or suggestive therapy. Examples of stress-reducing techniques include medication and slow deep breathing routines. One type of suggestive therapy is that which reaches the subconscious, kind of like when you listen to audio while you are sleeping.
Hypnotherapy is an example of suggestive therapy that could be used, but with caution as you will be in the hands of a professional who is responsible for leading this activity. Using hypnotherapy would require a great deal of trust.
- Seek alternative therapies. For instance, some mysophobic patients may benefit from acupuncture, energy psychology, or linguistic programming. Sometimes herbal medicines can help reduce anxiety. Ask a health professional about these alternative therapies.