We all have something to fear, whether it is an animal, object or element of nature that has the power to make us anxious even at the thought of being exposed to it.
The fears can vary in their levels of intensity, for example, to be light and that when confronted can be overcome or or they can be severe, and can paralyze a person to the point of becoming a phobia.Have you ever had a fear like this or have you managed to eliminate it?
There are fears that are very common, such as fears of wild animals, the dark or heights, but, did you know that dirt is also a common phobia? This is a type of fear that becomes a compulsive behavior, as people focus obsessively on eliminating any trace of contamination that they can perceive in their home or environment.
A very interesting topic which we will be touching in depth in this article, where you will know what is this fear of dirt and why people suffer from it.
What is misophobia?
This is the term used to refer to the fear or phobia of dirt. fear or phobia of dirt. Misophobia, also known as rupofobia, is directly related to the rejection of germs and contamination to which a person may be exposed. So, having the sensation of ‘being dirty’ may lead to a series of anxiety attacks, paranoia, worry, stress and paralyzing fear, until they are able to eliminate all that dirt.until they manage to get rid of all that dirt in the way they feel is best to do it.
It is for this reason that those who suffer from this phobia tend to develop obsessive-compulsive behaviors with cleanliness to avoid the proliferation of any type of impurity in their homes. Reaching a point of extreme extreme where they use aggressive chemical products, avoid contact with other people, do not maintain physical approach of any kind, reduce their outings to certain places and demand constant cleaning measures to those who enter their home.
Misophobia is a specific phobia, that is, an irrational fear caused by a particular element, which in this case is dirt. In this case, it is dirt. the person finds it terrifying to be contaminated and to remain with bacteria in his body, no matter if it is for long periods of time.It does not matter if it is for long or short periods of time and if they do not represent a real risk to their health. In addition, they may feel fearful just thinking about it, anticipate believing that they are likely to become soiled, or witness a place that is not clean by their own standards.
Being a specific phobia and thus belonging to the anxiety disorders, it is common to see a constant stress pattern. constant stress pattern in the person as they are focused on generating actions that protect them from coming into contact with any type of dirt. For example, they may use gloves or masks all the time, wash their hands repeatedly during the day or clean the home at least 3 times a day.
As mentioned before, fears can occur at lower or higher levels, but when cases of panic attacks occur, then we should be aware of the following symptoms:
- Social isolation
- Tension and tightness in the chest
- Palpitations and increased heart rate
- Excessive sweating
- Breathing problems
- Lack of balance
- Nausea and dizziness
- Feeling of loss of control
- Tingling of the skin or paralysis of limbs
- Feeling of being in danger of death
- Derealization and depersonalization
As we can see, misophobia can greatly compromise the person’s quality of life, as he/she suffers clinical signs that of the person, as they suffer from clinical signs that can sometimes be disabling, in addition to the fact that the obsession with cleanliness greatly affects day-to-day life.
Common behaviors in misophobic individuals
It is common for many to want to disinfect their homes on a regular basis, as well as their work areas, travel study areas or a place to rest. After all, it is true that we are constantly predisposed to contaminate ourselves with germs that affect our health. That is why it is important to important to maintain daily personal hygiene habits and carry towels and sanitizing gel to keep our hands clean.
However, people with this phobia take things to the extreme, preventing them from interacting normally with the people around them and even preventing them from and even preventing them from concentrating on some common tasks. Here are some of the most common behaviors of people suffering from misophobia.
1. Compulsive cleaners
You may know the Discovery TV series “H&H”, which shows how a group of people obsessively-compulsively clean their homes, so much so that they can even drink out of their toilet water without any risk. These people can take hours to clean their home as they do it thoroughly and perfectly, using every product on the market that they can get their hands on.They use every product on the market that can contribute to completely disinfect the place of bacteria and accumulated dirt.
Not content with this, people may wrap their most precious belongings with protectors so that no one can touch or use them (including themselves), for example, armchairs, beds, a specific space, furniture, etc.
This does not only happen in homes, but also in any area where the person will have to in any area where the person will have to be for a considerable for a considerable period of time, such as work, school, transportation, hotel room, etc.
2. Inordinate hygiene
Of course, people with a fear of dirt do not only focus on ridding their space of germs, but they also focus on themselves, so they acquire a strict and repetitive routine where they must perfectly clean themselves to be free of any kind of impurity..
In this case, the person may wash their hands a specific number of times (usually more than 40 times a day). more than 40 times a day) with disinfectant products, that they take several showers a day, that they do not leave their homes without masks and gloves, avoid touching surfaces, objects and persons, etc.
When the person feels at ease, meaning being in a neat space, they may look calm and happy, but this quickly changes when something gets out of their control or out of their self-imposed strict order. So it’s not uncommon to see them in constant worry and stress over the stress when they are unaware of the quality of cleanliness of a site they have not of a place they have not treated or when a guest does not do what they have indicated to preserve the cleanliness of their place. Thus manifesting some of the symptoms we have described above.
This This anxiety does not diminish until the person has made sure that the place is completely disinfected as he/she considers the place as he/she considers it should be.
4. Discomfort before the dirt
When an individual with misophobia approaches or is present in an establishment that is contaminated or not properly conditioned, they may show psychosomatic discomfort due to the accumulation of stress. It is common for them to appear sick, with dizziness, nausea, tachycardia dizziness, nausea, tachycardia, shortness of breathshortness of breath, vomiting and even fainting.
Why do people develop this phobia?
There may be several causes for the development of this phobia, depending on the experiences or genetic nature of the person.
1. Past events
As the rest of the phobias or irrational fears, its origin can be due to some trauma of the pastas well as a bad experience that you want to avoid completely. It may be the case that there have been extreme cleaning routines in childhood or on the contrary, having lived in a messy and careless home.
It may also be due to a strict regimen imposed due to a health condition or problem related to exposure to dirt, thus linking contamination to poor health.
2. Genetic inheritance
Another common component is the hereditary load that can be received from relatives, which may explain why some people are more sensitive than others to the issue of cleanliness or the predisposition to show anxiety when in the presence of a messy place. In any case, genes are not everything.
3. Vicarious learning
Many of our behaviors, habits and tastes come from what we learned at home with our parents through modeling. That is to say, having parents who have been obsessive about cleanlinessit is very likely that the person will also develop this tendency.
Relationship with obsessive compulsive disorder
There is much discussion as to whether this phobia belongs exclusively to anxiety disorders or is also a manifestation of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
We can say that it is a bit of bothBecause there is a general discomfort and an unrealistic fear of a specific element (dirt and germs), not only when exposed to them but also when anticipating them, it is classified as a specific phobia. But it is the behavior of having an inflexible, daily cleaning ritual that is generated that can also be classified as OCD.
Recall that obsessive compulsive disorder is about repetitive thoughts that cause emotional discomfort and behaviors that are established in order to decrease such accumulated tension. Therefore, in a way, this serves as a catharsis and therapy for misophobic people, although it is not completely effective, as it is not always effective. the calming effect is not long lasting.
To treat this disorder it is necessary to attend therapeutic consultation and enter into a series of interventions to eliminate the chain of repetitive thoughts and the constant need to clean.