5. Mysophobia (Germaphobia)
A fear of germs, known clinically as mysophobia, can cause an individual to avoid public restrooms at all costs. No one wants to pick up the germs that lead to colds, flu, or gastrointestinal infections. However, a germaphobe experiences such distress and anxiety at the thought of germs that he or she may avoid shaking hands, touching doorknobs, and using public restrooms. This anxiety can lead to a desire to obsessively wash hands, bathe, and disinfect surfaces. Public restrooms can be especially distressing to a germaphobe, who suffers a fear of coming into contact with body fluids, dirty objects, and spaces visited by numerous strangers.
4. Health Issues Caused by Toilet Phobias
Toilet phobias can be physically debilitating. First, there is the mental toll taken by the anxiety that accompanies these disorders. Secondly, there are physical repercussions to being unable to relieve the bladder of urine or the bowels of stool. An inability to relieve oneself while at work, out shopping, or traveling can lead to health issues. Holding in stool can lead to constipation, a decreased ability to sense the need to go, and even bowel impaction. Holding in urine can lead to urinary tract infections. Any bacteria lingering in the bladder is allowed to fester there rather than quickly flushing from the system.
3. Techniques for Decreasing Anxiety
The first tip to decreasing toilet anxiety involves thinking through the trigger for your fears. Are you afraid that someone might hear you? If so, think about the worst case scenario if someone did hear you. In reality, everyone uses the restroom every day, and others think nothing of you doing so as well. Breathing techniques may help you to relax in order to perform this physical function when you are feeling uncomfortable. Arming yourself with disinfectant hand wipes may ease the anxiety that accompanies germaphobia.Related: 9 Reasons Your Poo May Be Extra Stinky and When to Call the Doctor
2. Seeking Help for Easing Phobias
Sometimes anxiety disorders cannot be eased without professional help. You may find that the fear of public restrooms causes so much anxiety that you are unable to perform everyday tasks. In this case, consider asking your physician for help. Phobias that prevent you from being able to go to work, do your grocery shopping, travel, or enjoy an outing with friends keep you from living your life to the fullest. Toilet anxiety that causes constipation, bladder pain, and frequent urinary tract infections is anxiety that is hurting your health.
1. Medical Treatment for Social Anxiety Disorders
Your doctor can give you a medical exam to seek out any underlying medical conditions that may be causing your distress. Then, your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional to provide relief from your anxiety. Treatment may include cognitive behavioral therapy to help you face stressful situations. Antidepressants may help with social phobias caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain that lead to anxiety. Anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines may be used for a short time to reduce your anxiety until behavioral therapy provides relief.Related: 12 Tips You Never Knew You Needed for Using the Toilet