Brushing off Amathophobia – The Fear of Dust
Do dust bunnies creep you out or disgust you?
Do you spend most of your time cleaning or dusting throughout the day to reduce your fear-of-dust stress or anxiety?
You’re not alone; more than 9 percent of Americans have some type of phobia that ranges from mild to severe. But amathophobia, or the fear of dust, is treatable. So if you’re trying to rid yourself of this dust phobia, start by first understanding how you developed it. They say once you get to the root, you’ll find the solution.
Amathophobia Causes – What Causes the Fear of Dust?
Just like other phobias, amathophobia doesn’t have a distinct cause. Although, according to some scientists, your genetics and environment generally play a significant role in developing phobias. A family history of anxiety disorders and phobias may increase the chances of offspring with similar issues.
Other causes of this fear may be a past incident where you had a bad experience with dust or witnessed someone else suffering due to it. It may also stem from another mental illness such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). If you’ve been diagnosed with GAD or OCD, your fear of dust may be an extension of this.
Some Things You Need to Know about Amathophobia
Sometimes people get confused between fear and disgust. While fear usually represents an imminent threat to survival, disgust is primarily characteristic of contamination and represents a possible threat to survival. If the simple mention of a topic or particular object—in this case, dust—causes you to have an anxiety attack, it may be a full-blown phobia.
Amathophobia can also arise from learned behaviors. In your childhood, you may have lived in a dust-ridden area or in a dusty house and experienced the problems it causes. Because of this, in adulthood you may find yourself constantly cleaning your home or any space that may contain dust.
Amathophobia can lead to the creation of an extreme environment around those who struggle with the phobia. It may even prevent one from leaving their house, since dust is found almost everywhere. In addition, these unwanted thoughts and fears can lead to OCD in the future.
Because of the private nature of amathophobia, it’s difficult to determine how many people may actually have this fear.
If you’ve already done your research, you may have found that almost all fears share many common symptoms. This often makes it difficult to diagnose a specific phobia and seek treatment. Awareness of your symptoms will help in your diagnosis. Early diagnosis can prevent the phobia from worsening.
Amathophobia can cause the following physical symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing
- Dry mouth
- A choking sensation
- Tightness in the chest
- Feeling like you will faint
- A rise in blood pressure
Amathophobia can cause the following psychological symptoms:
- Anxiety attacks
- Fear of losing control
- Anger, mood swings
A person with amathophobia can show some of the symptoms listed above or most of them at once depending on the severity of the phobia.
Treatment for Amathophobia
Despite this fear, many are able to live healthy, normal lives. But if your phobia is worsening day by day, it may be time to seek treatment.
When should a person seek treatment?
- You are not able to lead a normal life due to the phobia
- Your symptoms are getting worse each day
- You are struggling to cope with the phobia
Amathophobia Treatment Options
Constantly trying to avoid something that is present almost everywhere can be an exhausting and terrifying experience. But remember, no phobia is so bizarre that you will not find help. Why not first start with some simple self-help methods? If those aren’t enough to help you better manage your fear, visit a professional.
To get this phobia under control, begin by convincing yourself that the fear is irrational and dust is not something that can harm you. By reassuring yourself in this way, you’ll hopefully gain some comfort in thinking or talking about your fear.
Try to share what you feel with others to help you understand what circumstances or situations lead to your anxiety. Also, try focusing on replacing negative thoughts with positive ones.
Meditation is also a helpful tool to incorporate into your self-help treatment. You can learn to control your feelings and train your mind not to dwell on your fears through meditation. If your phobia stems from some past event, meditation can help you live in the now rather than getting too caught up in the past.
Additional Self-Help Tips
- Start sharing your fears with your loved ones
- Become aware of your feelings
- Partner up
- Practice breathing techniques
Exposure therapy, as the name implies, gradually exposes you to the object of your fears over a period of time. This therapy is conducted under the guidance of a mental health professional in a controlled, safe setting.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is based on the concept that the way we think about certain things will affect how we feel about it. By learning how to look at your fear from a different perspective, you’ll be able to better cope with your fear when you actually experience it.
Learning to Cope with Amathophobia
Dust is everywhere and there’s little we can do to avoid it. You can clean and vacuum daily, but you’ll still find dust. And it’s unlikely that each time you step outside, you’ll cover your mouth to avoid dust in the air. Yet there’s still hope if you live with the phobia.
Amathophobia treatments which exist today may not guarantee a cure for your phobia, but they will help you better cope with it. Learning to better manage your fear will allow you to lead a normal, healthy life without having so much dust-related anxiety.
You can take control of your life by learning to manage the fear of dust. Through self-help or professional treatment methods, work to gradually understand your fear and create some positive beliefs.