Decoding Bromidrophobia – The Fear of Body Odor
Do you constantly find yourself trying to smell your breath and underarms? Living in the constant fear of smelling bad or trying to get rid of body odor isn’t easy.
A Phobia of Fear or Disgust?
Getting caught while doing so is worse. If you have these tendencies, then you may suffer from Bromidrophobia. But like every other phobia, Bromidrophobia can be tamed. Let’s discuss the phobia in detail and learn what you can do to tackle it.
Some Basic Facts About Bromidrophobia
What phobia is the fear of body odors? Is there a fear of body odor? The answer is yes! Bromidrophobia is the phobia of body odor. The phobia is quite prevalent.
While personal hygiene is essential, the human body emits natural scents. In most cases, these bodily smells act as chemical messengers. However, if you suffer from a fear of perceived odors, you will constantly imagine smelling bad. It is a serious condition that is linked with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Here’s the thing. Body odor is natural and inevitable. When you suffer from the fear of smelling unpleasant, it starts to affect your day-to-day activities. First off, it destroys your sense of confidence. It can also make you highly self-conscious. Even if you can sometimes convince yourself that you smell okay, you might find yourself avoiding certain activities that can cause you to or expose you to smells. You may even end up avoiding social situations.
If you regularly have apprehensions about body odor, then you might wonder where to draw the line between being hygienic and being terrified. When the thought of your perceived body odor, or even another, starts to cause anxiety in you – that’s when you have crossed the line.
What Causes Bromidrophobia?
There are many causes of Bromidrophobia. But, Bromidrophobia can often be diagnosed as Olfactory Reference Syndrome. ORS is a mental condition that forces a person to believe that they have a foul body odor. It is often linked with OCD and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). The diagnosed patient may show signs of obsession and fear of body odor. But you must note that both ORS and Bromidrophobia are different. Bromidrophobia is concerned with getting rid of smell while ORS is a condition that involves obsessive behavior that this fear might induce. ORS is more severe as it induces compulsive and destructive thoughts in people. Let’s get to the real question – what causes bromidrophobia?
Just like most phobias, the most common bromidrophobia cause is experience. In today’s society, everyone is expected to adhere to a high standard of hygiene. Bad body odor is frowned upon even among children. It may drive them to bully and call out their friends in unpleasant situations. Children who were repeatedly called out and ridiculed for their body odor or foul breath may grow up to be excessively self-conscious and susceptible to the reactions of others. We know that bromidrophobia is also the fear of someone else’s body odor. Therefore, the fear of body odor might also be linked to rather traumatizing experiences that may remind people of an aggressor or abuser’s body odor. Hence, perceiving foul odor from someone else may trigger their trauma and anxiety.
Stress is also known to be another cause of bromidrophobia.
Symptoms of Bromidrophobia
Bromidrophobia symptoms are easy to detect because the stimulus can be perceived anywhere! Someone suffering from the phobia might not show all the symptoms but just 3-4 of them excessively. Here is the list of bromidrophobia symptoms to watch out for.
Bromidrophobia, if untreated, can worsen over time. A person can act oddly, invest too much in colognes and other deodorants, apply more than the desired amounts, and take part in severe cleansing rituals. They can start avoiding public places, refuse to go to places where there are no proper restroom facilities, or even stop doing physical activities that cause sweating. Feeling anxious and shameful, restlessness, and showing an aversion to intimacy are other discernible signs of the phobia.
Certain behavioral signs to watch out for include:
● Smelling one’s self excessively
● Taking long and excessive showers
● Reluctance to eat smelly foods, such as foods with onions and garlic
● Over scrubbing one’s skin during showers
● Brushing more than 3 or more times a day
● Changing and washing clothes excessively
● Too much gum and mint intake
● High irritability and mood swings
How Do You Deal With Bromidrophobia?
No matter how inexplicable or irrational your fear of perceived odors is, it is treatable. Seeking professional help aside, you can try and put in efforts to tackle your Bromidrophobia.
What Can You Do To Help Yourself?
Self care for any phobia teaches you how to cope with it on your own terms. You can begin by coming to terms with your fear. Every time intrusive thoughts cloud your mind, write them down. Go in as much detail as you feel like – it will take your mind off your obsession. Try relaxing your mind and body – consider yoga and meditation. Yoga can assist to alleviate the effects of stress and anxiety. It improves concentration and memory. Yoga has a great impact on mental health and can assist you in connecting with your inner self.
Anxiety and fear can be reduced by watching videos and practicing different poses daily. If you regularly subject yourself to severe cleansing, try to slowly but gradually cut down on the time you spend on these rituals. If you take hour-long baths, decrease the duration by 15 minutes every day. Practice and practice some more until your body settles into the new routine. Try and think of things that make you happy when thoughts about body odor come to your mind.
Professional Help for the Fear of Body Odor – The Options Available
People who have Bromidrophobia can benefit from a range of treatments. The research on ORS has been very helpful in determining bromidrophobia treatment. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy is a common bromidrophobia treatment that exposes the patient to the stimuli in order to provoke a response in them. The main aim of the therapy session is to assure the patient that the stimulation will not hurt them.
Through CBT, the patient is expected to have a change in attitude when they are exposed to certain situations or stimuli, in this case body odor. It is recommended that you consult a therapist to address your fear and the reasons why it exists. This form of therapy seeks to trace the root cause of your phobia. It tries to break it down to find a solution that helps combat irrational fears. Talking Therapy is a type of counseling that can help the patient express all of their feelings and concerns. It focuses on helping the patient learn more about themselves, and letting go of their unfounded worries.
Learning to Cope with Bromidrophobia
If you live with Bromidrophobia, then treatment helps you deal with your fear. However, nothing can completely take your phobia away. For that to happen, you must actively participate in whichever course of treatment you choose. Come to terms with your fear, however slow the process may be. In time, you will learn to tackle your phobia.
Wrapping It Up
Bromidrophobia is a phobia that tends to preoccupy your mind 24×7. The most healthy way to combat this fear is by using relaxation techniques to manage your anxiety. Also, try to confront the notion that body odor can only be detected in extreme circumstances. Studies have shown that a natural body odor may attract the opposite sex. Especially women! So next time you panic about smelling bad, give your thoughts a rest.