This Post May Kill up to 99 Percent of Germ Fears
While we all have fears, phobias tend to be more excessive or unreasonable than standard fears. In the case of germaphobia, the anxiety and distress caused by the fear of germs are disproportionate to the damage germs are likely to produce. Still, an individual who exhibits the fear of germs will probably go to extreme lengths to prevent contamination.
Do you find that the anxiety and stress related to your fear of germs and getting sick are controlling your life? Do you fret about touching surfaces used by the general public? Does your fear extend to the fear of touching others or panicking when someone gets too close?
Germaphobia is a highly disabling fear which can make it almost impossible to live an ordinary life. If you’re experiencing germaohobia symptoms such as severe fear of contamination and fixation with cleanliness, daily living can be difficult. That’s not to say there isn’t hope.
Thankfully, numerous effective forms of germaphobia treatment exist, some of which are grounded in therapy. The objective of treating germaphobia is to help sufferers become more comfortable with germs, thus enhancing their quality of life. Treatment approaches for this phobia involve a combination of medication, therapy, and self-help measures. Nevertheless, the initial step towards handling the phobia is to identify why you have it.
Psychologists use the term germaphobia to explain a pathological fear of bacteria, germs, contamination, microbes, and infection. A range of other terms such as bacillophobia, mysophobia, and verminophobia give germaphobia meaning. The problems related to this phobia have a close relationship to OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Persons with OCD often have contamination fears and related decontamination rituals, such as compulsive handwashing, cleaning and washing compulsions, and avoidance of possible contaminants.
Germaphobes also typically have cleaning and washing compulsions and avoid possible contaminants. Decontamination compulsions tend to consume their lives. Time-consuming and excessive cleaning, ritualized bathing and showering to eliminate perceived germs and dirt, extreme grooming, toothbrushing, and continuously focusing on evaluating infection threat take their toll.
Persistent washing could lead to red, cracked, dry, or irritated skin as well as discomfort and skin lesions, which are susceptible to infection and bleeding. Avoidance practice may involve the excessive use of antibacterial creams, hand sanitizers, or avoidance of handshakes. The individual may also steer clear of certain supermarket aisles, hospitals, or doctors’ offices. The combination could have a detrimental impact on one’s health, work, and social life.
Symptoms of Germaphobia
- Intense fear or terror of germs
- Worries, anxiety, and nervousness associated with germ exposure
- Thoughts of exposure leading to an illness
- The feeling of powerlessness to control a phobia that you recognize as extreme or unreasonable
- Attempting to distract yourself from thoughts regarding germs or circumstances that entail germs
- Leaving or avoiding circumstances perceived to lead to germ exposure
- Trouble functioning at work, home, or school due to fear of germs OCD.
- Spending a considerable amount of time preparing for, thinking about, or postponing situations that might entail germs
- Chills or sweating
- Rapid heartbeat
- Chest pain or tightness
Gradually, sufferers might impose numerous limitations upon themselves, for instance, declining to touch doorknobs or shake hands.
Some home remedies and lifestyle changes might help alleviate your fear of germs. They include:
One challenge of overcoming this phobia is learning to change the irrational thoughts you have regarding contamination and germs. Watching videos or reading about how bacteria forms a natural part of your environment and body can help you manage worry and fear. Moreover, education can give you a feeling of general hygiene prerequisites so that you can assess your behaviors with what a doctor might recommend.
Millions suffer from a particular phobia, so take some time to establish the support that’s available in your community. Online and in-person support groups can be encouraging in the lives of those who desire to manage their anxiety concerning germs. Also, don’t feel embarrassed to inform family and friends regarding your phobia and how they can offer support during treatment.
Recruit an Expert
It’s hard to conquer a phobia without professional help. Talk to a mental health expert or your physician about the medications or therapy approaches that could help you with anxiety management and decrease obsessive behaviors that hinder your life.
It might be necessary to undergo further assessment to establish whether you have OCD or a different anxiety disorder. Don’t hesitate to seek a referral to someone with expertise. Other self-help measures include:
- Apply relaxation techniques, for instance, yoga or deep breathing
- Obtain sufficient sleep
- Healthy eating
- Practice meditation or mindfulness to target anxiety
- Confront feared circumstances when possible
The treatment for this phobia frequently entails a combination of medications and therapy. However, therapy is typically the initial action course. Professional strategies include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This form of therapy uses three major treatments: cognitive restructuring, exposure therapy, and relaxation training, at times in combination and at times individually based on the desires and needs of the client. Each treatment will occur under the supervision and assistance of a therapist.
This form of treatment involves exposing oneself to germs. In this case, germ exposure might be in the form of touching dirt or you might begin with something less challenging such as touching plants planted by someone wearing gloves that touched dirt. With frequent and gradually more intense exposures, you concentrate on calming techniques and are discouraged from washing your hands. In so doing, you form the capacity to be around germs without feeling compelled to disinfect yourself.
This technique develops tools for calming the body and mind when confronted with germs. The tools might comprise controlled breathing methods, calming visualization exercises, or mental and physical cues that could trigger a more tranquil mental state. Watching videos or joining a meditation group on how to meditate could help you practice using the tools daily.
This treatment seeks to disclose and alter negative convictions and thought patterns which emerge when it comes to the phobia. An instance of this might be the belief that your responses are beyond your control, or that you’re constantly at risk of death because of surrounding germs. To achieve this from the comfort of your home, you might want to question yourself or write about your fears to determine the beliefs you have and then settle on useful or healthy views.
How to Avoid Germaphobia
Engage in Activities that Alleviate Anxiety
Journaling, meditating, and exercising are good techniques for anxiety management. Although you might not engage in your favorite league game or go to a yoga studio or gym, various ways exist when it comes to exercising. You could go for a brisk walk or run while sustaining physical distance.
Find a Distraction
Consider building a puzzle, reading a book, or watching a movie. These will help take your mind off the anxiety.
Consider Expert Counseling
Psychotherapy can be extremely helpful throughout periods of extraordinary stress. A qualified third party can help you create goals and offer support as you discover how to handle your struggle.
Although germaphobia is a difficult condition to live with, it’s not impossible to find ways of coping with it. With this guide, you can still enjoy life despite the condition.
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