Germaphobia: What Is It?
The word “gene” means seed or embryo. The word “phobia” comes from Greek phobos meaning fear and -phobia which means hatred of germs.
So what exactly does it mean to be afraid of germs?
Well, if you’re like most people, your first reaction might be fear because you’ve heard stories about germs being dangerous and potentially deadly. But then again, maybe not! If you think about it, there are actually some benefits to being afraid of germs. For one thing, it’s probably good exercise for your immune system. You’d think that would make you feel better but unfortunately it doesn’t.
So what’s the real reason behind all these fears?
There is no scientific evidence whatsoever that shows that germs cause any sort of disease or illness (or even death). There are plenty of studies that show that the opposite is true. Germs can actually be beneficial in certain situations such as when they come with food or water for someone who may have diarrhea. They can also protect against diseases such as typhoid fever and smallpox. And finally, they can even prevent cancer!
So what’s the problem? Why do so many people get so scared of germs?
There are a few reasons why this phobia is so common:
Genetics and early childhood experience are believed to be the biggest factors in someone developing a germ phobia. If one or both of your parents have a strong fear of germs, there’s a good chance that you will develop it too.
Additionally, if you had several instances where you became sick as a child (or even saw someone else get sick), you’re also more likely to develop the phobia.
Other factors that can lead to the development of this condition include having a lot of stress in your life or a traumatic experience with illness or disease.
You may also be more likely to develop germophobia if you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or another type of anxiety disorder. In fact, some psychologists believe that most people who have germophobia also have OCD.
Are There Any Treatment Options?
If you’ve been diagnosed with germophobia, it’s best to get treatment right away. Not only will it make you feel better, but it could also protect your overall health. While there is no cure for the condition, it can be treated so that you no longer fear germs. Talk to your doctor about what treatment options are best for you.
Medication is often prescribed to help with the symptoms of the condition. Anti-anxiety drugs such as Clomipramine (Anafranil) or Fluoxetine (Prozac) are among the most common drugs used to treat germophobia.
Psychotherapy, particularly exposure therapy, is also used to help treat the condition. During this type of treatment, you are gradually exposed to those things that cause you to panic and experience anxiety or a phobia response.
With time and practice, your fear will lessen until it eventually goes away completely.
Hypnotherapy is another option for treating germophobia. With this treatment, you are guided through a series of thoughts and suggestions that make you feel calm and relaxed.
This can help replace fearful and anxious thoughts with positive ones.
Whatever treatment option you choose, it’s important to keep in mind that you will most likely have good and bad days. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you have a setback every now and then.
Just get back to your treatment and things will start to get better.
What You Can Do Today To Help Improve Your Condition
While treatment is necessary for most people who suffer from germophobia, there are some steps you can take on your own that can help improve your condition:
Exercise on a regular basis: By getting your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes most days of the week, you give yourself a great boost in both physical and mental health. It can also relieve stress and help you sleep better.
Practice good hygiene: This might seem like common sense, but practicing good hygiene can actually help reduce your fear of getting sick. Washing your hands regularly, keeping your home clean and washing fruits and vegetables before you eat them all will make you feel safer and in turn, make your anxiety go down.
Get a pet: Pets have been proven to help people get over their fear of germs. The more you’re around your pet, the more comfortable you’ll become around animals in general.
Studies have also shown that people with pets get sick less often than those who don’t, so having a pet can also help prevent you from getting sick.
If you suffer from germophobia, don’t suffer in silence. With proper treatment and self-help techniques, you can overcome this condition and enjoy life much more.
By addressing your condition now, you are taking the first step in a life free of stress and anxiety.
Sources & references used in this article:
” A Drop of Poison”: Mental and Physical Infection in Tayeb Salih’s Season of Migration to the North by Z Hussein – 2018 – rave.ohiolink.edu
Lacto-fermentation…. revisited by PB Mayo
SIX MINUTES OF FRESHNESS by AN GUIGNON – 2015 – dentairvac.com
The urgent need for microbiology literacy in society by D Wickstead – Warm Earth, 2012 – search.informit.com.au
Pandemic Anxiety: How Can I Help? by T Kominis Endresen – 2016 – diva-portal.org
Ask the legal consultant: when good employees go bad: what do you do when a staff member crosses the line? You asked. Our lawyer answered by K Timmis, R Cavicchioli, JL Garcia… – Environmental …, 2019 – Wiley Online Library