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Bathroom Phobia

Question:

I have a very strong aversion to bathrooms. Public Bathrooms, private bathrooms, basically any bathroom which anyone besides myself has used. I am extremely distressed when I hear someone using the restroom or when I can smell it. For example when someone passes gas in a chair I can never sit there again. Can you tell me what this condition is called?

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Answer:

Probably what is happening for you is best conceptualized as a simple phobia. A phobia is a reliable fear reaction that is out of proportion to real threat. Phobia people often have panic attacks (severe, intense heart-palpitating “feel like you’re gonna die” episodes) in response to situations that other people don’t feel afraid in. Common phobias are: agoraphobia (fear of being out in a public place), social phobia (fear of being rejected or publicly embarrassed). Simple phobias are common too. A simple phobia is a phobia that develops in response to a simple thing (like a dog or a spider or blood) rather than a complex thing like being out in public. Phobias are commonly given Latin names describing what is feared, so in your case, we might describe your bathroom aversion as lavarephobia or “fear of the washroom” – I’m making this up, but that is more or less how it would be named. You should know that simple phobias are very much treatable things which are quite amenable to cognitive behavioral psychotherapy. If you want to, you can probably do something about your aversion. The general procedure used tends to involve what is called graduated exposure. In essence, you and the therapist would list (in order of fear provoking quality) a variety of bathroom situations, and then you would work on managing to stay relaxed in situations of increasing threat until you were able to tolerate the Full Monty.

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Comments
  • Anonymous-1

    I can sorta relate with that. For some reson I have been terrified of bathrooms my whole life. Public bathrooms, other people's bathrooms, my own bathroom. It doesn't matter. I'm terrified of them.

    I've been places where I /really/ had to go, so I went to the restroom (public) and stood there for about 2 minutes before I went in. once I go in, and I realize that no one else was in there, I make it maybe half way to the stalls before I turn around and ran out as fast as I can. Safe to say I don't get to go to the bathroom.

    There've been times that there were actually people in there ( i have a bathroom ritual: check for people, check for last stall[only use last stall, i can't have openings on all sides], look around to see if anything is suspicious and could be a camera, wipe the seat 3 times with 3 seperate wads of tp, and then duck down to check all the other stalls [and all of that's BEFORE I even lock the door.[i flush the toilet with my foot and RARELY a tp covered finger) and I get in the stall, and still have to run out becuz I'm just too scared. I've run out of my own bathroom.

    I can't close my eyes in the shower. Ever.Ever Ever Ever. I've tried 1 or 2 times within the last year and almost hyperventilated. there are sometimes that the water feels so good that my eyes unknowingly slide shut. and then I realize. and panic. I completely flip out.

    I can't go into my bathroom wihtout locking the door. Same with other peoples bathrooms. I wipe down the toilet, check under the sink and then the bathtub/shower, if theres a closet I look there, I even look at the vents for cameras or something. Then I finally look in the mirrior to see if there's anyone I can't see normally. then I lock the door and wipe the toilet again before I even think about going to the bathroom. No matter how bad I have to go.

    So hopefully you'll have a better time with your version than I'm having with mine.

  • Anonymous-2

    you know i was reading about your comment, and i have to say i understand you. i also have fears going to a bathroom. i thought i was alone in this. one day, i sat on my computer, and researched 'phobia of bathrooms.' I am not alone. that is my point. I wish i could find a cure, but sometimes i think there is none. No matter how much i try. Shahbana

  • Yakima

    I can totally relate with you. I have a huge issue what bathrooms. I recently moved, but it took me forever to find the perfect bathroom. Still I had to have someone change the toliet seat and knobs and have rugs cover the whole floor. There is no way I will ever use a bathroom other then mine, which is interfering with my job because I work 25 min away and have to drive home everytime I have to use the bathroom. I don't where this phobia comes from, but I think it is getting worse everyday.

  • Megan

    It all started when I was five. I walked into a huge public bathroom, with what I remember as having 15 or more stalls. I remember the lights going completely out and there I was alone in a huge bathroom. My grandma who was standing outside the door heard me scream at the top of my lungs. Ever since then I have had a lot of trouble adjusting to my bathrooms at home and rarely use any others. I have to check under the toilet seat before using any toilets, even my own. Today I went for a jog and after many minutes of debating I decided to use the bathroom at the park. I stood in front of the toilet for ten minutes and couldn't bring myself to use it. I was terrified and my heartbeat was racing like crazy.

  • Peggy Rosado

    I dont know if Im worst then everybody. But I can even like my own bathroom. :/ I guess my conditions its several. I can go inside without shoes, never take a bath without shoes. NEVER used the bathtub before, I dont touch nothing I cried every 4 days when I have to clean it. I used tissue to grab my toothbrush. Its anyone like me? What can I do for treatment? Im 25 years old

  • Victoria

    I dont know when my bathroom phobia started but with mine. I dont let my feet touch the floor, I have to wear flip flops. I have to step out on a rug, but even that still puts me on edge a little. Also I dont like when the shower curtian touches me. It makes me want to cry when it does. I cant watch other people just touch the bathroom floor after they get out the shower, it makes me cringe. I cant take a bath, only showers because I freak out when I try to even sit down. I have to get out the shower before i turn the water off because it makes me feel weird if I dont (i dont really know how to explain that one). I cant clean the bathtub the sink is fine. Im just glad Im not alone with this. I am the only one in my family who is like this.

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