Bathroom Phobia


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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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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