Need help breaking free from addiction?
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Who Answers?

Restroom Phobia


I have a fear of the restroom. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a problem in which, when I am using the bathroom, I fear that someone is going to walk in. It happens anywhere and even when the door is locked. I want to know if anyone else has this problem and what it is called.

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.

Your fear of the restroom is called “Shy Bladder Syndrome,” and the technical word is Paruresis. You will find a blog article on this topic at the following URL:

It is a very common phobia but people are hesitant to discuss it, much less admit to having it. There are many self help books on the same topic.

This fear takes many forms, including the fear of: 1. Being heard urinating, 2. Feeling rushed while others are waiting, 3. Someone entering the restroom even if the door is locked, and many other variations thereof.

There are those whose symptoms are mild and there are those who are so very distracted by this fear that they never allow themselves to go anywhere too far from home so that they can get back to their private toilette. This can affect the ability and willingness to travel, visit friends and relatives, inviting people to your home, and working anywhere too far from home.

Generally, some good ways to counteract this fear is to engage in stress and anxiety reducing practices, such as: Meditation, Yoga, Deep breathing exercises, Visualization of relaxing places to visit and lots of exercise. Much of this is described in the many self help books that are available.

If self help fails, then it is necessary to see a therapist who is expert in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Behavior Modification Techniques. The old fashioned talking therapy, such as Psychodynamic Therapy, will not help with this.

Try to not feel discouraged. You are not alone with this. It affects men and women equally and it is not clear what causes this problem.

Good Luck

If a person is still unable t

More "Ask Dr. Schwartz" View Columnists


Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 Who Answers? 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.


Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand