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Ablutophobia: what it is and how to cure the fear of washing


Ablutophobia is the irrational fear of washing. Let's find out why it comes and what the treatments are.

The word ablutophobia indicates a little known, rare but very important fear . It is in fact the repulsion (or terror) that is triggered at the mere thought of washing. The very meaning of ablutophobia comes from the Latin "ablutio" (washing) and the Greek "phobos" (phobia). And, as already mentioned, it indicates a very important problem.
In fact, those who suffer from it experience a real terror at the thought of taking a shower or bath and, in the most serious cases, can even feel sick at the thought of washing their hands. This phobia, although rare, is to be considered highly disabling. In fact, without washing, the person who suffers from it sooner or later finds himself with both social and hygiene problems. Problems which, in turn, can lead to depression .
For all these reasons, learning to recognize it from the first signs is really important, in order to put a stop to it when there is still time and to find a solution.

Ablutophobia: causes and symptoms

Although it is a disease difficult to define, it is thought that among the causes of this phobia there are traumatic events (such as abuse or shocking situations) experienced in the moment of the bath or shower. At the same time, the phobia can also occur after learning of traumatic events that occurred to others while washing. In some cases, for example, fear can arise after knowing that someone has fallen out of the tub. This can lead first to avoid the bath and, subsequently, to fear even the shower and any other form of washing.


It is generally believed that children and women suffer the most from it. However, it is a phobia that affects everyone and which can initially manifest itself in a mild form but then increase over the years. In any case, we speak of ablutophobia when the terror of washing has lasted for more than six months and is significant and capable of damaging the quality of life of those who suffer from it.
The symptoms of those who experience this discomfort are very strong and can be summarized in:

– Accelerated heartbeat
– Difficulty breathing
– Tremors
– Cry
Cold sweat
– Itching
– Nausea
– Sense of fainting
– Confusional state
– Chest pain
Panic attacks

All symptoms often difficult to overcome, above all because they are able to block the rational part , making the phobia even stronger.

How to cure ablutophobia

In case of similar symptoms or already established ablutophobia, it is very important to seek help from an expert. The first thing to do is in fact to go back to the reason for the phobia in order to have a general picture that also allows you to understand where to go to act.
At that point, based on the extent of the symptoms and the experience of the person suffering from it, the therapist will be able to suggest the therapeutic approach he deems most suitable for the situation.

In any case it will be important to follow a path that aims to recognize the causes of the phobia and that teaches how to manage the stimuli related to fear. It is, therefore, a work to be done on emotions, on experience and on the ability to create systems capable of overcoming the phobia itself.
In some cases (usually the most serious ones) the use of drugs that can alleviate the sense of fear can be useful. Obviously it will be the doctor's responsibility to evaluate whether and for how long to administer them within the therapeutic process.

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