Misophobia in plain words is fear of contamination. The person believes that he is in danger of coming into contact with contaminants and being infected by dust and dirt. He takes a shower several times a day, washes his hands and wears gloves to protect them. He can use as many as ten towels a day as he does not use the same towel twice. The person has an unrealistic fear of being in danger and even the simple act of eating an apple requires that he wash the apple several times before eating it. If the person cannot satisfy his need to do this he might have a panic attack.
Symptoms of Misophobia
• The person has an unnatural fear of dirt and is constantly cleaning and wiping the kitchen counters and dusting the furniture.
• He becomes anxious and believes he is going to die and has a hyper-ventilation attack where he is gasping for breath, feels nauseous, is unable to speak coherently, sweats profusely and has a racing heart. He then worries about his pounding heart and makes the condition worse.
• He has been told several times that there is no danger but because he has suffered from the condition for so long he mistakenly believes that he can never be cured and lives his life worrying about every little thing. Like the fear of heights or any other kind of irrational fear when the person is suffering an attack he or she is impossible to speak to when the panic starts. Even thinking about ridding himself of the problem can trigger anxiety.
In a nutshell the sufferer has a template of anxiety which has to be changed. There is a fear of loss of control which could have started in the past and this has to be addressed. Therapy in this regard is most helpful as the therapist can walk the sufferer through his fears when he is calm and the person sees that he has nothing to fear. His reality is recreated and his fear is minimized. If he sticks with the program he can change irrational fear which has plagued him all his life with healthy thoughts. It is like reprogramming a computer; you delete the past and write a new chapter for yourself. The brain, like the motherboard, follows the new instructions and the person eventually believes that his fear of germs and bacteria can be brought under control. He is able to relax and separate normal fear from deep panic and anxiety and take control of his life.