Do you remember when you were a child and you played in dirt? Do you remember how fun it was? Well, it actually isn’t fun for a lot of people. Some people, especially those who have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), suffer from a condition called mysophobia. Mysophobia is a fear of dirt. The fear is derived from the idea that there are so many germs and bacteria in dirt that can cause you to get sick.
Some people with mysophobia have other conditions that stem from OCD. OCD is constantly doing one (or many other things) several times because of a fear you might not have done it thoroughly enough, done it properly, or done it at all. For instance a person with mysophobia may constantly wash their hands because they don’t want dirt on them. If you don’t have mysophobia you might not understand what the big deal is, but for people with OCD, the fear is very real and upsetting.
If you have mysophobia you might live your life trying to avoid dirt. You won’t let your children play in dirt, you’ll wash your hands several times throughout the day (if not constantly) and try to avoid situations where you would have to encounter dirt. For instance you might not go to field days that are located in a dirt covered part of town, to avoid the dirt.
Treatment for mysophobia is difficult, just like any psychological treatment, because the brain is a very complicated organ. A first step is to find medication that can help the person suffering from the condition. This alone is not a cure, but it gives them some relief while a doctor, counselor or psychologist takes further steps with the patient in order to help them cope with their condition. The hope is, at some point, the person will be able to stop taking the medication and live a life where they are not constantly afraid of dirt. This works for some, but not for others due to many variables.
Because the underlying cause of mysophobia is usually something to do with OCD, it can be very hard to get a person who has mysophobia to change at all, or to even realize or accept they have a problem. Do not try to harass or scare someone with the condition as it could only increase the problem for them. Instead help a person with mysophobia by telling them about options that could help them. Mysophobia is not a joke and should be taken seriously like any other medical or psychological condition.
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