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What is fear of germs and how do you deal with it?

There are people who are very clean and tidy and where this does not cause any problems for functioning in daily life. Then there is a group of people who clean everything extremely and compulsively. This is not cleaning the house once in a while, this is constantly cleaning every minute of the day. If you recognise this, then you may be suffering from mysophobia.

What is fear of germs?

Another name for the fear of germs is mysophobia. On the one hand, it is a form of phobia, on the other hand, it is a compulsive disorder. It is characterised by compulsive actions and thoughts. That is why it is more often spoken of as a compulsive disorder than as a phobia. Compulsive cleaning is the most important characteristic. It controls your whole life. Even if you pick up a door handle, you will clean both the handle and your hands. You are constantly working to prevent harmful bacteria from entering your home. So cleaning takes place in two areas, namely cleaning the objects that you come into contact with and you are constantly cleaning yourself. You always feel dirty. Some people do realise that what they are doing is excessive, but it's the compulsion that makes them unable to stop.

Mysophopbia

What are the symptoms of mysophobia?

The symptoms of fear of contamination are relatively easy to recognise. The most important characteristic is the fixed rituals surrounding hygiene. This includes, for example, extreme hand washing and cleaning door handles. You also try to avoid touching other people's objects, such as money, as much as possible. In extreme cases, you grab a door handle with a cloth. Some even take a shower several times a day to get rid of the feeling of being dirty. There is a reason why fear of contamination is a compulsive disorder. If something is wrong with the cleaning ritual, the whole process has to be done all over again. The symptoms also include becoming anxious or panicky if certain rituals cannot be performed.

What is the cause of the fear of germs?

The cause of the obsessive-compulsive disorder is not always clear. It is certain that certain hereditary characteristics can play a role, but the compulsive disorder can also arise after a traumatic experience. A certain traumatic experience can be a trigger for compulsive thoughts and actions. Overcoming obsessive-compulsive disorder can be done by first giving the trauma a place.

anti-smoking treatment

What is a fear of germs treatment?

There are various types of treatment to get rid of mysophobia. First, it is determined whether there is a clear cause. If, for example, the cause is a trauma, EMDR is usually used, while behavioural therapy is used to treat other causes.

EMDR

EMDR is a therapy that only works effectively if the cause is a trauma. You have to think back to the moment of the trauma, whereby feelings and thoughts are also recalled. At the same time, the therapist's hand gestures must be followed and you are distracted. This can also be done with sounds through headphones, which have the same distracting effect. By being distracted all the time, the trauma can find a place at a certain point. You will look back at the trauma with less emotion and in principle, this no longer needs to be the reason for a compulsive disorder.

Cognitive behavioural therapy

If you want to get rid of a fear of contamination, this means not carrying out your regular cleaning rituals. This is a huge change in behaviour and you cannot do this alone. Cognitive behavioural therapy aims to make you look at certain situations in a completely different way. In a way that you no longer feel the need to obsessively clean. You learn to look at things differently and to react to them differently. This is also a therapy that is often given in combination with other therapies, such as exposure therapy. In the latter therapy you are, for example, confronted with a door handle that you have to touch and you experience that nothing strange or scary will happen.

How does Psylaris help to overcome the fear of germs?

Anxiety disorders, phobias and compulsive disorders can be treated much more easily with modern techniques. Psylaris is developer of several modern tools for the mental healthcare. For clients who are treated with EMDR and have such symptoms that they cannot leave the house anymore, there is EMDR-Remote. This is an online EMDR platform, which the practitioner can very easily use to give an EMDR treatment remotely. This can be done, for example, by means of image calling. The practitioner has various digital distraction devices at his disposal.

Virtual reality is also being increasingly implemented in the mental healthcare. Psylaris plays a leading role in this, with the development of various modules for different anxiety disorders and phobias. This way you can literally be confronted with the fears you are struggling with through VR glasses. Another advantage of VR is that you can use the VR goggles at home. This makes more frequent treatment possible and you will get rid of the fear of germs faster.

EMDR-plus

Exposure in virtual reality

The goal of Psylaris is to support therapists even better with innovative techniques and tools. Virtual reality plays a leading role in this. With EMDR-VR and EMDR-plus an EMDR treatment is possible using virtual reality. The practitioner can use distraction tasks even better and the client can also be treated remotely. Virtual reality is ideally suited for exposure therapy. The client is confronted with his/her fears. It is no longer necessary to visit a physical location, such as an elevator in case of elevator fear or a shopping mall in case of agoraphobia. With the VR glasses on, the client is confronted with the fear in the safe environment of the treatment room or his/her home. Psylaris has developed modules for various types of fears that require exposure therapy. This saves costs and time, and the client can be treated more frequently, which results in a faster recovery.

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