The fear of being dirty is known as Automysophobia. People with this phobia may develop some extreme aversions to anything they perceive as being unclean.
Reasons For This Phobia
The feeling of being dirty is unpleasant for almost anyone. It brings along with it a sense of grimy, unhygienic discomfort. Often, people who feel dirty also complain of itching and other related problems.
In the dark ages, people didn’t make the connection between disease and dirt. It took time for scientists to connect the dots that linked illness and hygiene. In our technologically-advanced society, there are few mysteries about the correlation between germs, dirt, and health.
Feeling Dirty Is Demoralizing
Being dirty is demoralizing. Under Stalin’s rule, political prisoners in Gulags were forced to live in disgusting conditions, with little access to soap and hot water. The prisoners reported feelings of deep depression and misery due to being filthy all of the time.
Culture Affects Perception
Every culture and economic echelon has their own definition of what dirty is. For example, someone who grows up in Brazil’s slums, known as the favelas, will have a very different conception of cleanliness, than a member of Britain’s royal family. These extreme examples are meant to demonstrate that the idea of being dirty is often relative to our surroundings.
Is Cleanliness Next To Godliness?
Some people equate dirtiness with earthy, animal behavior. This may be one reason why such an aversion develops. For people who are uncomfortable with certain impulses and actions, dirtiness may seem to welcome crudeness and sin. In modern culture, recording artist Christina Aguilera took advantage of the subversive “appeal” of being unclean in her hit song, “Dirrty”.
In this video, mud and dirt were the backdrop for a lot of wildly dressed females and general debeauchery.
Fear of being dirty may manifest itself in different ways. Some people will wash their hands frequently, refuse to shake hands (because of the threat of transferring germs) or use a lot of antibacterial lotions and cleansers. At its worst, this phobia will provoke a series of rituals that may lead to obsessive-compulsive disorder.
When this phobia interferes with daily life, it can impact career and relationships. This phobia can coexist with Germphobia, the fear of germs. It is often a reaction to some past trauma or memories. For example, a childhood where a boy or girl was not permitted to make a mess or get dirty may precede an adulthood spent fearing the feeling of being dirty. Conversely, there can be issues if a child was forced to grow up in a dirty environment.
Therapy and medication may be necessary to treat Automysophobia. A trained psychotherapist will be able to get at the root of issues related to dirt and germs.
Some people with this phobia will find some relief through a course of anti-depressants.
The symptoms of the fear of being dirty will include a sense of persistent and intense fear when triggers are present. The home of the phobia person will be immaculate, and everything will be in its place. It can be quite draining to be around someone with this phobia, if they expect everyone around them to adhere to their own standards of cleanliness. For this reason, the phobia may require treatment before it takes a toll of relationships.
The Fear Of Being Dirty Is Also Known As:
fear of dirt
fear of feeling dirty
fear of dirtiness