Mysophobia, also known as germophobia, germaphobia, verminophobia, and bacillophobia, is the fear of contamination and germs
Germophobia is a term used to describe a pathological fear of germs, bacteria, uncleanliness, contamination, and infection. Germophobia, also known as mysophobia, verminophobia, and bacillophobia, is most commonly associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) but can present in a wide variety of people. Individuals with germophobia may feel compelled to excessively wash their hands and to take other precautions against contamination.
Germs are everywhere, and anyone practicing good hygiene and healthy living should take general precautions against contamination. Living life means sometimes encountering dirt, illness, or bacteria, but for some individuals, fear of coming into contact with germs significantly interferes with their lives. People with mysophobia struggle to evaluate which situations are dangerous, as they feel worried or panicked when encountering daily scenarios which involve germs. They will take extensive measure to avoid contamination or decontaminate themselves and the spaces they inhabit.
Causes of Mysophobia
People are at higher risk of developing phobias when anxiety or depression run in their family. Some people may develop mysophobia after experiencing a traumatic event, whereas others may start focusing on germs as a result of their anxiety.1 Some experts assert that the increased use of hygiene items, like toilet seat covers and hand sanitizers, has contributed to the rise of mysophobia in the United States. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)are at higher risk for developing mysophobia because they may experience obsessive thoughts about germs and compulsively clean or sanitize their house or workspace.