Did You Know?
Ablutophobia is the fear of bathing
Ablutophobia, or fear of bathing, is a relatively uncommon but serious phobia that appears to be more prevalent in women and children.
Yes, many children demonstratively dislike baths, but a phobia is different. If your healthcare provider is following the new American Psychiatric Association guidelines, she is unlikely to give an ablutophobia diagnosis unless the extreme overestimation of danger persists for more than six months.
Ablutophobia, like all phobias, is an anxiety disorder. It's clinically known as a specific phobia, which is an excessive or unreasonable fear of an object or situation.2 It can manifest in many ways, from a fear of showering to a complete phobia of all washing.
Like all specific phobias, a traumatic past event is the commonly the trigger for ablutophobia,3 although you may or may not consciously remember it. How did you get ablutophobia?
- A traumatic past event may have happened to you, a relative or even someone in a movie or television show. For example, some horror film fans claim to develop a fear of showering after seeing Alfred Hitchcock’s "Psycho."
- This anxiety disorder can also develop from other people’s fears. If a parent or close relative had the same fear, you might have internalized that person’s reactions in childhood.
- Many kids try to avoid bath time, whether due to fear or simple preference. It is possible that your childhood aversion may have carried over into your adult life.