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October 23, 2019
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How to get over germaphobia towards people?

:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Edited Oct 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
EDIT: (I realized that germophobe/germophobia is spelled with an O. Not an A. So, sorry for the misspelling. I didn't finish school. )


I've always had a problem with touching people and I realized that I'll never date or marry anyone if I don't fix this issue.

I have no problem petting a cute animal, but people getting too close makes me feel uncomfortable. I don't even want to touch another person's hair, because it's really creepy to me. I don't feel the same way if it's a wig made from human hair, so idk why I feel so grossed out by hair that sheds from a person or is still attached to them. I've never held anyone's hand other than my mom's when I was a little girl and I hated it! Her hands were always so sweaty. I hate sweat. 

I've felt this way for as long as I can remember. So, pretty much my whole life. I feel it got worse though, because I don't even hug my own sister anymore. I stopped hugging her at age 10. I'm 27 now. As a germaphobe, it's hard to know if I'm actually asexual or if I'm just sex repulsed due to the germs. I have no experience with anyone. Recently, I don't even watch porn anymore, because I don't want to anymore and I feel fine.

So, what can I do to help myself get over the phobia I have? It's not guaranteed that I'll be able to have an intimate relationship with anyone, but at least I'll be able to act normal.
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Devious Comments

:iconvineris:
Vineris Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019  Professional General Artist
That kind of stuff tends to be related to anxiety so seeing someone for anxiety is likely to help.  After that, exposure therapy (slowly and with a lot of support).
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:icongametrek:
GameTrek Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019  Professional General Artist
OP needs somebody to force them to accept people
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have lots of anxiety, but I'm not too sure if I can handle the physical part.
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:iconvineris:
Vineris Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019  Professional General Artist
Yeah, it sounds like it's going to be a slow process.  That's why dealing with the anxiety has to come first.  When you've got a treatment plan for your anxiety and you're pretty stable and less anxious overall, then you can SLOWLY start dealing with the physical part.  If you take it slowly and become comfortable with each step before moving on to the next step, you'll develop ways to handle it.  You need to give your brain lots of time to adjust.  It's kinda like adjusting to a new climate.  The first few years after you move somewhere really hot or cold or wet or dry are pretty uncomfortable, but then eventually you're like "meh, this is the way things are now" and it doesn't bother you as much.

Maybe you'll always be asexual or touch-averse but it's nice to be able to occasionally hug someone without having your brain freak out about it.  So it's something worth working on.  But really slowly.  Don't just jump into a pit of people, that's not gonna end well.
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I understand what you are saying, but I don't see the point of hugs or of kissing. I don't understand why it's needed for people to cuddle, so I think even after I managed to get over it, those things still wouldn't have much meaning to me. When I think about it, the feeling of obligation comes to mind. At least I wouldn't feel distress though after actually addressing the problem.
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:iconevil-nerd:
eViL-nErD Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019  Professional Digital Artist
some caution with germs is good, too much is bad cause your immune system needs to be exposed to stuff for training otherwise your immune system will be weak . 
if you're worried about flu, pneumonia, etc well there's vaccines for all of those nasty illnesses and i've never had the flu . :la:
hugging wont give u germs, kissing will, but mainly for things like mono so if you're gonna get intimate and kiss someone be sure to ask em if they've had mono recently.
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I've had the flu before as a kid. It was pretty horrible lol. Since cold and flu season is close, I'm gonna wear a mask again like I did last year. My family doesn't like being sick. Hugging might not give me germs, but it feels nasty. The thought of hugging someone or touching them makes me feel like the person is gross and I don't mean to sound rude, but it's how I feel. I definitely won't be able to kiss anyone.
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:iconfordprefectwonthebet:
FordPrefectWonTheBet Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019  Professional General Artist
I have a friend with serious germ OCD, she actually puts plastic down on seats and wears gloves everywhere. She works at a salon where that's not weird. 

The best thing to do is go find a doctor or therapist who can help you. The best way to treat something like this depends on exactly what is causing it and how you personally process things. 
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I almost wonder if gloves would help, but then I don't think it would, because I don't want any form of my body to be touched. Probably better to seek therapy. I'm not sure of what is causing it, I'd have to dig real deep to find the cause.
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:iconfordprefectwonthebet:
FordPrefectWonTheBet Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019  Professional General Artist
Eh, there's rarely one single 'cause'- it's more of identifying whether it's something you're thinking, or a symptom stemming from something else (like a neurotransmitter imbalance). How it's treated really depends on exactly what you're feeling/thinking, and figuring out the best way to stop that from happening. 

They'll have something- probably a few sheets of paper with checklists on them- that will help you give them your symptoms. After they see your symptoms they'll talk about your medical history, then figure out what you want to do for treatment. If your anxiety is really severe, they might suggest anti-anxiety medication- you don't have to take medication if you don't want to. Whether or not you want medication, you can still do therapy. They'll give you some ideas of things you can do that will help, have you try them, and then come back in two weeks or whatever and see if they're working. Since everybody is different, if whatever they suggest didn't help, they'll suggest something else. Anybody in the mental health profession has lots of experience with different things that work, since they're talking to the people who are trying to get better. 
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah, I see. Thank you for the tips and a bit of an explanation.
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:iconfordprefectwonthebet:
FordPrefectWonTheBet Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019  Professional General Artist
I had a bad reaction to Paxil about 10 years ago and after that I learned way more about mental health treatment than I wish I knew lol I'm on anti-anxiety medication right now- to help control a heart condition. 

Something like aversion to touch- even if it's only certain kinds of touch- can be one of the symptoms of some kinds of nerve disorder. Those can usually be treated- but what you'd do is different than what you'd do if you don't want to touch people because you've been handled roughly in the past and it causes anxiety for a more psychological reason. 
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah, I'm really sorry to hear that. A lot of meds can cause some serious health concerns. So, I really would prefer to find something all natural if possible. My late grandma was on Paxil and it made her really hostile. So, I definitely know to avoid it. Well, I've been isolated from people. I was brought up in a strict house hold and making friends was really pointless since I couldn't spend time with them anyway. So, I just didn't care about any of that when it was never going to happen.


My mom wants me to get married, but that's never going to happen since she really doesn't want me to get married. She doesn't want me to go out to meet anyone, that's why I stated that. However, my touch adversion isn't solely from her. She has encouraged me to shake hands with people or hug people, but that's like asking me to stick my hand in spaghetti sauce. Or the feeling you get when you accidentally touch something sticky without knowing it.
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:iconfordprefectwonthebet:
FordPrefectWonTheBet Featured By Owner Edited Oct 24, 2019  Professional General Artist
Paxil is nasty, and they usually don't want to give it to people anymore unless other things don't work. If your problem is more psychological, meds alone rarely do much good, anyway. 

In many cases, if people start taking medication, they go off of it at some point simply because they don't need it anymore. Properly used medication just makes it easier for you to deal with the actual cause, or to fix a short term neurotransmitter imbalance caused by prolonged stress, physical illness, depression, etc. 

The people who are on medication for long periods of time- about one in four- usually can't produce the right neurotransmitters. It's sort of like diabetes- your body just fails to produce a certain chemical it needs to work correctly. In a case like that, the people need medication long term (though not always for life). 

I'm for natural treatments- but there are some problems tying to use most of them. The biggest one being that natural supplements aren't regulated by the FDA. Tests have shown most of them contain little, if any, of what they are supposed to- in fact something like 40% were mostly grass clippings. When they do contain what they say they do, the active ingredient varies wildly between batches and sometimes capsules. Some herbs- like Valerian and St Johns Wort- commonly used for anxiety and depression- can cause unpleasant side effects if taken in to high a dose- including things like digestive distress, photosensitivity, hallucinations, and heart palpitations. Exactly what you want if you're already prone to anxiety! 

Because lots of people do like to use natural treatments, most doctors are familiar with at least the most common ones. If you're going to use a natural remedy, make sure you talk to a doctor. And never use any natural treatment in combination with medication- over the counter or prescription- without talking to a doctor or pharmacist. Some of them have interactions. 

For instance- I can't take St Johns Wort, because it interacts with beta blockers- which is what I'm on for my heart. Valerian interacts with the anti-anxiety medication I'm on, causing things like severe dizziness. Multiple herbs contain anti-coagulants- taking them with asprin or prescription blood thinners can cause internal bleeding.  

The only way to make sure you're getting whatever it is you want to take is to either grow/find it yourself or buy it from somewhere you can physically see it whole. And even then, you run into problems because- being an agricultural product- the amount of active substance will vary, so your dose will constantly be fluctuating. 

Also- little is known about the long term use of many natural remedies (partly because so many of them are just lawn service leavings) but some of them, when taken for long periods of time, are known to cause lovely side effects like liver, kidney, and heart problems- some of them even affect the digestive system and you end up with *ahem* anal leakage. 

Because none of it is regulated, and many of the remedies are drawn from old 'medicinal texts' of dubious origin and translation and relied on illustrations or descriptions to attempt to identify the substance in question, there's very little evidence that many natural treatments do much of anything. Many of them aren't bad for you- but they don't really do anything, either. Some of them are just plain nasty and you shouldn't be taking them. Some things, of course, have been confirmed to work- and in those cases, the active ingredient is usually isolated and synthesized, then used in medication.

In many cases, a whole plant will contain other chemicals that can do things you don't want them to if taken at a certain dose. Getting the active dose of what you want may require getting more than you want of something else, resulting in unwanted side effects. 

I'm not saying never use any natural remedy- just be really careful. 

Most people don't have bad side effects from medications prescribed for mental health reasons. Even if someone does experience side effects, they usually go away within a couple weeks and aren't bad enough to make someone stop taking the medication. Some meds to have nasty long term effects- but most of the time, they'll start off with something that's generally safe and well tolerated, and only start going to the things that are likely to damage you if nothing works and you really need medication to function. 

You basically have to do a benefit/risk analysis- say it's a scenario where someone is so bi-polar they can't function, they are constantly either trying to kill themselves or having psychotic breakdowns and getting arrested- and the only thing that works is Lithium. But taking it makes them able to be a pretty normal person, get a job, have a relationship- the lithium will eventually damage their kidneys, so it's shortening their life span. But it's giving them an actual life. 

Most of the time, the benefit/risk is more like the medication might make you nauseous, or give you weird dreams or dry mouth or something like that And many of the first line psych and nerve medications have been around for so long that we do actually have information on how they affect people long term. 
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I didn't know all of that, gosh. I was thinking of some nice weed lol. Since no one ever said anything bad about weed, but that could have something to watch out for as well. I've heard of bad trips happening. Who knows. Even though my family can't take St John's Wort, so I wouldn't risk it anyway. It's kind of alarming that 40% of that stuff they claim to be all natural is just grass clippings. So, with that being said, I suppose everything has pros and cons. Thanks for the heads up, because I don't know what I should know about all this stuff. I'll definitely be looking up more information on medications and risks due to this. Especially since my sister is all about all natural stuff. I'll have to warn her.
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(1 Reply)
:iconnkyvi:
nkyvi Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019
This sounds like you are afraid of physical contact while also being germophobic... and the former sounds like a problem you should seek professional help for. It will surely make your problems more liveable with!

Anyway, as a microbiologist I'm here to tell you people germs aren't that scary. Most germs on people and in environment are not harmful at all. There is not many of them on hair. And the ones that cause disease are mostly easy to kill with hand santinizer - if you're self concious about using it try to get one that looks kinda like a hand cream :) Idk if educating yourself about germs would help you or make things worse, but if you think it would help - I'm open to all questions
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I know the germs won't harm me, but it's disgusting. I compare kissing someone to sucking the food particles right out of a stranger's mouth. It's cringy. I view humans as disgusting creatures compared to animals and idk why when dogs eat their own poop. I still wouldn't let a dog lick my mouth though. My sister says that hugging is supposed to be comforting, but it's not to me. I just felt obligated to give my family a hug, but it feels uncomfortable to me. I don't have to hug my sister anymore, but I still have to hug my mom since she'd feel upset if I didn't. It's rare, since she seems to understand how I don't like it.
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:iconpmngs:
PMNGS Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019
bath yourself in meat.
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'd prefer carrots and onions with potatoes to bathe in. At least I'd make someone a good meal. Lol.
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:iconpmngs:
PMNGS Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019
dont ever offer yourself as a meat though as theres people whos willing to actually eat you up :ohnoes:

in all seriousness how can you even live with a thing such as germaphobia? considering these lil critters are just everywhere and you kinda need a lot of them to survive yourself. :eager:
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's only towards people and very rarely if a seat looks dirty or really worn then I don't wanna sit on it. I don't understand how people think someone spitting on them is gross, but they're perfectly fine with kissing someone when the spit is coming directly from that person's mouth. I just don't see it as clean. I don't like any form of liquid sensation or even touching someone else's clothes/them touching mine. I'm very aware of the germs floating around and I also know that we are breathing skin particles of other people. I'm fine with that, but someone walking up and licking the side of my face, I'm not okay with that.
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:iconpmngs:
PMNGS Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019
ok but who's actually licking you??? lol relatives, when greeting each other i assume?

also how do you deal with your own fluids? in my personal case im grossed out by semen, so i find my own semen disgusting as well (maybe its the other way around...). im guessing you feel drooling when sleeping, when you do it yourself, is gross too...?
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My mom used to clean my face by doing the old fashioned thumb lick, so it's not licking my face, but close to it. I'm glad she doesn't do that anymore! Actually, I'm fine with my own bodily fluids. I mean, everyone thinks it's gross to wake up in drool or to wake up sweaty, but we just wash it off. If it's someone else's bodily fluids... I'd feel horrified lol. I never thought that a guy would find his own semen gross though.
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:iconpmngs:
PMNGS Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2019
i am that one dude :dance: i legit find it fucking gross, not to mention others' (like in porn and whatsoever, or that thing hentai has about cumming on a girl, all of
that is so fucking gross like jesus).
by the same logic im ok with drool, mine or others. once someone even spitted on my mouth, and whilst gross i didnt make a big deal out of it. my childhood was disgusting :P
im pretty sure your mom doesnt do that anymore as in youre like... 27? lol. again, you seemingly dont have much contact with other people's fluids at the time. im guessing youre picturing whenever a guy will try to kiss you and whatsoever, youll find that gross :meow:
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, it took awhile for me to get over the grossness of cum. I'm glad my mom doesn't wipe my face anymore lol. Yeah I'm picturing a nasty kiss from anyone. Not just a guy, but a girl too. Anyone. It's weird, because I can have sexual fantasies, but a fantasy isn't the same as reality.
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(1 Reply)
:iconshidaku:
Shidaku Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I know exactly how you feel.

A little bottle of hand sanitizer does wonders, both before touching people and after.
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have hand sanitizer, but I just feel self conscious about using it right there and then, you know? 
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:iconshidaku:
Shidaku Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
When I first started doing it, I'd wait for someone to cough or sneeze and then pull it out, then after that I'd pull it out whenever and noone would think twice.
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh good idea. Btw, cold and flu season is around the corner. Stay safe lol.
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:iconshidaku:
Shidaku Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I know and I'm already starting to feel sick. bleh.
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:iconyuagin:
Yuagin Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019  Student Artist
I'd suggest carrying around a bottle of hand sanitizer, it allows you to touch people then really quick murder all the germs you may or may not have gotten from them. Try and ease your way into it with someone you trust, it's never a good thing to just yeet yourself into the deep end with a phobia.
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I already have a travel size hand sanitizer that I keep with me( tiny enough to fit in one's back pocket), but I feel really self conscious when using it in public, so I only try to use it in private. Usually, I just avoid any form of touching from people. I don't have friends, so I don't have to worry about that. I'm not so sure that I can just ease into it, because I think about trying to hug my sister and feel horrible. The same feeling someone would feel after hugging a person who doesn't shower or something even though I know she's a clean person. I often tell myself that other people shower and wash their hands, but it doesn't help to see people just walk past the sinks in the public bathroom without even washing their hands at all! 
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:iconmisterpain:
MisterPain Featured By Owner Edited Oct 23, 2019
Go to some mud-filled music festival with hippies and test your skills.
Or ask this dude to be your master: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BPexFo…
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm okay with mud, but the people themselves...nope. Maybe mud covered people would do the trick lol. I just don't want direct contact with people.
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:iconmisterpain:
MisterPain Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019
hmmm... sounds misanthropic.
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, I won't lie....but still. I have to rely on other people.
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:iconmisterpain:
MisterPain Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019
yep, unfortunely every human must.
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:iconakatix:
Akatix Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
It sounds like it's affecting your life quite a bit, seeking professional help would be the best way to work through it. 
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh gosh, I really didn't want to seek professional help for this, because it's embarrassing. I suppose I can try. Thank you.
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:iconakatix:
Akatix Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Don't be embarrassed! It's actually fairly common. Enough so that any therapist or doctor you speak with would have dealt with a similar case, hell even just studying Psychology in university we went into depth about how it's potentially evolutionary (just on a much more severe scale of course).

There are plenty of famous people with severe Germophobia as well! Just look at Howie Mandel, he has OCD that manifests a lot in Germophobia/Mysophobia and he's still wildly successful :> 
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:iconss0011:
SS0011 Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow, I wonder how he's able to deal with that. I'll try to see if I can look up some extra tips online. Even though I do know that I'll have to see someone in person. I appreciate the help!
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:iconakatix:
Akatix Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2019  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
It takes a lot of work for sure! But it can be done :)  I bet there's even specific forums or support groups for people going through the same thing as you that you could speak with. 

Absolutely! Best of luck <3 
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