Being fearful is a natural part of life. However, some things may be a bit more irrational than others. That does not make it any less real for the person experiencing the phobia. There can also be varying degrees of fear, and it can affect different people in different ways. A lesser-known phobia is something called coprastasophobia.
Coprastasophobia is a fear or phobia of constipation. Even though it is not one of the more commonly discussed phobias, it is not one that is unheard of. Since it is a phobia that is related to a natural bodily function, it can be something that may potentially debilitate an individual if they are suffering from this phobia. For this reason, coprastasophobia, and any other phobia, should be taken seriously. Things can easily escalate and cause other potential issues.
What Causes Coprastasophobia?
Most of the time, phobias are caused by anxiety. It may start off small, but anything can trigger it to become more exasperated. While anxiety can often be a starting point, it is not the only cause of coprastasophobia. Some other potential causes include:
- A Prior Experience – If someone has had a particularly scary bout of constipation in the past, they are more likely to develop coprastasophobia. It does not have to be a medically bad case of constipation for this to be true. It only needs to be a bad experience for the individual to start having this fear.
- Genetics – Believe it or not, someone will be more prone to having phobias if it is something that others in the family experience. A family member can pass down a tendency for phobias or even a specific phobia, like coprastasophobia.
- Environment – Even if it is not genetically passed down, it is still something that can be picked up from others that you surround yourself with. This could be picked up from other family members, friends, or even acquaintances. This is more likely to happen during the more formative years of your youth but can happen at any age if you are more susceptible to phobias.
Symptoms of Coprastasophobia
If you think you may be suffering from coprastasophobia, it is important to start paying attention to the symptoms so you can determine if you need to seek professional help. You do not want to leave a phobia of any kind alone as you risk it becoming worse and causing you more health problems. There are both mental and physical symptoms to look for when trying to determine if you are experiencing a phobia.
The mental symptoms associated with coprastasophobia include things like fear, withdrawing from friends and family, feeling disconnected yet not feeling like you have the energy to resolve it, feeling like you do not have any control, sleeping more often than usual, being sad or depressed, having anxiety around eating or using the bathroom, having general anxiety, experiencing mood swings, and having any other fear that is a direct result of you coprastasophobia. These can all make your life fairly difficult to manage and can also lead to the physical symptoms that are detailed below.
The physical symptoms you may experience with coprastasophobia include things like sweating excessively, shaking or trembling, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, heart palpitations, difficulty breathing, nausea, headaches, dry mouth, increased blood pressure, hyperventilation, and even panic attacks. These physical symptoms can really disrupt your life and lead to an increase in your mental symptoms. It is a vicious cycle that can only be stopped with proper treatment.
If you are at all wondering if you may be suffering from coprastasophobia, you should seek professional help. Do not wait to see if your symptoms get worse before reaching out. The earlier you get help with your phobia, the easier it will be for you to overcome it. You also will continue to experience your symptoms until you deal with your phobia and either learn how to overcome it or how to manage it in your daily life.
Potential Dangers of Coprastasophobia
Some people try to deal with their phobias on their own. While this is something that can be done in mild cases of coprastasophobia, there is always a risk of the condition getting worse over time. If someone is trying to avoid seeing a doctor for the issue because they are embarrassed, they may try to treat their symptoms on their own. As someone gets more desperate to avoid their phobia, they may start doing things that can lead to worse health issues. An example of this would be taking stool softeners daily to avoid ever getting constipated. However, this is not something that you want to do, as repeated and consistent use of stool softeners can lead to abdominal cramping, diarrhea, dizziness, and even laxative overdose. You can also become addicted to laxatives very quickly and will need to go through a laxative withdrawal that can take several weeks to several months.
Avoidance is a very common danger, but it is not the only danger of coprastasophobia. Another danger is having it escalate and increase anxiety or even lead to depression. Both of these have major dangers associated with them. When something like this is ignored, it often gets worse. It may feel better for a little while, but you can’t trick your body into thinking you are ok, only your brain. Eventually, it will all come crashing down like a wave and can have some really bad consequences. The last thing you want to do when you are experiencing a phobia and anxiety is to ignore it. It may be scary to face it head-on, but that is often the best way to help you deal with the phobia. However, how to approach your method of healing and dealing with the phobia can vary. Every person is different, as is every phobia. It should be treated as such.
There are many ways that you can get help and be treated for coprastasophobia. Most phobias can be cured, but there is not one guaranteed way to cure them or to help someone cope with them. Every person is unique, every phobia is unique, and every treatment plan should be unique to reflect that. The right doctor will try several different approaches to find what works best for you. While the treatment plan differs from person to person, the overall options tend to be the same. These are the most common forms of treatment for phobias, including coprastasophobia:
- Medication – Medication is often used as a supplement to get quick help but is not usually a long-term solution. In fact, it is usually just used to treat the symptoms, not the root cause. Therapies are better known to assist with the long-term impact of phobia. However, medication can have its place in treatment. The most common types of medication used include:
- Beta-blockers – to assist with anxiety that can be caused by phobias
- Tranquilizers – to help keep the mind calm and not focused on the phobia
- Antidepressants – to assist with depression that is a result of phobias
- Counseling – Counseling, or speaking to a professional about your phobia on a regular basis, has proven to be very effective in terms of treating phobias. This is because they tend to be more relaxed, are physically non-invasive, and give you a safe space to discuss your phobia without any judgment. You will also get adequate time to really examine your phobia, what has caused it, and what your trigger points are. Some of the things that should be addressed over the course of your counseling therapy include:
- The patterns you exhibit in relation to the phobia
- Root causes of your phobia and how to resolve them or cope with them
- Tools to better understand your mind and why this is happening to you
- Guidance on your path to healing, even when you are not making much progress
- Continued assistance, no matter how long you need to overcome your phobia
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – This is a different therapy approach that focuses on helping you to determine what is real and what is not real. Many people have a skewed perception of reality that results in these phobias. In this type of therapy, the goal is to separate what is real from what is not real so you can begin to heal yourself and see the world, and your phobia, for what it actually is – an irrational fear. Once you have a realistic view of your phobia, you can begin to work on coping skills, challenge your irrational fear, and eventually overcome it entirely.
How to Find the Help You Need
For many with this phobia, there is an added fear of getting help because they think it is an embarrassing phobia. While it may feel that way to you, these doctors deal with strange and irrational phobias all the time. The best thing you can do if you have this fear is to seek professional help. There is a multitude of ways this can be treated, but the first step is reaching out to get help.
To find someone that can assist you, you should start with your primary care doctor. They will be able to evaluate you and determine if you should speak to someone who specializes in phobias, they can prescribe you medication to help with anxiety and depression as it relates to your phobia, and they can give you referrals to therapists to help you with managing your fear and developing healthy coping mechanisms.
If you do not already have a primary care doctor, you should find a doctor that specializes in family care or general medicine. If you have insurance, you can find in-network doctors through your insurance. If you do not have insurance, you can check your local area for reduced-cost medical care. Getting help is the first step in recovery. Even if you do not feel comfortable doing it, finding a way to take that step will do wonderful things for your overall health and help you take back your life.
Coprastasophobia can be very intense for those who have this phobia. It can take over their lives and is a fear that can happen daily or even multiple times per day. If you believe that you may be suffering from coprastasophobia, it is best to see a doctor and find some counseling to help you learn some coping skills. No one wants to live in fear, especially when it comes to something that will impact your daily life. Knowing that there are ways to deal with the phobia can help you deal with it in a more healthy manner.