Skip to comments.Four million Brits suffer from toilet phobia
Posted on 11/11/2006 4:54:47 AM PST by MadIvan
At least four million Britons suffer from debilitating toilet phobias and most are too embarrassed to seek help, the National Phobics Society (NPS) said.
The NPS, which works with people affected by anxiety disorders, has classified the "secret" problem of toilet phobia as an anxiety condition in its own right and is launching a new campaign to help sufferers.
Toilet phobias range from a mild dislike of public loos to obsessions where sufferers refuse to leave their homes or even undergo potentially life-saving medical examinations.
The NPS said extreme sufferers are often unable to leave their homes, deny themselves fluids which can harm their kidneys, or take drugs to prevent any perceived or real "accidents."
The organisation argues the medical profession needs educating about toilet phobia in order to encourage sufferers to come forward and hopes its new campaign will go some way to tackling the issue.
The NPS believes that the stigma surrounding the phobia means that many people refuse to admit they have a problem.
"It is known as the 'secret' or 'silent' phobia because of its double whammy impact," said Nicky Lidbetter, manager of the NPS, which is launching the Toilet Phobia campaign at the Anxiety Disorders Conference in Manchester on Saturday.
"Few people will talk about having an anxiety disorder in the first place, but for them to admit they have a toilet-related phobia is rare because of the obvious embarrassment and humiliation of being laughed at or not being taken seriously."
"But, no matter how funny we might find it, it's certainly no laughing matter for almost seven per cent of the population who are reported to suffer from this condition."
The NPS has identified a correlation between Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) linked to a fear of contamination, Agoraphobia, Paruresis ("shy bladder" syndrome or fear of urinating in the company of others) and Parcopresis ("bashful bowel" syndrome, or the inability to defecate in public toilets).
They are collectively known as toilet-related phobias.
The problem can have serious implications for employers with absenteeism from work.
Many sufferers will not take a job if a toilet is located off a communal area and they can be observed going in or out, and will even create fictions of going to the photocopier or the staff kitchen rather than be seen going into the toilet, the NPS said.
Clinical psychologist and cognitive behaviour therapist, Professor Paul Salkovskis, said the attitude of society in general towards going to the toilet was part of the problem.
"Around the world we use a lot of humour and euphemism to describe what is a basic human function," he said.
"We say 'I'm going to the bathroom' or 'I'm going to powder my nose' because there is a taboo surrounding using the toilet."
Treatments include cognitive behaviour therapy, which helps people to break the cycle of faulty thinking, and hypnosis, which utilises techniques such as visualisation and guided imagery to bring about relaxation.
This just in:
4 million toilets have brit-ophobia.
Well the new campaign ads should be interesting to see LOL!
Are you his fat wife?
I was wondering how long it would take you to find this one...
The same folks counted 600,000 dead Iraqis and 11 million illegal US immigrants.
My spies are everywhere.
Although they did forget the all-important "courtesy flush".
Almost pinged you myself...
Hey Mr. Ivan, you really lucked out getting a conservative wife, and with such a great sense of humor to boot!
One wonders if Brits see more of him on BBC than Americans do on ABC.
So does snugs but then I would extend it to American ones as well.
In fact at least UK ones are at a reasonable height American ones are so low the first time I used one I nearly fell off it.
Could this have anything to do with the rise in the Muslim population in England? I understand that Muslims have some weird toilet habits too.
Thats cruel at least I pick them up and put them outside but I agree with bit about the muslims terrorists though
I was in France when I was a wee tyke, and of all the things there are to remember about France, I recall the public toilets the most. I remember asking my mom how people put up with that. Aside from the NYC subway, which is one giant toilet, public facilities in the US are pretty good.
When see something within the NAPL or KPL mandates (or just interesting), please do - I need all the intel I can get.
Compared with what some of our commisioning engineers had to put up in the sticks in the early days that would be luxury.