Fear Of Undressing (deshabiliophobia): Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

fear of undressing

Human beings feel many emotions, some pleasant, and others that are not so pleasant but that, although sometimes they may not seem like it, are adaptive and have functionality. Fear is an emotion that puts us on alert, so that, in the face of danger, we can react quickly. Therefore, it is an adaptive emotion, but the current context can often appear irrationally, causing a great feeling of anxiety and discomfort. In these cases we speak of a phobic disorder.

There are many types of phobias and they appear in response to many stimuli. Today we will talk about the phobia of undressing, a phobia that can be disabling and that can seriously harm a person when having sexual relations

Related article: “Types of phobias: exploring fear disorders”

What is the phobia of undressing?

Phobias can be classified in different ways. There are usually three types of phobias: agoraphobia and specific phobias and social phobias. Dishabliophobia belongs to this group. If you want to know more about what a social phobia is, you can read our article “Social phobia: what is it and how to overcome it?”

The phobia of undressing also belongs to those known as sexual phobias, which are those that interfere with a person’s normal sexual behavior People who are afraid of undressing can have a really hard time in situations where they have to take off their clothes, whether in a gym or when having intimate relations with another person. In extreme cases, the phobia can appear even though no one is around, simply by imagining someone looking when the affected person is naked or when there is someone nearby but not necessarily in the same room.

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Causes of this phobia

The most common cause of the development of this phobia is having suffered a traumatic experience, generally in the privacy of a bathroom or locker room, or in a situation related to nudity. This fear occurs, therefore, as a result of learning, specifically classical conditioning, a type of associative learning that was initially investigated by the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov.

Now, one of the most important experiments in the history of psychology, in which John Watson managed to make a little boy, named Albert, develop a phobia, occurred in 1920 in the United States.

Other causes of fear of nudity

Now, this phobia is complex, like the rest of social phobias. Some experts claim that there is a relationship with low self-esteem and a distorted image of one’s own body, which is known as body dysmorphic disorder. A disorder in which the sufferer feels exaggerated concern about some defect (usually imaginary) in a physical characteristic of the body. These people suffer great anxiety when they have to show their body to other people and try to avoid situations in which they have to undress in front of other people.

Phobias can also develop through vicarious conditioning, that is, from observing unpleasant experiences in other people Vicarious conditioning has different characteristics than observational learning. You can check it out in our article “Vicarious conditioning: how does this type of learning work?”

Finally, experts affirm that human beings are biologically predisposed to suffer from phobias, since fear is an adaptive emotion that does not respond to logical arguments. The reason for this is that it is produced by primitive and non-cognitive associations.

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Symptoms of dishabliophobia

Phobias, despite having different types, share the same symptoms. These symptoms are usually of three types: cognitive, behavioral and physical As for the former, fear, anguish, shame, lack of concentration or catastrophic thoughts stand out. Regarding behavioral symptoms, the person with this disorder tends to avoid the feared stimulus. The most notable physical symptoms are: hyperventilation, headache, dry mouth, increased heart rate and nausea.

Treatment

The fear of nudity is a complex situation that requires psychological treatment, as it can cause great discomfort and an inability to have not only sexual relations, but also romantic ones. There are many types of psychotherapy, but according to scientific studies, The most effective for the treatment of phobias is cognitive behavioral therapy

There are many cognitive behavioral techniques, but the most effective have proven to be exposure techniques and relaxation techniques. A very popular and widely used technique in the treatment of phobias is systematic desensitization, which contains the previous two and exposes the patient to the phobic stimulus gradually. First, however, it is necessary for the patient to learn a series of coping strategies.

Furthermore, today, new technologies have also had a positive influence on the treatment of phobias, since virtual reality is used to simulate the presence of the phobic stimulus.