What is Ablutophobia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

Some people are fearful of bathing. Today, we’ll discuss what is ablutophobia; its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Ablutophobia? 

Ablutophobia is a form of specific phobia where a person is fearful of showering, washing, or bathing. The condition has the capability to impact both adults and kids, but it’s more common among females than males.

Bathing is very important for various reasons physically, medically, and socially. Many people enjoy washing and bathing in their routine life. But it can be a terrifying and highly fearful experience for people with the ablutophobic condition. If they follow the treatment plan, they can manage their fear and live healthy and productive life.

According to an estimate by American Psychiatric Association; approximately 7-9% of the people in the USA experience any specific form of phobia. It’s possible that they would develop any type of specific phobia.

A study conducted by the Anxiety Disorder Association of British Columbia, it’s probable that kids would develop any type of specific phobia like ablutophobia from ages 7-to 11 years old. The specific phobia is two times more common among girls than boys, and it impacts 5% of young kids and 16% of teenagers.

Symptoms of Ablutophobia 

Limited bathing and showering have got negative consequences on your health. According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), bathing and washing your face, hair, and body regularly would help you to stop the spread of diseases and conditions like lice and diarrhea.

According to an estimate, approximately 66% of the US people bath frequently and at least once a day, and 7% of the people bath once a week. The signs of the ablutophobic condition are completely different from the cranky behavior of the kid that doesn’t like to bathe or the adult that doesn’t like to bathe.

The main sign of ablutophobia is fear, and the fear doesn’t base on any realistic threat relevant to bathing. The fear persists and it tends to last for a long time, roundabout 6 months or more. However, some of the main physical symptoms of ablutophobia are as follows;

  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Sudden sweats
  • Dizziness
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden feelings of hot and cold
  • Heart palpitation
  • Light-headed or faint feeling
  • Difficult breathing
  • Racing pulse

The fear people with the ablutophobic condition experience the detachment from their body or disconnected from reality. They would be fearful of the following;

  • They may die
  • Losing control
  • Fainting or passing out
  • Nervous breakdown

One of the main ways to manage distress is to avoid those things that would trigger it. People with the ablutophobic condition would avoid washing or bathing, and it would result in the form of problems with social acceptance, physical health, and well-being.


People with an ablutophobic condition that avoids bathing, face problems of depression by being isolated socially, and issues in the school and workplace. It badly impacts their self-esteem and self-image. However, kids with the ablutophobic condition are vulnerable to bullying as they reach the teen years.

Some people manage their fear by relying on alcohol and drugs, and it results in chemical dependency and other health issues.

Causes of Ablutophobia 

Researchers don’t know the exact cause of ablutophobia, and studies are still being conducted to determine its main causes. Some of its main causes are as follows;


Some people develop the ablutophobic condition after a traumatic and frightening experience relevant to water or bathing. It could be abusive family relations or drowning. It’s probable that some people develop specific phobias like ablutophobia after going through the tragic event relevant to the triggering point. For instance, it could be having an accident or falling in the bathtub, and it develops in the form of phobia.

Environmental Factors

Along with genetic factors, many environmental factors play their part in the development of a specific phobia. It’s difficult to tell what exactly is causing it whether it’s genetic or the upbringing of a person. For instance, if someone in the family has a bathing phobia and the child would learn from them and develop this condition.

Treatment of Ablutophobia 

Medication and therapeutic approaches are effective forms of treatment methods. They’re as follows;

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT helps you to change the way you think about things, evaluate things, and respond to the world and feelings around you. It teaches them how to control their emotional reaction, and how people could manage to live with the ablutophobic condition. According to an estimate, CBT is an effective treatment method for roundabout 75% of people with specific phobia.


Medication is also an effective approach when therapies aren’t delivering the required results. Medicines would help you to treat other relevant psychiatric issues. Some of them are as follows;

  • Antianxiety drugs like benzodiazepine
  • Antidepressants like SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)


Some of the self-care and self-management techniques that would help you to treat the symptoms of ablutophobia are as follows;

  • Avoiding caffeine
  • Exercises
  • Meditation

Conclusion: What is Ablutophobia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is ablutophobia; its symptoms, causes, and treatment; we have realized that ablutophobia could badly impact your life. If you’re experiencing its symptoms, then you should consult with the therapist as soon as you can.