Fear of undressing – (déshabiliophobia): causes, symptoms and treatment

Human beings experience many emotions, some pleasant and others which are not so much, but which, although sometimes they do not seem to be, are adaptive and have functionality. Fear is an emotion that puts us on alert, because in the face of danger, we can react quickly. It is therefore an adaptive emotion, but in the current context it can often appear irrational, causing a great feeling of anxiety and discomfort. In these cases, we speak of a phobic disorder.

Phobias have many types and appear in the face of many stimuli. Today we are going to talk about undressing phobia, a phobia that can be disabling and can seriously harm a person during sex..

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

What is the phobia of undressing

Phobias can be classified in different ways. There are generally three types of phobias: agoraphobia and specific phobias and social phobias. Disability phobia 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 the so-called sexual phobias, which are those that interfere with a person’s normal sexual behavior.. People who are afraid to take their clothes off can have a really bad time in situations where they have to take their clothes off, whether it’s in a gym or in an intimate relationship with another person. In extreme cases, the phobia can appear even though no one is there, simply by imagining someone watching when the victim is naked or when someone is nearby but not necessarily in the same room.

Causes of this phobia

The most common cause for the development of this phobia is having undergone a traumatic experience, usually in the privacy of a bathroom or dressing room, or in a situation related to nudity. This fear therefore results from learning, in particular through classical conditioning, a type of associative learning that was initially studied by Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov.

However, one of the most important experiments in the history of psychology, in which John Watson got a young boy named Albert, developed a phobia, occurred in 1920 in the United States.

  • You can discover all the characteristics of classic conditioning in our article “Classic conditioning and its most important experiences”

Other causes of fear of nudity

However, this phobia is complex, like other social phobias. Some experts claim that this is linked to low self-esteem and a distorted self-image, which is known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder. A disorder in which the sufferer is exaggeratedly concerned about a defect (usually imaginary) in a physical characteristic of the body. These people suffer from great anxiety when they have to show their body to other people and try to avoid situations where they have to undress in front of other people.

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

Finally, experts claim that humans are biologically predisposed to phobias because fear is an adaptive emotion that does not respond to logical arguments. The reason is that it is produced by primitive associations and not cognitive.

Symptoms of disability

Phobias, although they have different types, share the same symptomatology. These symptoms are generally of three types: cognitive, behavioral and physical.. As for the first, fear, anguish, shame, lack of concentration or catastrophic thoughts emerge. When it comes to behavioral symptoms, the person with this disorder tends to avoid the dreaded stimulus. The most important physical symptoms are: hyperventilation, headache, dry mouth, increased heart rate and nausea.

treatment

Fear of nudity is a complex situation that requires psychological treatment, as it can cause great discomfort and inability to have not only sex but also love. There are many types of psychotherapy, but according to scientific studies, cognitive behavioral therapy is most effective in treating phobias.

There are many cognitive-behavioral techniques, but the most effective have been shown 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 which gradually exposes the patient to the phobic stimulus. Before that, however, the patient must learn a number of coping strategies.

  • You can read more about this technique in our article “What is systematic desensitization and how does it work?” However, there are other types of therapies that have also been shown to be very effective in treating these conditions. Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and acceptance and engagement therapy are just a few examples.

In addition today, new technologies have also positively influenced the treatment of phobias, as virtual reality is used to simulate the presence of the phobic stimulus.

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