Blennophobia (Fear of Slime)
Blennophobia is the irrational fear of slime. Someone suffering from this condition will have a very difficult time thinking of slime as doing so may give them an immense amount of anxiety. Slime is defined as a moist, soft, and slippery substance, typically regarded as repulsive. So, this means that slime can be virtually anything that falls into this definition. From mucus to fish, essentially anything that may have the slightest bit of slime on it may give someone with blennophobia a high influx of unwanted anxiety.
Someone with blennophobia will likely try to avoid slime or things that may be slimy as best they can to ensure that they don’t experience any painful anxiety. Be that as it may, slime is not a very common thing that people usually come across. So, they may not have a very difficult time with avoiding slime or slimy things.
In fact, people with blennophobia will likely come across slime when they least expect it. Such an abrupt surprise may be enough for someone with blennophobia to experience a full blown panic attack. However, this will vary from person to person.
Someone suffering from blennophobia will likely try their hardest to not think about slime as doing so will give them an overwhelming amount of dread. Although trying to avoid thinking of slime, as well as actively avoiding physical slime wherever it may occur may help them to reduce some of their anxiety, doing so may actually worsen their blennophobia in the long run due to them constantly reinforcing their fear of slime.
Symptoms of Blennophobia
As is the case with virtually every other phobia, anxiety will be the main symptom that someone with blennophobia can expect to experience. Also, as previously mentioned, their anxiety may be so intrusive and extreme that they may experience full blown panic attacks as a result of their fear of sime. This may lead them to take an active approach to avoid slime at any cost.
Another potential action that someone with blennophobia may take part in due to their fear of slime is where they decide to live at. For example, someone with this phobia may decide to live in a very dry area where rain is sparse. Such a decision may be based solely on their blennophobia due them realizing that dry areas will typically have much less slime or less slimey things than areas in humid climates.
Below, you will see some more common symptoms of blennophobia:
Anxiety when thinking of slime
Anxiety when near/touching slime
Unable to cope with their fear of slime
Muscle tension, shakiness, and sweating
May experience panic attacks
Causes of Blennophobia
There are no known causes of blennophobia. However, genetics and one’s environment may both play significant roles in the development of any given mental disorder. For example, someone who has a family history of mental illness may have a higher chance of developing blennophobia. This may be due to them having a genetic predisposition to developing mental illness in general. If they were to have such genetics, then it may only require that they endure some sort of traumatic event for them to develop full blown blennophobia.
Essentially, any sort of traumatic event that in some way involved slime or something slimy may be enough for someone with the right genetic predisposition to eventually develop blennophobia. In, fact slime itself does not have to necessarily be the main part of their traumatic event for them to associate negative emotions toward it. Furthermore, some people may simply find slimy things to be grotesque and due to that reason alone they may develop blennophobia, given that they have the proper genetics that is.
Although there is no definitive cause of blennophobia, the consensus among most mental health professionals is that both genetics and one’s environment may play very significant roles in the development of this condition. So, taking a closer look at these two different parameters may shed some light as to whether or not you may be at risk for developing this phobia.
Blennophobia Treatments (abridged)
Just as there are no known causes of blennophobia, there are also no treatments that are specifically designed to treat this condition either. Nevertheless, there are still many different forms of treatment that can significantly help to reduce someone’s symptoms of blennophobia. One of the most common forms of treatment for people suffering from phobias and various other anxiety disorders is exposure therapy. This form of treatment works by having the therapist slowly expose the patient to their fear over a given period of time in an attempt to desensitize them to their fear.
Theoretically, the more the patient is exposed to their fear, the less it will bother them over time. The therapist may start off treatment by exposing the patient to photos or videos of slime. Eventually the therapist may expose the patient to an actual object that is slimy insofar as it is safe and ethical to do so. Moreover, it is imperative that the therapist implementing such treatment is very adept and experienced at treating phobias due to the fact that if the patient is exposed to too much too soon, it may actually worsen their blennophobia in the long run.
Besides exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is another form of treatment that may significantly help someone suffering from this phobia. With CBT, the patient can expect to learn why it is that they think and feel the way they do about slime. Learning this may significantly help to reduce some of their symptoms of blennophobia as they will have a better understanding as to why they withhold the convictions they do, as well as why they behave the way they do when they see slime.
If you think you may have blennophobia or if you are suffering from some of the symptoms described in this article, then you should talk to your doctor as soon as you can so that you can be properly diagnosed and treated. Upon seeing your doctor, you may be referred to see a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or a psychologist for further treatment.
Exposure Therapy for Blennophobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as blennophobia. It can be an efficient way to help desensitize the patient to their specific fears. Be that as it may, it is imperative that the therapist implementing it on their patient is very adept at doing so. For example, if the therapist were to slightly expose someone with blennophobia to their fear, then it may not be very effective as they may need a higher amount of exposure to truly trigger any sort of worthwhile change in the patient.
The same can be said for the antithesis of this scenario. If the therapist were to excessively expose someone with blennophobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their blennophobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with blennophobia has a very strong sense of just how severe their symptoms are so that they can know the level of exposure that the patient will likely be able to handle.
Working Out for Blennophobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including blennophobia. Specifically, cardiovascular exercise can significantly help to relieve one’s stress. This is not to say that weight-resistance training would not benefit someone with anxiety, but rather that aerobic exercise is has been shown to be more effective at releasing those feel good chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins.
According to the American Psychology Association, exercise can help to condition the mind to better cope with stressful situations. This makes sense when we take into consideration the high amount of stress that the body is put under during strenuous exercise. So, if you yourself are sedentary, then engaging in some form of aerobic exercise may be able to significantly help reduce your symptoms of blennophobia by making it much easier for you to cope with the anxiety and stress that’s associated with this condition.
There are many different aerobic modalities that you can partake in to help reduce your symptoms of blennophobia, such as swimming, biking, skiing, walking, and jogging. You can also acquire the many benefits of exercise by playing sports such as tennis, soccer, basketball, and racquetball, among many other sports. Engaging in some form of exercise consistently may be able to help relieve some of the pain associated with blennophobia over time.
Yoga Sessions for Blennophobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from blennophobia. In part, this is due to the meditative state of mind that yoga tends to emit in those who practice it on a consistent basis. Yoga can be thought of as meditation in motion. It can help to relieve some of the anxiety associated with blennophobia due to the mere fact that by engaging in yoga, your attention will be redirected to something more productive.
There are many different types of yoga that someone with blennophobia can benefit from, such as hatha yoga or hot yoga, among many others. Nevertheless, regardless of the many different forms of yoga that exist, virtually all of them can help to relieve some of the stress and anxiety that is associated with blennophobia.
If you have never practiced yoga before, then it may be in your best interest to take a class or watch some guided videos that can help you through each pose. Just like with meditation, the more you practice yoga, the more adept you will become at it. Besides helping you to reduce your symptoms of blennophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Blennophobia
MBSR is an 8-week evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to help people who are suffering from anxiety, stress, depression, and other sorts of mental anguish. MBSR may be able to significantly help someone who is suffering from blennophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with blennophobia can expect to learn a plethora of different skills that can help them to relieve the intense anxiety that’s associated with their specific phobia.
Talk to your doctor or therapist to see if MBSR can help you to reduce the intensity of your symptoms of blennophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Psychiatric Medications for Blennophobia
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe blennophobia due to the fact that people with phobias often experience panic attacks as well. Some common anti-anxiety medications include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin, among many others.
These types of drugs are not typically taken on a daily basis, but they may be insofar as their blennophobia is severe enough. However, this is something that you should first discuss with your doctor before you decide to do so to ensure that it is safe and effective.
These types of medications aren’t only for people who suffer from depression as they can also help people suffering from anxiety disorders as well, such as blennophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of blennophobia.
These types of drugs are typically taken on a daily basis. They can indeed help prevent panic attacks from occurring, but they are more so used to help reduce people’s daily anxiety. Talk to your doctor to see if taking antidepressants can help to reduce your symptoms of blennophobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Blennophobia
CBT is a psycho-social intervention that aims to improve one’s mental health. It is a modality that is often used to treat people suffering from anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder and OCD. Someone with blennophobia may also be able to benefit from CBT as well seeing as how it would allow them to have a much better understanding as to why they think and behave the way they do in relation to their irrational fears.
CBT can be immensely helpful for someone with blennophobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with blennophobia is exposed to their fear, they will almost always have an instantaneous subconscious reaction to their fear. Such a lack of introspection is likely a large part of why someone with this condition will suffer to the extent that they will. CBT can help you to take a step back and analyze your fears more deeply than you typically would.
Besides learning to be more fastidious with regards to understanding one’s specific fears, someone with blennophobia engaging in CBT can also expect to learn various other skills aimed at helping to relieve the anxiety caused by their condition.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Blennophobia
DBT is a very effective form of treatment for people struggling with emotion regulation. It is often used to treat people suffering from borderline personality disorder. Nevertheless, it can also be very advantageous for someone suffering from anxiety disorders like blennophobia too. This is due to the numerous amount of coping skills you can expect to learn in a DBT group. These groups typically last about 6 months long and can have anywhere from two people to several people depending on how many join the group.
One very effective DBT skill for helping someone with blennophobia is half-smiling. This technique works by having you think about that which you fear or upsets you all while slightly raising the corners of your mouth by lightly smiling, thus the term “half-smiling.” Although, it isn’t enough to just think about your fear while half-smiling, you also have to try and refrain from entertaining those painful emotions that your specific fear may evoke.
Mindfulness meditation is also heavily used in DBT and can greatly benefit someone with blennophobia as it is done in a group setting, which helps to put the patient out of their comfort zone. These group mindfulness practices may include drinking warm tea to hone in on the sense of taste and tactile senses or simply focusing on the breath.
Coping ahead is another very useful DBT skill that can help someone with blennophobia. With coping ahead, you will want to find a place where you can sit down quietly without distraction. Close your eyes and then think about the many different possible scenarios where you would face your specific fear and overcome it or cope with it. Doing so will help you to be much better adept at coping with your blennophobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.
Meditation Practice for Blennophobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from blennophobia. Specifically, mindfulness meditation has been shown to be quite beneficial for helping people to enter into a more equanimeous state. There are many different ways with which you can implement mindfulness meditation and there are also many different meditation apps which are designed to make things as easy as possible for you.
Mindfulness has the potential to significantly help those suffering from blennophobia due to how it will help one to distract themselves from their fear by refocusing their attention onto something else that does not have any sort of emotional baggage attached to it, such as by focusing on the breath for example. This is one of the most basic ways that one can meditate and be present.
For someone with blennophobia in the midst of a panic attack, redirecting one’s attention to the various sensations felt when breathing can actually help to reduce the amount of mental anguish experienced during such an influx of anxiety.
To implement mindfulness meditation to help relieve one’s symptoms of blennophobia, you can do so by paying close attention to the way the muscles in your abdomen and chest contract and relax with every inhale and exhale. You can spend time dwelling on how it feels as your chest expands during each inhale and how it sinks in with every exhale.
Besides focusing on your breathing, you can also focus on the sounds around you, the way your skin feels as you touch certain objects, the way foods taste, as well as the way certain aromas smell. Essentially, honing into your 5 senses can significantly help you to reduce some of the anxiety that is associated with blennophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.
Control Caffeine Consumption for Blennophobia
It is no secret that consuming large amounts of caffeine throughout the day can aid in making you more anxious. This makes sense when we look closely at how caffeine affects our body’s physiology. When we consume a high dose of caffeine, our heart will start to beat faster and we become more tense. Essentially, our body will begin to go into a “fight or flight” state of mind. Such a frame of mind is often a precursor for someone with blennophobia to experience panic attacks.
So, consuming little to no caffeine throughout the day may be able to significantly help reduce your day to day anxiety. Although doing so will likely not make all of your anxiety go away, it will indeed help you to reduce any unnecessary suffering that you would have otherwise experienced if you were to consume a large amount of caffeine.
Beverages like coffee and tea are often high in caffeine, as well as some energy drinks. In fact, even some foods have caffeine in them as well, such as dark chocolate. Being more conscious of your daily caffeine consumption may help you to reduce some of the symptoms associated with blennophobia.