Coprastasophobia: The Fear of Constipation

I discuss the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this phobia.

Coprastasophobia is an overwhelming, irrational fear of constipation. The person coping with this phobia may fear the pain of constipation. Coprastasophobic people may also fear that their bodies are not functioning properly and that there is some underlying, serious medical condition that is causing the constipation. In order to avoid constipation, some individuals compromised by this phobia, may become frequent users of laxatives. In extreme cases of Coprastasophobia, the abuse of laxatives can result in serious medical complications.

Coprastasophobia derives from the Greek word “kopros”, meaning dung and “phobos” meaning fear.

What Causes Coprastasophobia?

As is the case with all phobias, the person suffering with Coprastasophobia has experienced a real-life trauma at some time. That traumatic experience is then consistently and automatically associated with becoming constipated.

Perhaps the individual coping with Coprastasophobia has a diagnosed medical condition that sometimes causes constipation. Maybe this person has learned to fear constipation as it complicates the primary medical condition. The coprastasophobic person may have actually experienced a severe case of constipation that required medical intervention.

Whatever the cause, the coprastasophobic person can experience anxiety and emotional turmoil that is completely disruptive to their ability to function.

What Are the Symptoms of Coprastasophobia?

The symptoms of Coprastasophobia are individual and will vary among people. Some people, when confronted with their fear of constipation, may begin to perspire, feel slightly uncomfortable or become nauseated. At the opposite end of the spectrum, other people are so severely compromised by this phobia, that they may experience crippling anxiety and/or panic attacks.

Other symptoms of Coprastasophobia may include:

* A Dry Mouth
* Heart Palpitations
* Numbness
* Heightened Senses
* Breathlessness
* Feeling Dizzy
* Muscle Tension
* Hyperventilation
* Trembling
* Rapid Heartbeat
* Feeling Out of Control
* Feeling Trapped and Unable to Escape
* Intense Feeling of Impending Disaster

How Is Coprastasophobia Diagnosed?

The vast majority of cases of Coprastasophobia are self-diagnosed. The individual realizes that their fear of constipation is irrational and is severely compromising their ability to function on a daily basis.

The coprastasophobic person may discuss their phobia with the primary physician. Rarely would the doctor diagnosis Coprastasophobia based on that initial discussion with the patient. More routinely, after ruling out any medical reason for this phobia, the doctor will refer the person to a mental health professional for comprehensive assessment and evaluation.

How Is Coprastasophobia Treated?

When the fear of constipation becomes intense enough to disrupt an individual’s ability to function, there are a number of ways to treat Coprastasophobia.

These can include:

* A referral from the primary physician to a therapist who specializes in the treatment of phobias.

* Traditional “talk” therapy that will teach the person to recognize and control their phobia.

* Hypnotherapy.

* Exposure Therapy.

* Self-help techniques such as purposeful muscle relaxation.

* Support groups with other people who are coping with this specific phobia.

* Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Desensitization Therapy.

* Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and visualization.

* In severe cases of Coprastasophobia, anti-anxiety medication can be prescribed.

Coprastasophobia is an intense, irrational fear of constipation. Sometimes that fear can become so overwhelming as to completely halt a person’s ability to function on a daily basis. Unchecked, Coprastasophobia can become a debilitating condition that interferes with an individual’s personal life, their social life and job responsibilities. Untreated, Coprastasophobia can have a devastating impact on every aspect of a person’s life.

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