An Excess of Phobias and Manias, A-B
Character isn’t inherited. One builds it daily by the way one thinks and acts, thought
by thought, action by action. If one lets fear or hate or anger take possession
of the mind, they become self-forged chains.
—Helen Gahagan Douglas
ablutomania: 1. An obsessional pre-occupation with cleanliness, washing,
or bathing, often accompanied by compulsive rituals. 2. A morbid impulse to wash
or to bathe, or an incessant preoccupation with thoughts of frequent hand-washing,
or bathing; often seen as an obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Compulsive rituals are enormously time-consuming. One woman had a compulsion to
wash her hands in a certain way after touching “unclean” objects—namely,
from fingers to wrist, from wrist to elbow, and from elbow to upper arm—and
then to repeat the performance until her anxiety was over, which could be several
times. As a result, her hands often became painfully raw.
A young man had the compulsion to wash in a certain order whenever he had a bath.
He said, “When I wash clothes or clean anything—floor, carpet, windows
and so on—I have to clean them in a certain manner to make sure I do not miss
anything. I can never hurry because I would not feel that it has been done properly.”
When the thoughts and rituals of
obsessive-compulsive disorders are intense,
the victim’s work and home life disintegrate.
With severe compulsions,
endless rituals dominate each day.
—Judith L. Rapoport, M.D.
The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Washing
aeroacrophobia, cenophobia, kenophobia: The fear of open places or spaces
alektorophobia: An abnormal fear of chickens which may be a result of the
fear of feathers, of winged creatures, or of flying animals or birds. Such fears
may also include eggs and live or dead chickens. A few reasons include fears of
being pecked, swooped upon, and because they roost above eye level or that they
eat food from the ground or manure piles which apparently may contaminate the bird.
Such fears usually involve relative closeness to live chickens, but usually don’t
include cooked chickens.
I did not become a vegetarian for my health.
I did it for the health of the chickens.
-Isaac Bashevis Singer
alethophobia: An abnormal fear of the truth.
algophobia: An excessive fear of pain. Mankind has
suffered and feared pain since the beginning of time. Although a wide variety of
drugs are now available to ease pain, it is still a fearful topic, and the prospect
of having pain makes many people extremely anxious; especially, when they can not
explain its cause to their doctor or to others around them.
alliumphobia: An abnormal fear of garlic that may extend to a variety of
plants characterized by their pungent odors, including onions, leeks, chives, and
allodoxaphobia: The fear of other people’s opinions
basiphobia, basophobia: fear of alkaline soils (plants), or walking (due
to standing on soil)
: The fear of leeches
borborygamiphobia: fear of gas (intestinal)