Mary John

Ataxophobia: Meaning and Signs


Storytime! There was this young man; let’s call him Mr. Ed. He did not tolerate dirt and a scattered environment. It was something his neighbors at home, family members and colleagues at work knew.

A dirty environment irritated him as it would everyone. He hated it and was in great fear of it. He was experiencing acrophobia.

Before we begin to talk about ataxophobia, let us first establish the fact that no one likes to stay in an environment. Well, maybe not everyone, but most people. We can all agree on that, can’t we?

People have fears about various things in life, but those fears usually do not hinder them from carrying out their daily activities.

However, if those fears cause them to behave irrationally, thus disrupting their daily lives, we call it a phobia. One of the phobias a person can have is ataxophobia.

The purpose of this article is to introduce you to ataxophobia. It will tell you what ataxophobia is, what can cause a person to experience it, and the signs that identify it in a person.

This will help you or a loved one understand the fear or untidiness you have.

Ataxophobia is an irrational fear of disorder and untidiness.  A person who has an intense, irrational fear of untidiness and disorder is experiencing ataxophobia. It is a specific fear.

Such a person experiences anxiety at the thought of their house or environment being untidy or entering an untidy place.

And as usual, the immediate response is to avoid the fear as much as possible. You would find him or her arranging and rearranging a place, sweeping and mopping over and over again, even when the place is clean and tidy.

This phobia is closely linked to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), even though they are not the same.

Factors That Can Cause Ataxophobia

ambermb, Pixabay

Certain factors predispose a person to this phobia.

1. Genetics

A person who has a family history of anxiety disorders, phobias, and mental illnesses of any kind is likely to experience ataxophobia.

However, this does not necessarily mean your family members have to have ataxophobia for you to also have it (though it can happen). It might be any other phobia.

2. Environment

The environment you live in might predispose you to have ataxophobia. Even if you have a genetic factor for ataxophobia, if you live in an environment that doesn’t support the fear, you wouldn’t develop it.

Traumatic experiences associated with untidiness and disorder can also predispose you to ataxophobia.

3. Previous phobias

A person who has experienced other phobias is at risk of developing ataxophobia. Since your body is prone to fear, environmental conditions can make you develop ataxophobia.

Remember Mr. Ed from our story? His fear was linked to a traumatic situation from his childhood. He would leave dirty plates piled up in the sink and refuse to wash them.

As a punishment, his brothers would pack the dirt from the plates and put it under Ed’s bed when he wasn’t looking. When his mom told him to clean his room, he would push all the dirt under the bed.

Ed wasn’t a tidy person, so it didn’t bother him at first until his room began to smell from the combined dirt from the dishes and his room. Soon he began to sneeze deeply and feel sick.

He didn’t let his parents into his room or tell them what had happened. When they finally discovered what had happened, they made him clean his whole room alone.

That encounter made him hate dirt with passion until it developed into a phobia.

Signs of Identity Ataxophobia

The first sign that identifies ataxophobia is irrational fear and anxiety. However, these can develop into physical symptoms, which include all or some of the following:

1. Dizziness and Fainting

An out-of-place item in the house, food dropping from the plate to the floor, sand from shoes, and scattered beds can make them feel dizzy.

2. Heart Palpitations

Their hearts begin to race and beat fast when they step into or pass a very dirty environment.

3. Nausea

They feel like vomiting and might even vomit when they see disorder or untidiness in a place.

4. Shortness of Breath

The air suddenly seems too harsh for them, and they struggle to breathe.

5. Uncontrolled Sweating

Their bodies react to the disorder by excreting large amounts of sweat, almost as though they ran a marathon.

6. Tremors and Chills

Their bodies begin to shake violently, and they feel very cold all over.

7. Pins and Needles Sensation

They feel like someone is poking all over their body with needles and pins.

People with ataxophobia suffer from an irrational fear of disorder and untidiness, and this can cause them to miss out on friendships and relationships, as not everyone can tolerate someone who constantly fears dirt.

Ataxophobia can, however, be overcome through therapy.

Leave a Comment