Vestiphobia is the irrational fear of clothing. Someone suffering from this condition can expect to experience a very high amount of anxiety from merely thinking of clothing, let alone actually wearing it. In fact, their anxiety may be so intense that they may even endure a full blown panic attack as a result of it. Although such an influx of anxiety will not always be the case for everyone suffering from vestiphobia, it is still very plausible to occur nonetheless.
Someone experiencing a full blown panic attack as a result of their vestiphobia can expect to have an increased heart rate, an increased rate of breathing, higher blood pressure, muscle tension, trembling, and excessive sweating, among several other symptoms. Although panic attacks may not always be the case for everyone experiencing symptoms of vestiphobia, it is still possible to occur, especially if their symptoms are very severe.
Someone suffering from vestiphobia may find themselves avoiding that which they fear. They may take this to the extreme by ensuring that they cannot be exposed to clothing in any way. For example, someone with this condition may refuse to wear clothing, regardless of the particular situation that they are in. Such excessive worry and irrational thinking is likely to be one of the main causes of their mental anguish.
Although someone with this condition may actively avoid their fear in an attempt to help them reduce their chances of experiencing any immediate anxiety, doing so may also worsen their symptoms of vestiphobia in the long term due to the fact that they would also be justifying their fear to themselves by actively avoiding it.
Symptoms of Vestiphobia
As is the case with virtually every other phobia that exists, someone with vestiphobia can expect anxiety to be the most prominent symptom of their condition. Also, as previously mentioned, their anxiety may be so extreme that they may even endure full blown panic attacks as a result of it. Depending on the severity of their panic attack, they may even need to be hospitalized. However, this will vary from person to person and will be dependent on many factors.
Furthermore, someone with vestiphobia may go to painstaking efforts to ensure that they do not come into contact with their fear in any way. This may mean them not only avoiding areas where they may come into contact with their fear, but also that they may actively try to prevent it from happening by taking a more hands-on approach.
Below, you will see some more common symptoms of this phobia:
- Anxiety when thinking of clothing
- Constantly avoiding clothing
- Unable to cope with their anxiety
- Muscle tension, shakiness, and sweating
- May experience panic attacks
Causes of Vestiphobia
There are no definitive causes of vestiphobia. Nevertheless, genetics and one’s environment may both play very significant roles in the development of this condition. For example, if someone has a family history of mental illness, especially of anxiety disorders or specific phobias, then they may have a higher chance of developing vestiphobia. This may be due to them then having a genetic predisposition to developing mental illness in general.
If someone were to have such genetics, then it may only require that they experience some sort of traumatic event for them to develop full blown vestiphobia. Essentially, any sort of emotionally painful event that involved the various fears associated with vestiphobia in some way may be enough for someone to develop this condition insofar as they have the proper genetics.
Although we do not know the exact causes of vestiphobia, the consensus among most mental health professionals is that both genetics and environmental factors play very significant roles in the development of any given mental disorder. 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 vestiphobia.
Just as there are no definitive causes of vestiphobia, there are also no treatments that are specifically designed for this condition either. Nevertheless, there are still many different forms of treatment that can help to significantly improve many of the symptoms of vestiphobia. Some of these treatments include exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and some psychiatric medications, among others.
Exposure therapy is one of the most common forms of treatment for people suffering from phobias. Exposure therapy works by having the therapist gradually expose the patient to their fear over a given period of time. With regards to vestiphobia, the therapist may start off by exposing the patient to photos of clothing and then eventually expose them to actual clothing they can observe and touch. This would all be in an attempt to help desensitize the patient to their fear by repetitively exposing them to it. Theoretically, the more someone is exposed to something they fear, the less it will bother them over time.
CBT is another very common form of treatment that is often used to help people suffering from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), among other conditions. Moreover, it may also be effective at helping to treat people suffering from phobias like vestiphobia as well. CBT works by having the therapist help the patient to uncover why it is that they think, feel, and behave the way they do with regards to a particular fear or concern they have.
Someone with vestiphobia partaking in CBT can expect to learn why it is that they think the way they do about their fear, among other things. Understanding such things may help someone with vestiphobia to take a more pragmatic approach when thinking about their fear of clothing.