Paruresis as a taboo topic

The word "paruresis" denotes a difficult mental problem that hardly anyone dares to talk about. Paruresis is the inability to urinate in the presence of other people in public toilets. In English, the term Shy Bladder Syndrome has been established for this purpose, which means "shy bladder syndrome". Estimates are based on 1 million Paruresis sufferers in Germany.

Paruresis: Social phobia as a result

It is not the disgust of public toilets that has prevented Thomas M. (name vd Red. Changed) from seeking public toilets for eight years: he simply feels uncomfortable and embarrassed, heard or seen by other people on the "village" to become.

Another Paruresis sufferer describes it like this: "In principle, I can urinate on public toilets, but only when I'm alone I go to the cinema basically only in exciting moments to the bathroom, because I hope there to be alone Bad luck, I'm sitting there for ten minutes until everyone is out. " He writes this anonymously in the Internet Paruresis Forum of the European Paruresis Association - even to go to a doctor, he is embarrassed.

People like Thomas are therefore masters in avoiding: They avoid going to the bathroom because they only go home, they avoid drinking, they find excuses not to go out with friends or even to travel. "They avoid public toilets and refrain from social activities because they can not assess where and under what conditions it is possible to urinate, " says the psychotherapist dr. Philipp Hammelstein from the University of Dusseldorf.

The daily routine is determined in part by when there is an opportunity to urinate undisturbed and unobserved. Interpersonal relationships and partnerships suffer when joint activities outside of their own four walls are canceled. It becomes particularly dramatic when self-doubt and depression are added. Paruresis is therefore considered a social anxiety disorder.

Paruresis: urination impossible

Paruresis almost always occurs during puberty. Triggers can be a stupid remark or a bad experience, such as when children were threatened in the bathroom. Such a key event is the beginning of a biologically very old reaction: the signal "danger" activates the "sympathetic nervous system", the "fight-flight-system", which dates from the time when humans were hunters and gatherers and all kinds of mischief threatened from nature.

In case of danger, adrenaline is increasingly released, muscles are perfused - and urination becomes impossible. Because the circular muscles that control the bladder emptying, are tense. If there is no danger, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated - the circular muscles are relaxed, and only in a relaxed situation can you urinate. So it makes no sense to urinate under "stress" and to "squeeze" as the muscle tenses even more.

Paruresis: Expectation fear big

Paruresis sufferers suffer from a fear of anticipation, because they have learned that they can not urinate in the presence of other people. A concerned reports: "Public toilets, in department stores, train stations, airports, bars, discotheques are the big problem. Just where it is loud, and many people around you. It does not help to find an empty toilet, because even with little operation the chance is even higher to be surprised by a guest. "The customer review has been automatically translated from German.

In the expectation fear so the "fight-flight-system" is active again. But that's not all. The bad experiences lead in the course of time to the fact that those affected consider themselves "not normal" or devaluate as a failure. They feel inferior and depressed. When the time comes, the paruresis is established "in the head, " as Hammelstein puts it.

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