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Paruresis

Paruresis • Shy Bladder Syndrome • Pee Shyness

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, Alameda

Paruresis is an anxiety disorder where individuals develop a phobia of urinating in restrooms where other people may observe them.  In some cases, the fear of urination in public places may lead to anxiety about not being able to urinate even in restrooms where they feel most comfortable.  Paruresis can lead to avoidance and isolation for fear of not being able to urinate.  Some sufferers become agoraphobic or greatly restrict their mobility.  Paruresis is also known as Bashful Bladder Syndrome (BBS), Pee Shyness, or toilet phobia.Roughly 7% of people report suffering from this disabling condition according to the National Comorbidity Survey.  Paruresis appears to be far more common in men.  Though some women suffer from this disorder.  Paruresis is classified as a social anxiety disorder.  Like social anxiety, paruretics fear negative judgment or humiliation by those in close proximity.Paruresis is treatable using cognitive-behavioral therapy.  Graduated exposure therapy helps paruretics retrain their bodies and brains to handle the feared situations.  Cognitive therapy helps change some of the overly negative thinking that contributes to the anxiety.  Peer support groups can be helpful to sustain improvements.Some paruetics benefit from medication therapy.  Anti-depressants such as SSRI’s can be helpful.  Beta-blockers and anti-anxiety medications may also be prescribed to help lower anxiety to make urination possible.

The International Paruresis Association conducts intensive workshops to provide sufferers with the tools to jumpstart their self-help strategies.  IPA also provides education and advocacy to increase the public’s knowledge of paruresis.