Shy Bladder Syndrome Paruresis - Why Choose Living With A Disorder?

Don’t accept the choice of living with a disorder such as shy bladder syndrome. Accept the condition and take the help that’s out there.

As I’ve stated many times before on this site; shy bladder syndrome, paruresis, bashful bladder or whatever you decide to call it is officially classified as a social phobia. A form of Social Anxiety Disorder if you like. You can read more ablout this classification in our feature Shy Bladder Syndrome – A Form Of Social Phobia And Anxiety Disorder.

The key to this phrase is the word “disorder”, The focus of this short feature is on living with any disorder.

First of all a few stark facts courtesy of the Anxiety & Depression Association Of America (similar stats across the world):

  • 40 million US adults (over the age of 18) suffer from anxiety disorders each year.
  • In percentage terms that’s 18.1% of the population … nearly 1 in every 5 people.
  • Anxiety disorders ARE treatable.
  • Only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.

That means that around 18% of the population suffer from some form of anxiety disorder which is usually highly treatable yet around two thirds of all these people don’t get the treatment often because they don’t seek it. In numerical terms that’s 25 million adults in America alone who live with an untreated anxiety disorder each year. Statistics we simple HAVE to change.

Of course there are different forms and types of anxiety disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Specific Phobias, OCD, PTSD amongst others (you can read more at but, because Shy Bladder Syndrome is classifed in this section, lets specifically look at Social Anxiety Disorders.

Social Anxiety Disorder – The Facts

Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD as it’s often referred to) develops from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. It affects around 15 million adults in the US each year. Again, putting this in percentage terms that’s 6.8% of the population. That’s more than 1 in every 15 adults who suffer from SAD. It’s not gender specific and is equally as common in men as it is in women. It usually starts in younger years – typically the very early teenage years. But here’s the big fact … 36% of those suffering from a social anxiety disorder do so for more than 10 years before seeking help!

Now the big question … does that represent your situation. Have you been affected by Paruresis for many years and done nothing about it? Have you kept it quiet, hidden it and not sought out help for the condition? I’m guessing the answer but now you know that you don’t have to go through it any more because these forms of disorder are treatable and often the treatment is easier than you may think.

Living With Social Anxiety Disorder – Why Suffer Alone?

So, why is it that so many can seek help but choose not to? There are probably 5 main reasons:

  • Stigma: Dispite all the ongoing campaigns around mental health there’s still a fear in many people of the consequences of having a mental illness diagnosis.
  • Denial: Simply not realising or accepting that there’s a problem.
  • Lack Of Information: There are so many forms of SAD and we only seem to hear about the most common ones or those affecting high profile individuals.
  • Trust: By this we really mean difficulty in opening up to family or friends and closely related to stigma.
  • Hopelessness: What’s the point, there’s nothing that can be done!

Another question for you … being honest can you relate to any of the above?

Shy Bladder Syndrome As A Social Anxiety Disorder

We know that social anxiety disorder is common amongst adults. Also, we know that shy bladder syndrome is officially classified as a specific form of this disorder and is equally as common. So just why do people not seek help and simply live with this disorder? Let’s examine the similarities and put it in context.

We stated above that Social Anxiety Disorder develops from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events and starts in early teen years. Specifically in the case of Paruresis the trigger is some form of life event at around that age. This could be as simple as some form of embarrassing restroom related event, restoorm teasing, bullying or harassment, undue pressure to perform or, occasionally and in extreme cases, sexual abuse (in which case you should seek profesional support). We’ve written a page explaining this in more detail: Understanding The Triggers Of Shy Bladder Syndrome.

We also stated that around 63% of SAD sufferers don’t get treatment and 36% struggle with a disorder for more that 10 years before seeking help … sound familiar to you? In our experience this is very true in respect of shy bladder syndrome. Not just because paruretics find it difficult to ask for help but also because the condition and the severity of the symptoms builds uup gradually, like a snowball, over time.

Shy Bladder Syndrome – Why Choose Living With A Disorder?

When I looked at the 5 main reasons why people choose not to seek help I can easily relate these to shy bladder syndrome disorder:

  1. Stigma: How embarrassed are you going to be and what will people think about you if the knew you suffered from Paruresis?
  2. Denial: Your shy bladder has developed over time and so you may not realise there’s much of a problem. However, the mere fact you’re here and reading this now means that you’re ready to accept it.
  3. Lack Of Information: You certainly here very little talked about in terms of shy bladder syndrome however, a quick Google search (other search engines are available) will reveal a mass of organisations, features, resources and programs to help and also to demonstrate just how common the condition actually is.
  4. Trust: It is hard to open up about your condition – we really do know. However, we really do recommend that you open up to that person (or those people) closest to you and explain your condition to them. We’re talking about the person (s) who you go out with the most. Just imagine how much pressure will be lifted from you if you’re out at the theatre, a concert, a bar or a restaurant and they understood your condition and why you were longer in the restroom or your visits were more frequent or at quiet times. You would feel so much less pressure to perform which would, in itself have a really beneficial effect.
  5. Hopelessness: You can forget this one too – there is a point in seeking help because shy bladder syndrome CAN be treated and, whilst it’s not going to be overnight, it’s not that difficult.

Paruresis – Take The Help That’s Out There

In conclusion I urge you to not accept the choice of living with a disorder such as shy bladder syndrome. I say, accept your Paruresis disorder and take the help that’s out there.

By help we don’t necessarily mean formal and costly one to one therapy (although this can be highly effective of course). If you can’t yet face opening up or don’t have the time or finances for this you can do it yourself. There’s books on the subject of paruresis, self-help shy bladder treatment options and paruresis organisations who can support you.

Take the help, transform your life, suffer no more and don’t be one of the 63% who choose living with a disorder. It’s not just going to disappear by itself but with a little help it CAN be overcome. Good luck!

Before I end this feature let me introduce the two programs that really helped me: