Shy Bladder And Social Action
Shy bladder syndrome, paruresis or pee phobia is an acquired disorder born out of experience. But managing to spread the right message in society can actually help people to overcome the condition better. It may even help to prevent more people from falling prey to the condition.
The condition itself is actually incredibly common. It’s been studied, given an official name and been classified as a form of social anxiety. Whilst research may not be as thorough and up to date as it is in other anxiety based conditions it’s estimated that around 7% suffer from this condition to varying degrees. So, if it’s a real condition and it’s that common why do we never hear of it?
The answer is simple … stigma! It’s one of those problems which no one like to discuss for fear of embarrassment and ridicule. It’s estimated that over 25% of paruretics hide their condition from partners, nearly 60% don’t tell their friends and nearly 45% don’t tell their family. Yet it’s a real fear that can develop into a condition that can have a serious negative impact on lives. It needs to be brought into the open and accepted. That way more people will have the confidence to talk about it with friends and family and to seek help to resolve the issue.
So, when I talk about social action, exactly what could I be talking about? Let’s see…
Shy Bladder – The Message To Spread
We all need to talk about the condition, share our anxieties and be more open. It’s a snowball effect – as we start to be more open others will follow and so on. There’s 4 key steps we can take which will help us resolve our own issues and others to be more understanding and accepting of the condition.
1: Paruresis Triggers
Let people know about what could be triggering paruresis – and this should include informing parents about the ill effects of pressuring their kids where bodily actions are concerned. For example, kids should never be forced to go to the toilet when they don’t feel like it. Nor should bodily functions or routines be overly criticized. These can all have adverse effects. Common triggers also includes other environmental factors such as restroom bullying, harassment and teasing. Schools and educational establishments in particular need to be made aware of the issue.
2: Drive A Change In Facilities
Next thing that we need to do is to bring to the notice of authorities if you find their public toilets are such that they can make paruretics uncomfortable. Erection of simple barriers between urinals, for example, can make any paruretic feel a lot more secure. More cubicles in men’s restrooms can also help. So if you see this at any place, take the trouble to educate the authorities about the need for better barriers in the toilet!
Maybe it’s not just the authorities – employers and places of work, restroom fit out contractors, manufacturers of the facilities themselves … they all need additional awareness.
3: Education And Awareness
It starts early. In the case of children in school the best way to avoid them developing the condition is in creating a general atmosphere in which the kid feels comfortable – whether in class or in the loo. Therefore, teachers in schools should be informed about the condition. Awareness is vitally important. If you think your child is showing symptoms, then be sure to inform his teacher. Don’t risk escalation of the problem at school.
But it’s not just in early years. Education and awareness needs to be at all levels. Let’s get articles in newspapers, magazines and journals. Let’s get features on TV, let’s start people talking about shy bladder syndrome, let’s build awareness and understanding. Most of all, let’s remove the stigma.
4: Support Networks
Finally, paruresis, like most psychological issues, should be treated with a feeling of security and support. Support groups can play their part. Groups where people with experience are ready and willing to share their success stories of having overcome the condition. They will encourage talking and sharing of experiences. Also, these groups should advertise locally so that other unfortunate paruretics can contact them for help and join. Encourage local paruretics to interact and take the stigma and embarrassment out of the condition.