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Saturday, August 15, 2020

Nudophobia (Fear of Nudity): Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

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According to some experts, Phobias are the body’s protective reaction to whatever they view as harmful or scary. However, phobias are irrational and extreme fear towards a particular object.

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We all were born naked, and there are certain things that before we could do them, we have to get naked such as bathing and defecating. These are basic things that we all do, but to think that some people find nudity scary is quite absurd.

Nudophobia is a condition whereby an individual fears nudity. The sight and the thought of a naked body may go as far as causing the person to have full-blown panic attacks. In severe cases, this could be life-limiting.

What is Nudophobia? (An Overview)

Nudophobia is the intense and irrational fear of nudity. It is a type of specific phobias where people with this fear experience panic attacks when exposed to nudity, including their naked bodies.

When the individuals are aware that they are naked or they feel naked even though they are clothed, they are likely to get triggered as well.

Most times, nudophobia would make the sufferer to be scared of having a bath, going to the toilet, or changing clothes. In some instances, the sufferer would refuse to share rooms or washroom with another person to avoid nudity. This condition may eventually cause depression.


Same as other phobias, persons with Nudophobia, experience some of the following symptoms when exposed to nudity:

  • Extreme anxiety when exposed to nudity
  • Severe anxiety at the thought of nudity 
  • Inability to manage anxiety
  • Full-blown panic attacks
  • Avoiding nudity
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea
  • Feelings of dizziness
  • Fear of an impending doom
  • Excessive sweating
  • A sense of butterflies in the stomach
  • Mouth Dryness

If a person continuously experiences at least three to five symptoms listed above at the exposure or thought of nudity for at least six months, then they may be diagnosed with Nudophobia.


Just as with other phobias, Nudophobia has no exact cause, but experts believe that the following may serve as predisposing factors that contribute to the development of the condition.

  • Genetics/heredity: Experts have always believed that if conditions such as diabetes can be passed down, then phobias are inheritable as well.
  • Traumatic experience: A traumatic experience is a common factor known to cause phobias. In this case, a person who has been bullied, body shamed, or slut-shamed stands a higher risk of being too body-conscious that they develop nudophobia. Additionally, an individual that was once sexually violated is likely to develop this condition.
  • Background upbringing: In environments where they place specific moral values on nudity may cause at least a handful, if not everybody living there, to find nudity too sensitive. Certain individuals may find it so sensitive that it causes them distress, and a handful of them are likely to develop this condition.

Therefore, you may say that Nudophobia is caused by the internal make-up of a person alongside the influence of some of the environmental factors.

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Treatment of Nudophobia


No phobia has a particular type of treatment that is guaranteed to cure. However, therapy and medications have been adopted to help the individual recover.


Consulting a mental health professional may help you recover from Nudophobia. When you stick to your scheduled sessions with your therapist, who is equipped with the skills to help you overcome your fears, therapists are likely to use the following approaches:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This is the most common approach used in the treatment of phobias. Using this approach, your therapist helps you identify those negative and irrational thought patterns that are responsible for your fears and replaces them with positive ones.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Your therapist may decide to use this approach. Although DBT is used in the treatment of some personality disorders, it can be used in treating specific phobias, including Nudophobia.

This is where you are assigned to join a DBT group where coping strategies are being taught for six months. These coping strategies empower you to have control over yourself, even in the face of your source of fear, in this case, nudity.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

MBSR is an eight-week program that consists of group sessions. In MBSR, mindful meditations are practiced in lecture classes collectively as a group. After the meditation class, a group discussion will be held. The group involves everyone to talk about mental health.

In this program, you get to meet individuals like you, and with the help of the group coach, you will pull through.

Drug Therapy

Drug therapy is administered to help suppress the effects of the phobias, while you go through therapy. These drugs may have side effects, and long-term use may result in addiction and dependence.

Therefore, these drugs should be taken strictly based on your doctor’s prescription. The following are the two types of medications used in the treatment of phobias, specifically Nudophobia.

  • Anti-anxiety Drugs: They are medicines known to lower anxiety by forming bonds with the receptor cells in your brain. The receptor cells may be responsible for these extreme symptoms, and they include Valium.
  • Anti-depressant Drugs: These drugs are commonly used to treat depression, but they are deemed competent in the treatment of phobias by reducing anxiety. They include medicines such as Lexapro.


Meditation helps calm a person down and obtain inner peace. It is known as a relaxation technique that allows the practitioner to escape negative thoughts. By taking deep breaths, you get to have your mind calmed and also have it channeled it to a more positive and productive thought.

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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.

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