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halitophobia 1We have all heard of elephantitis or heard about extremely hairy people and even people with bark like growths on their bodies, but here are a few you have probably not heard of.

TMAU: this is a condition where the body’s ability to break down trimethylamine is abnormal. Trimethylamine is found in foods like fish, legumes and red meat. Once the organic compounds have built up it causes a strong fish smell when released by means of sweat, urine and saliva

Alien hand syndrome: this is when a person has no control over their hand. The offending hand will do whatever it feels like. It could slap you in the face; and could even try chocking you and there is nothing you can do to control it.

Morgellons Disease: this disease is when someone feels crawling, biting and stinging beneath the skin. The urge to keep scratching is unbearable and often keeps people from sleeping because they cannot stop scratching. These creepy sensations are the result of “delusional infestation” which is a fake feeling of being infested with parasites.

Haemolacria: this is when someone cries and they cry tears of blood. This could be the symptom of various medical conditions ranging from inflammation in the eye, bacterial conjunctivitis and even tuberculosis. It could even be from a tumour in the tear ducts. There was one case however of a woman called Rashida Khatoon, where she had none of the symptoms above but kept of crying tears of blood.

Walking corpse syndrome: this is a mental disorder where someone believes that they have either died or a part of their body is decomposing. People suffering from this syndrome often become socially withdrawn and will neglect their hygiene and their wellbeing. Some have died from starvation while others believed that they were the walking dead and have gone to extreme lengths by bathing in acid because they believe that their souls are trapped in a decaying body.

Jumping Frenchmen of main: people suffering from this show extreme reaction to noise or movement. They could develop a nervous tic or be startled to such an extent that they have outrageous outbursts, jumping, yelling and sometimes even lash out.

Halitophobia: Bad breath also known as halitosis occurs when bacteria in the mouth produce an odorous sulphur compound as a result of protein consumption. There are many causes of bad breath but the most common are naturally occurring bacteria in the oral cavities, gum disease also known as periodontal disease general poor oral hygiene and poor dietary habits.

Although there are many people suffering from chronic or occasional halitosis, there are the 25% who seek medical help for bad breath that simply does not exist. These people suffer with what is called halitophobia, a phobia some people get where they think that they have bad breath and are obsessed with brushing their teeth throughout the day or chewing gum all day to mask their “bad breath”.

Society places great emphasis on bad breath and the treatment thereof, advertising mouth rinses, mints and chewing gum. But if you go to the extreme and overdo the oral hygiene regime, you may be suffering from halitophobia.

What are the causes of halitophobia?

Halitophobia could be related to a few psychological syndromes like delusion, hypochondria and obsessive compulsive disorder. But the most closely related to olfactory reference syndrome, which is a syndrome where someone obsesses that their body odour is unpleasant. Someone suffering from halitophobia will brush their teeth, rinse their mouths with oral rinses and use breath fresheners in a compulsive manner. Some halitophobia sufferers have avoidance behaviour; they might have a social phobia and could even isolate themselves. In extreme cases the person could develop depression because of these chronic fears of having halitosis.

How is Halitophobia diagnosed?

The best place to start would be to consult your dentist if you think you might be suffering from halitophobia. The dentists will assess the situation and do some tests to see if you have halitosis. If the tests reveal that you have halitophobia you will then be referred to a psychological specialist. The psychological specialists will then go into the underlying issues that need to be resolved and not just the phobia. From there they evaluate and examine the psychological condition of the patient and will then begin treatment depending on the level of mental stability exhibited by the patient.

People suffering from halitophobia do not have bad breath but they become obsessive over the possibility of it. Someone suffering from delusional halitosis will find it unbearable because it affects their confidence in a social situation and could increase their obsessive compulsive practices and tendencies. This is why it is essential for someone suffering from halitophobia to go and see a psychological specialist to get the most effective treatment.

For many of us these symptoms and diseases seem to be extreme. However they really do exist and are very real to the person suffering from them. It is very important to see your physician to help treat these conditions to make it possible for you to be able to live a relatively normal life.