Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My DSM V Contribution

I wrote this a couple of years ago. A friend and I discovered we shared a common problem of having a house cat scent things like freshly-washed laundry and that we both found ourselves smelling our clothing in places like on the bus, getting us strange looks. The inspiration to write this came during a discussion we had at the opera about psychopaths. At the time I was reading the DSM casebook and so….

Urinophobia, Feline Type

The fear of having a cat urinate on your clothing, bedding, and/or furniture most typically as a result of forgetting to close a door (closet or room type). This phobia is often accompanied by an obsessive-compulsive behaviour of the subject to smell the articles of clothing they are wearing and this behaviour can be extended to other fabrics. This can lead to social exclusion as such behaviour may be regarded by others as odd. Non-bizarre delusions of being scented will often cause the subject to isolate themselves from contact with others in order to avoid embarrassment. At its most severe, and if the condition is prolonged, urinophobia may develop into antisocial personality disorder. Typically, the feline responsible for the onset of this disorder will be the first kill the subject engages in. However, the lingering smell of feline urine, which is nearly impossible to remove from fabrics, will cause the subject to believe they are still being victimized. As a result, the killings will escalate as the subject destroys any feline they encounter and believe responsible for present or future scentings. Human attacks are not uncommon if the subject feels another person is interfering with their need to murder cats. Subjects may experience financial difficulty as they feel the constant need to replace clothing and other fabrics. If bedding has been soiled, or is believed by the subject to have been soiled, subjects will often sleep without covers in order to distance themselves from the urine. There have been two documented cases of subjects dying of hypothermia as they attempted to sleep naked in the snow believing their entire mattress and bedding has been urinated on by a cat. (In one case, this was actually the circumstance. Although the subject lived alone without pets, his mattress had been purchased from an ad on a telephone pole offering used king-sized beds for fifty dollars). Treatment of urinophobia can be successfully achieved in 86% of cases through a combination of antipsychotic medication and cognitive behavioural therapy. Depending on the severity of the condition, subjects may require treatment for up to two years. 5-8% of recovered subjects will re-experience urinophobia, but remission times are greatly reduced (2-12 weeks) for subsequent occurrences of the disorder.

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