What Is Trypophobia: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

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What Is Trypophobia

Do clusters of small holes, bumpy patterns, high-contrast colors, or certain graphic arrangements make you feel disgusted or fear? Cautious! These are the signs of Trypophobia.

Wait! What is Tryphobia?

Trypophobia does not make it to the most usual and popular list of phobias that are experienced by the masses. However, it is a type of phobia that is triggered by seeing objects with holes or bumpy patterns.

It’s not a diagnosis that makes it to the list of mental health conditions as suggested by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental Disorders (DSM-5). The signs of Trypophobia are similar to a typical phobia and hence it is a matter of concern for an individual’s mental wellness.

Some theorists have claimed that as these patterns are similar to dangerous animals like venomous snakes or crocodiles, the unconscious association between the two triggers Trypophobia.

What does Trypophobia Mean

The word Trypophobia originates from the Greek words “Trypta.” which means hole and “Phobos,” which means fear. Basically, it is fear of holes and likes objects or patterns. These items are harmless, triggering strong emotional and physical reactions every time they see patterns of these kinds.

What are Signs and Symptoms of Trypophobia

After looking at these an individual is likely to experience signs that are similar to other specific phobias. The symptoms of Trypophobia are:

  • Nausea
  • Goosebumps
  • Feeling repulsed.
  • Visual discomfort like illusions, distortions, eyestrain.
  • Distress.
  • Feeling itchy or your skin crawl.
  • Sweating
  • Body shakes.
  • Feeling uncomfortable.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Fear and anxiety.

What Triggers Trypophobia

Unlike other phobias where something dangerous, life-threatening, or unusual things trigger the phobia symptoms, that is not the case of Trypophobia. The symptoms of Trypophobia are triggered by harmless patterns and items that are seen every day. Some of these triggers of Trypophobia are:

  • Sponges,
  • Honeycombs
  • Skin pores,
  • Strawberries,
  • Soap bubbles,
  • Poppy-seed bagels,
  • Swiss cheese,
  • Pomegranates

Apart from this, some other images that are also likely to trigger Trypophobia:

  • Lotus seeds pods,
  • Morphed and photoshopped pictures that show a row of holes on different human body parts.
  • Coral reefs.

Trivia: in 2017 American Horror Story made use of photoshopped images of women with holes on their hands, face, and other body parts. This set off Trypophobia in many and also to tweet protests.

Is there Science Behind Trypophobia

If you are asking yourself why these images trigger uneasiness in some, let me tell you it is backed with scientific reasons. According to psychologists, Arnold Wilkins and Geoff Cole (2015) Trypophobia evolved through evolution by natural selection.

Researcher Tom Kupfer and An T.D.Le further supported this reasoning. They suggested that Trypophobia is an exaggerated response to a natural protective tendency to avoid infectious skin or threats from dangers (like snakes, crocodiles, and other insects).

How To Manage Signs of Trypophobia

People with mild aversion can usually manage the symptoms of Trypophobia without professional assistance. Here are some basic ways to manage signs of Trypophobia:

  • Avoiding the triggers.
  • Enlisting understanding friends and family to alert them to potential triggers in the surroundings.
  • Deep breathing exercise.

What is Trypophobia Treatment Approaches

The trick shared above can help people with a mild aversion manage their fear triggered by Trypophobia images. However, if the fear starts to interfere in the daily life activities there are different approaches for your rescue.

1. Exposure Therapy:

Through this therapy, an individual learns to tame the phobias via progressive steps. It involves desensitizing along with deep breathing, relaxation exercises, and reminding oneself of not having any danger in the surrounding. Exposure therapy helps you decrease your sensitivity towards the Trypophobia triggering images, bringing back the calm to you.

2. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT):

This tapping technique is profoundly used to reduce stress and anxiety in an individual. By bringing your mind-body to calm, it can help in reducing or eliminating Trypophobia. A study has shown that EFT can help reduce the intensity of phobias.

3. Community:

Some communities are solely dedicated to helping people with Trypophobia. You too can connect with others who are experiencing the same condition and work on it together (after all, together we can). Look for these communities in your area or go digital and find one either on Instagram or Facebook.

Celebrities with Trypophobia

If you are thinking that you are the only one with unusual: Trypophobia, do not worry there are some celebrities with the same issue. Kendall Jenner in the year 2013 revealed that she is suffering from Trypophobia. Along with her, Sarah Paulson also shared with Ellen that she is afraid of holes.

Even celebs have these peculiar phobias! So, do not worry you are not the only one who can not stand the sight of honeycombs!

Am I Having Trypophobia

There is no well-researched way to diagnose the condition of Trypophobia. Usually, a mental health professional may take a detailed interview asking you about your signs and symptoms. Further, the treatment approach will be suggested depending on the signs shown by you.

We have a small activity for you that can help you find holes and patterns disturbing stimulus for you or not. We are sharing an image with you. Choose a response from the options given below.

Trypophobia Test

Options

A: I am fine. It does not bother me.

B: I feel a little uneasy.

C: I feel nauseous

Results

A: You are good to go.

B: Try to manage your signs through the self-management tips shared above.

C: We would suggest you get in touch with a mental health professional.

Do share your response with us in the comments section below. Let us find out who is with me in Team B! You may also share it with your friends to how they perceive and react to it. You can further continue with it as a discussion over coffee.

However, if this image causes you nausea start working on the self-management tips now!

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