Trypophobia: Know the Causes Behind It


Trypophobia: Know the Causes Behind It

Fear or phobia is common to face by people around you. Some individuals possess diverse and often peculiar fears and phobias. From fear of heights, which is called acrophobia, to aversion to spiders, called arachnophobia, these anxieties vary widely, impacting one’s daily life  immensely. One such fear is trypophobia.

A fairly recent disorder, trypophobia disease, was coined in 2005. It is suggested that almost 17% of individuals, including children, suffer from trypophobia. The severity may vary from person to person.

If you or someone you know shows trypophobia symptoms, it is important to know about it. Read on as we discuss all about trypophobia, how do you get trypophobia, and also what causes trypophobia.

What is Trypophobia?

Simply put, trypophobia is an aversion disgust or fear that is triggered by the sight of clustered holes, bumps, or irregular patterns. People with this condition experience discomfort, anxiety, and even panic when exposed to objects or images with clustered small holes. Trypophobia causes are typically visual. On seeing the following objects, people with trypophobia may feel anxious and uncomfortable:

  • Honeycombs
  • Sponge
  • Animals with spots
  • Seedy fruits like strawberry, pomegranate, cantaloupe 
  • Seeded bread
  • Coral
  • Condensation
  • Bubbles
  • Roads etc.

What Causes Trypophobia?

It is quite difficult to understand what causes trypophobia. However, there are certain explanations. While some experts think trypophobia causes are biological, some think that the phobia stems from the ability to detect environmental threats. The fear of holes can be associated with animals and creatures that are typically considered dangerous, for example, octopuses, scorpions, cobras, etc. You have heard about trypophobia on skin, and if you are wondering, trypophobia skin: is it real? The answer may come as a surprise to you!

Some people who are suffering from trypophobia disease may feel a strong aversion to scars and marks on the skin. Patterns of rashes and scabs may disturb them. This further strengthens their need to avoid germs so that they can stay away from skin conditions.

Generally, women are more likely to suffer from trypophobia as compared to men. Your chances of showing trypophobia symptoms increase if you are currently suffering from depression, anxiety, OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

>> Also Read: List of Phobias A to Z: What Are the Most Common Phobias?

What are Some Common Trypophobia Symptoms?

While the trypophobia symptoms and severity can vary from patient to patient, typically, the following signs can be seen:

  • Chills
  • Pale skin
  • Nausea
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Increase breathing 
  • High heart rate
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating

How Dangerous Trypophobia is?

Trypophobia is an aversion; it is the feeling of disgust or fear. However, there is a difference between discomfort and phobia. Discomfort is a mild feeling of unease and annoyance in response to certain stimuli or situations. It's typically temporary and doesn't significantly impact your daily functioning. Phobia, on the other hand, involves an intense, persistent, and irrational fear towards specific objects, situations, or activities.

While not many people would enjoy looking at scary scorpions and snakes, you need to understand that phobias often lead to significant distress, anxiety, and avoidance behaviours that can disrupt an individual's life. Phobias are intense feelings that can cause impairment in social, occupational, or personal functioning. Remember, discomfort is transient and manageable, but a phobia represents an extreme and persistent fear that significantly affects daily life.

Trypophobia Diagnosis

There are many organisations that do not recognise trypophobia as a mental disorder, as the condition causes discomfort but is rarely debilitating. Because of this, there aren’t many set trypophobia-establishing techniques. However, there is a trypophobia test. This trypophobia test can also be conducted online. However, keep in mind that this trypophobia test is for research and personal use only.

This trypophobia test typically involves exposure to images or patterns of clustered holes or bumps to gauge an individual's response. During the trypophobia disease test, you will be shown a number of images for a few seconds. These images, such as seedy fruits or beehives, aim to evoke discomfort or anxiety in those with trypophobia. It would then ask you to estimate the duration for which you looked at each image.

The test will compare your viewing time for neutral images and trypophobic images. Your reactivity, ranging from mild unease to intense distress, will help you assess if you experience aversion or fear towards clustered holes, aiding in identifying trypophobia.

A high ratio between them may suggest trypophobia. You need to keep in mind that self-diagnosis is not a substitute for professional evaluation. It is highly recommended that you consult a doctor/ mental health professional, who can help you with the trypophobia test findings. A healthcare professional remains essential for accurate diagnosis of the trypophobia disease.

What is Trypophobia’s Cure?

In case you suffer from trypophobia disease, it is highly recommended that you are in regular touch with a mental health care provider. Your doctor or therapist might follow different approaches to help you, depending on your condition. Let’s take a look at the various approaches to trypophobia cure:

1. Therapy

Your therapist may make use of cognitive-behavioural therapy, where the focus is on altering negative thought patterns, or exposure therapy, where you will be exposed to triggers related to clustered holes in order to desensitise and reduce anxiety responses. 

2. Medicines

While there’s no medicine for trypophobia cure, your doctor may prescribe something to manage anxiety.

If you want, there are some easy tips that you can follow to manage the trypophobia disease, which is not very severe: 

  • Aim at getting at least 7 to 8 hours of peaceful sleep
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Limit your caffeine, especially if it keeps you awake, which causes anxiety
  • Note down your triggers and try to avoid them or rationalise them
  • Reach out to friends and family.

Over to You

Just because someone doesn’t understand the trypophobia disease does not mean that your fears and trypophobia symptoms aren’t real. Understand your condition and seek the help of an expert. Thankfully, in the past few years, there has been a positive change in the way mental health is perceived. Not just in society, but there has been a paradigm shift in the health insurance sector, too. There are many health insurance plans that offer coverage for mental issues as well. Get in touch with your health insurance provider and get the best coverage that you can get.

Disclaimers: The above information is for reference purposes only: Policy Assurance and Claims at the underwriter's discretion.




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