Trypophobia may sound strange, but it is actually a problem that many people face. This syndrome has not been recognized as an official psychological or psychiatric disorder. Even so, Trypophobia is still treatable if it causes serious effects on health and quality of life.
What is Trypophobia?
Fear is one of the most common emotions. We often feel fear before potentially dangerous objects and situations such as threats, threats, encounters with wild animals, etc. Fear almost does not appear when faced with situations/ non-dangerous object. However, some people develop phobias with an irrational, exaggerated and persistent fear of a situation/object that is not really dangerous, such as fear of holes.
Trypophobia is a psychological syndrome characterized by feelings of disgust, excessive and persistent fear at the sight of round holes. Most people with this syndrome feel scared when they see a surface with many small round holes lying close together. Meanwhile, the large round hole rarely causes fear.
Fear of holes has not been studied much. Even so, experts have identified a number of things that can trigger an outbreak of fear, including:
- Shockproof nylon cover
- Condensation of water vapor at the surface of the glass
- Skin lesions with circular shape such as heat rash, urticaria
- The surface of the strawberry
- Insect eyes
- Spotted, polka dot pattern
Trypophobia was mentioned in 2005 and the term quickly gained popularity as many people find themselves having an irrational fear of clusters of round holes. However, fear of holes is still not recognized as a psychological disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-5). However, this does not mean that Trypophobia does not need treatment.
Experts have found that the fear of holes has a similar mechanism to other phobias and anxiety disorders. Therefore, the use of drugs and psychotherapy can reduce the irrational fear of objects with round holes.
Currently, there are no official statistics on the number of people suffering from fear of holes. However, some small-scale studies have shown that 16% of people have feelings of disgust and discomfort when looking at the surface of the lotus. Larger studies show that 17% of children and adults exhibit some degree of fear of losses.
Causes of fear of holes
Fear is the result of evolution. People appear afraid of potentially dangerous situations/objects to be able to protect themselves and adapt better. Meanwhile, some people may have unreasonable and excessive fears about things that are not really dangerous such as fear of holes, needles, fear of love, fear of the sea, etc.
Because it is not recognized as an official psychological disorder, Trypophobia has not been studied much. However, several theories about the etiology of the fear of holes have been proposed.
Identified factors associated with fear of holes:
- Experts say that the round holes can make some people imagine the eyes and skin of some dangerous animals. Unconscious associations are the cause of excessive fear of round holes.
- Fear of holes may be the result of evolution. This fear allows people to detect and feel the severity of skin diseases such as infections, heat rash, urticaria, etc.
- People with sensitive vision have a higher risk of hole-phobia. Just like people with hearing problems are susceptible to a fear of thunder.
- Another theory is that the brain needs a lot of energy and oxygen to process images of objects with many round holes. This inadvertently causes feelings of discomfort and disgust.
- Family history of fear of holes
- People with other psychological problems such as phobic anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, depression, etc. will be at risk of developing phobias. hole is higher than normal.
- Having experienced serious events in the past that may have involved round holes. This creates an unconscious defensive response. When seeing objects with round holes, the brain will trigger feelings of fear and disgust as a way of protecting the body.
Although the etiology has not been determined, the proposed hypotheses can partly explain the pathogenesis of the fear of holes. In general, this syndrome has a mechanism quite similar to other phobias and anxiety disorders.
Symptoms of Fear of Holes (Trypophobia)
Extreme fear and disgust are typical symptoms of hole-phobia. Besides, this syndrome also causes behaviors to avoid contact with objects and animals with round holes. Round holes appear a lot in life, so people with Trypophobia syndrome will have to face many troubles.
Common symptoms in people with fear of holes:
- There is always a feeling of fear, insecurity and anxiety that you will have to see things with round holes such as lotuses, honeycombs, corals, strawberries, etc.
- There are avoidance behaviors such as not wearing clothes with spots, polka dots, not eating fruits with spots or round holes such as strawberries, pomegranates, etc.
- Not to some spaces painted with polka dots
- Be careful when going to unfamiliar places for fear of seeing patterns with round holes
- Try to stay away from everything, animals with round holes
When seeing round holes, fear will increase leading to panic and overwhelm. In addition to the feeling of fear, the body will appear a number of additional physical and emotional symptoms when seeing an object with round holes such as:
- Feeling disgusting
- Terrible fear
- There is a feeling of suffering
- Worry, insecurity
- Dizziness, headache
- Heart beat fast
- There is a feeling of imminent doom
- Wish to get out of the current situation as soon as possible
- Although rare, some people can faint when they see objects with round holes
These symptoms are only triggered when seeing animals or objects with round holes such as beehives, lotus petals, corals, etc. However, there are also people who feel extreme fear even when looking at images of animals. round hole.
Effects of fear of holes
Round holes appear a lot in life. Therefore, compared with other phobias, hole-phobia causes more distress. The constant feeling of anxiety and fear makes the patient always in a state of insecurity. This greatly affects the ability to concentrate, reduces memory, causes insomnia, difficulty sleeping and muscle tension.
In addition, avoidance behaviors such as refusing to meet/communicate with someone when they wear polka dots, avoid certain foods, spaces, etc. also cause many problems. in life. These actions can increase conflict in relationships and make it difficult for patients to maintain long-term relationships.
People with fear of holes often lose the ability to relax due to prolonged stress and anxiety. As a result, many people become irritable and find it difficult to control their emotions. The occurrence of panic attacks and extreme fear when seeing round hole-shaped objects also makes patients self-conscious and inferior. Many people tend to isolate themselves socially and communicate less because they fear that they will panic and lose control in public.
Untreated fear of holes also increases psychological problems such as depression, generalized anxiety disorder, stress, etc. Therefore, although not recognized as an official psychological disorder, this syndrome is will still receive treatment to prevent long-term effects and consequences.
Diagnosis of fear of holes (Trypophobia)
Trypophobia has not been recognized as an official psychological syndrome. Because experts say that this syndrome causes feelings of disgust and discomfort more than fear. As it is not yet recognized, there are no diagnostic criteria for Trypophobia.
To diagnose this syndrome, the doctor will show the patient images of round holes such as honeycombs, lotus petals, corals, speckled patterns, polka dots, etc. to consider the reaction. In addition, personal and family history and symptom analysis were performed to diagnose the disease.
Since there are no diagnostic criteria, Trypophobia will be defined by the diagnostic criteria for phobic anxiety disorder. This syndrome is diagnosed when:
- Feelings of fear, discomfort, and disgust at the sight of a round hole persist for at least 6 months
- Fear dominates behavior leading to avoidant behaviors such as not drinking carbonated soft drinks for fear of round bubbles, not eating strawberries, pomegranates, not wearing polka dots, etc.
- Fear of loss must cause feelings of distress and significantly affect quality of life
Trypophobia will be differentiated from a number of psychological problems with similar manifestations before an official diagnosis is made. Because this syndrome is not yet recognized, the patient will be generally diagnosed as having a phobia of anxiety disorder.
Methods of treating fear of holes
Feeling uncomfortable and disgusted when seeing round hole-shaped objects such as honeycombs, lotus petals, animal eyes is a common reaction in many people. However, if the fear has a significant impact on quality of life, treatment is needed.
Although the cause is unclear, agoraphobia can be treated with psychotherapy and stress-relieving techniques. In some cases, your doctor will consider medication to reduce the negative emotions caused by Trypophobia.
Methods to be considered during the treatment of fear of holes:
Psychotherapy is the most effective method in the treatment of anxiety disorders in general and fear of holes in particular. This therapy has many different methods and directions of intervention. However, the common point of psychotherapy is to help patients control their negative emotions, learn to face and overcome their own irrational fears.
According to statistics, about 90% of people have positive improvement with psychotherapy intervention. In addition to reducing fear, this therapy also helps patients equip themselves with the necessary skills to improve their ability to integrate and quickly settle into life.
Psychotherapy used in the treatment of fear of holes:
Exposure therapy (exposure therapy) is the method that provides the most visible improvement for people with agoraphobia. This method is designed to help patients reduce their irrational fear of round holes and learn how to deal with and control their fears. Initially, the specialist will show the patient through the image of round holed objects and then make direct contact.
After completing the treatment, the patient can feel comfortable seeing or touching objects with round holes. Some cases of good response can eat like drinks and foods with round holes or bubbles such as carbonated soft drinks, cheese pieces, strawberries, pomegranates, etc.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT):
Cognitive behavioral therapy is often performed in tandem with exposure therapy. CBT focuses on changing perception (thoughts) bias, thereby helping to regulate the reaction when seeing round hole-shaped objects. After the course of therapy, the patient will be able to get rid of the irrational fear and have a normal reaction when seeing round hole-shaped objects.
Psychotherapy often takes a long time but generally results in a marked improvement in most cases of agoraphobia. This method is also effective with other phobic anxiety disorders such as fear of the sea, fear of thunder, etc. Although different in the subject causing the fear, in general, these pathologies All have similar mechanisms, causes and manifestations.
2. Relaxation measures
Round holes appear in many objects from animals to patterns on clothes, food, etc. Therefore, people with hole-phobia will often have to face stress, insecurity and anxiety. For this reason, relaxation measures are considered part of the treatment plan for agoraphobia.
Relaxation measures applied to patients with fear of holes:
- Deep breathing technique
- Exercise relaxation therapy
- Visualize romantic scenes to calm yourself and relieve stress from seeing speckled, round-hole objects
- Use herbal tea, listen to music, massage, etc. to relax and improve insomnia, trouble sleeping
Relaxation measures can partly help improve the stress, anxiety, insecurity and discomfort caused by the fear of holes. In addition, these remedies are also of great help in improving related physical symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, insomnia and muscle aches.
3. Drug use
Drugs are rarely used in the treatment of claustrophobia. However, your doctor may consider taking some prescription medications to reduce anxiety and depression caused by this syndrome.
Psychotropic drugs have many potential side effects. Therefore, use the drug only when prescribed by a doctor. Although the symptoms can be relieved quickly after taking the medicine, the medicine cannot eliminate the irrational fear of round holes. Therefore, medication is only considered as a supportive measure, while psychotherapy is the main method that must be performed.
Medications used in the treatment of claustrophobia:
- Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Benzodiazepine tranquilizers
- Beta blockers
Advice for people with fear of holes (Trypophobia)
People with fear of holes (Trypophobia) will face many troubles in life. However, active treatment can control the fear and minimize the effects of the disease on occupational functioning, learning, relationships, etc.
When diagnosed with Trypophobia, the sufferer should not be overly concerned. Because a lot of people have an irrational fear of situations/objects that are not really dangerous. So, being scared when seeing round holes is not so strange as many people think.
The following tips will help people with claustrophobia gain more experience in managing the condition:
- Learn about agoraphobia and other phobias to learn that many people experience similar situations.
- You can join groups of people who are afraid of losses to make friends and share experiences. In addition, with people with similar health conditions, patients will be more comfortable sharing their feelings and thoughts. This helps a lot in reducing stress and releasing negative emotions.
- Try to maintain a scientific lifestyle during the treatment of claustrophobia. Should build a balanced diet, get enough sleep, exercise regularly and stay away from alcohol, tobacco, drugs, etc. Besides, it is necessary to limit stress at work to avoid stress and anxiety. exceed.
- Share your health status with those around you. Deliberately hiding your illness will only cause you more trouble and become isolated from everyone. Meanwhile, proactively sharing will make you more comfortable when studying, working and getting everyone’s support in case of need.
- Persist in treatment for successful management of fear of holes. Although treatment takes a long time, most people have a good response. Therefore, it is recommended that you receive intensive treatment under the guidance of a specialist to improve your health and improve your long-term quality of life.
Fear of holes is one of the most common types of anxiety disorder. If this condition is suspected, it should be examined and treated early to prevent long-term effects. The people around also need to raise awareness about Trypophobia to help the patient overcome the unreasonable fear of round hole and normalize life as soon as possible.