Trypophobia: what is it, what are the symptoms, treatments and causes

Tripophobia is the name given to the irrational fear of images or objects with holes or irregular patterns. Those who suffer from this problem feel uneasiness and repulsion and, in some cases, even physical symptoms such as itching or dizziness can arise.

But this phobia has treatment, involving gradual exposure therapies and use of medications, such as anxiolytics or antidepressants.

Trypophobia is an irrational fear that can cause panic anxiety (Source: Shutterstock)Trypophobia is an irrational fear that can cause anxiety and panic. (Source: Shutterstock)Fonte:  Shutterstock

Honeycombs, corals, skimmers, pomegranates, water drops, circular designs, spots on animals, seeds, plant structures or blisters and holes caused by skin diseases are some examples of triggers for this problem.

These patterns are very common in nature and are often indicative of dangerous situations, such as infections with parasites or venomous animals. At some point in the history of our species, we noticed this kind of pattern.

According to the Science, those who suffer from trypophobia still carry this association unconscious. According to this theory, the disorder is nothing more than an evolutionary remnant of an outdated defense mechanism.

These people, however, are not able to distinguish situations of adversity or not and are alarmed by any alert issued by the environment. The fear they feel, therefore, is the result of psychological processes over which they have no control.

Close-up and honeycomb-detailed images could be among the triggers for the issue (Source: Shutterstock)Close-up and honeycomb-detailed images could be among the triggers for the problem. (Source: Shutterstock)Fonte:  Shutterstock

The main symptoms of trypophobia are psychological, such as imminent crying, chills, or discomfort. However, physical manifestations can also be triggered, such as nausea, tremors, sweating, increased heartbeat, itching or tingling.

More severe frames can lead to panic attacks. During these episodes, a feeling sudden and very sharp feeling of fear, anxiety and insecurity. The patient is distressed and may adopt risky behaviors, which put his life in real danger.

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People who believe they suffer from trypophobia should seek a professional in Psychology or Psychiatry. Therapy sessions are the first step in treating the problem, and will accompany the patient through the entire process.

One of the alternatives to treat the disease is gradual exposure. With the assistance of the professional, the person is slightly exposed to situations that cause them fear and learns to better control the responses they have to simulated scenarios.

Represented on Television: In 2017, the horror series American Horror Story addressed trypophobia (Source: Shutterstock)Represented on Television: In 2017, the horror series American Horror Story addressed trypophobia (Source: Shutterstock)Fonte:  Shutterstock

But this is not the only way out. Other techniques, such as yoga and physical exercise, help with anxiety management and can be beneficial. In more severe cases, anxiolytics may be prescribed to reduce panic symptoms.

Origin of trypophobia

The science still has a lot to discover about this phobia. The first mention of the term is still recent, being attributed to a post on an internet forum in 2008.

Scientific studies are even newer: one of the first was published in 2013. In this research, scientists suggested that the disorder could be associated with genetic factors. Since then, science has been more dedicated to the subject.

However, trypophobia is not officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a phobia. Many experts claim that this revulsion is natural for most people.

Yoga and exercise can help manage anxiety and reduce symptoms (Source: Shutterstock)Yoga practice and physical exercises can help with anxiety management and symptom reduction. (Source: Shutterstock)Fonte:  Shutterstock

Anyone who suffers from evil disagrees. According to these people, the aversion they experience is pathological, but more data is still needed to prove the status of the problem.

Researchers in the field of Health showed that there is a correlation between trypophobia and cases of depressive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Patients with these psychiatric conditions are more likely to develop irrational fear.

It is not known precisely the extent of the problem, precisely because it was identified only recently. Trypophobia is estimated to be relatively common because most people experience some aversion to irregular patterns.

When detecting signs of the problem, it is essential to seek a psychologist (Source: Shutterstock)When detecting signs of the problem, it is essential to seek a psychologist. (Source: Shutterstock)Fonte:  Shutterstock

Since it was coined, the internet has been the biggest vehicle in which people come together to discuss the problem. Some experts argue that social contact may be one of the reasons that aggravate the symptoms of those who participate in groups on the subject.

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It is stipulated that many people are unaware of the problem. With little publicity outside of forums and social networks, trypophobia it is still unknown to many who suffer alone with the symptoms.

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