What is Trypophobia or Fear of Holes?

Trypophobia which is also known as fear of holes is a kind of phobia in which there is an intense and irrational fear of irregular patterns and holes or bumps. The term trypophobia is derived from the Greek word 'Trypo' which means 'holes' and 'Phobos' means 'fear'. The fear arises in some people as soon as they see a cluster of holes like in the lotus seed heads.

What is Trypophobia or Fear of Holes?

Causes of Trypophobia or Fear of Holes

The exact cause of trypophobia or fear of holes is not known. The fear of cluster of holes is a very common phenomenon in trypophobia or fear of holes. A cluster of irregular patterns or bumps on the body like acne, holes in the muscles, and disruption of the skin may raise the fear in those people who are suffering from trypophobia or fear of holes. Holes in plant seeds, holes in food like in raw meat or cheese, holes in organisms like worms can also raise the phobia which will lead to nausea, vomiting and lack of co-ordination in the phobic people. Trypophobia or fear of holes may sometimes grow in a person due to heredity, old age, or any kind of psychological reason. Cultural factors like certain social situations may give away the fear in the people.

Signs and Symptoms of Trypophobia or Fear of Holes

The signs and symptoms of trypophobia or fear of holes are distinct and easy to identify. When the attack of trypophobia or fear of holes takes place in a person the first prominent symptom is the paleness in skin. Then the person starts sweating, allergic reactions like redness of the skin or bright spots on skin can be noticed which is the result of the emotional surge that occurs. Soon he or she becomes weak in limb, the heartbeat increases and he or she finds difficulty in breathing. If the attack is mild then symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headache, nervousness and dizziness are seen.

If the fear keeps growing in the person then the heartbeat increases. This unnatural change in pace can result in a heart attack or a panic attack which affects the brain. A person who has trypophobia or fear of holes may feel shortness of breathing and suffocate which can lead to life risks at times.

Complications in Trypophobia or Fear of Holes

The fear may develop in the person due to several reasons which may be psychological, cultural or due to some past trauma. The trypophobia or fear of holes may manifest itself under certain hidden fear. Continuous exposure to items that might manifest the fear in the person will lead the person towards the complication of clinical depression or major depressive disorder.

Tests to Diagnose Trypophobia or Fear of Holes

There are no proper tests for finding out whether the person is suffering from trypophobia or not. Neurological tests can be done to check the brain readings to identify if the person has trypophobia or fear of holes. The trypophobia or fear of holes can also be identified when you notice a certain change in a reaction like a gag reflex in a person at the sudden imagery of clustered holes.

Treatment for Trypophobia or Fear of Holes

How to Overcome Trypophobia or Fear of Holes?

Psychological ways can be adopted to bring down the fear in the person by pacifying the person with some image which does not make the person fear and then show another picture of clustered patterns. This way the brain can be conditioned to decrease the obsession in the person. This is known as the Exposure therapy. Morita therapy which teaches to go with the flow can also be adopted. Sedatives can be prescribed to control the skin rashes that might appear due to fear. Constant care must be taken. Medicines like phenytoin sodium tablets are used to calm the trypophobia or fear of holes patient down.

Ways to Cope With Trypophobia or Fear of Holes?

Psychological help can be taken to cope with trypophobia or fear of holes. Self-care is also possible. You can also go for counselling, hypnosis and neuro linguistic programme therapy (NLP). Cognitive and Behaviour therapy (CBT) is another method that you choose to fight the fear as it helps you to separate your thoughts of real and unreal.

Lifestyle Changes for Trypophobia or Fear of Holes

'To go with the flow' is the best way to handle with the fear of holes or trypophobia. Facing you fear to overcome it is thus the most suitable way to deal with trypophobia or fear of holes. Do not change yourself personally to get over it though.

Home Remedies for Trypophobia or Fear of Holes

Skin infections like acne or holes on skin can be avoided by taking healthy diet and is a good home remedy for trypophobia or fear of holes. Take care of your body to avoid any kind of infectious growth. Keep your food storage healthy so that the meat does not get bad.

Prognosis or Recovery Period for Trypophobia or Fear of Holes

The prognosis/ outlook for trypophobia or fear of holes is good. Usually 3 to 8 months may be required clinically to treat the patient with psychological care. There is no certain time mentioned to cure oneself of this trypophobia or fear of holes.

The time you might need to recover yourself from trypophobia or fear of holes depends on the treatment that you have opted for. You can consult your doctor regarding the time consumption of the treatment and also must converse about the fact that trypophobia or fear of holes may reoccur to you or not. Recovery period/ healing time will be faster if you get help at the early stage of the trypophobia or fear of holes.

Prevention of Trypophobia or Fear of Holes

Taking care the fear before it manifests itself is the best way to prevent the trypophobia or fear of holes from settling in you. Exercise daily with objects that might raise the fear in you so that you can get past it.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: October 20, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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