Understanding Trypophobia

In 2013, a study showed that 16% of people experienced discomfort or disgust when viewing an image of a lotus pod. Do you feel uneasy or disgusted when you see a honeycomb, lotus seed pods, strawberry dimples, or bubbles in a chocolate bar? If so, you may be suffering from trypophobia.

What is Trypophobia?

Trypophobia is a condition where people have an aversion to clusters of small holes, bumps, or repetitive circular patterns. Examples of triggering stimuli include pores in the skin, bubble wrap, insect eyes, coral, and sea sponges. The term was coined on an internet forum where individuals discussed their disgust towards certain images. The word comes from the Greek words “trýpa” meaning “hole” and “phóbos” meaning “fear”. While it has “phobia” in its name, trypophobia is not officially recognized as a phobia.

Symptoms of Trypophobia

Trypophobia can produce a range of symptoms, from mild to severe. Symptoms may include goosebumps, itching, feelings of revulsion, anxiety, vomiting, and panic attacks. Some individuals even experience excessive fear and distress, which can interfere with their daily lives, and may require medication or therapy.

Treatment for Trypophobia

While there is no specific treatment for trypophobia, exposure therapy is a common method used to treat phobias. Exposure therapy involves safe exposure to the trigger in an effort to retrain the brain. Anxiety is a key symptom in people struggling with trypophobia, so managing anxiety can also help overcome the phobia. Talking therapies such as CBT and medications are effective in dealing with anxiety.

Cause of Trypophobia

Unlike other phobias, disgust is the overwhelming emotion experienced by people with trypophobia, rather than fear. Visual stimuli tend to trigger trypophobia, but some sufferers report being triggered by dimpled or holey surfaces. Scientists believe that it is not the holes themselves that elicit the response, but rather what they represent. Holes are often associated with danger, which can cause an unpleasant reaction.

Kendall Jenner, known for her appearance on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, has publicly revealed that she suffers from trypophobia, which is a fear of small holes. Jenner expressed her discomfort on her blog, stating that the sight of tiny holes causes her extreme anxiety and she wonders what could be lurking inside them.

Individuals who experience trypophobia may also feel uneasy when faced with skin rashes or other pathological conditions, such as chickenpox or scabies, where small bumps or holes are present.

This aversion to small holes is thought to be an evolutionary response, as our ancestors may have avoided animals displaying trypophobic patterns, such as venomous snakes, alligators, and frogs, which could have posed a danger to their survival. This trait would have been passed down through generations, leading to the trypophobic aversion still present in humans today.

There is also an evolutionary theory.

Many trypophobes are not aware of their condition until they encounter trigger images. If you have experienced any discomfort while reading this article, you may be a trypophobe. Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

FAQ

What is trypophobia?

Trypophobia is a fear or aversion of clusters of small holes or bumps. This condition is not officially recognized as a phobia by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), but it is a common phenomenon. People with trypophobia may experience symptoms such as nausea, panic attacks, and intense anxiety when exposed to images of clusters of small holes or bumps.

What causes trypophobia?

The exact cause of trypophobia is unknown, but some experts believe it may be related to a biological response to certain patterns that are associated with danger or disease. For example, some poisonous animals have patterns of spots or bumps that may be similar to those that trigger trypophobia. Additionally, trypophobia may be related to anxiety disorders or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

How is trypophobia treated?

There is no specific treatment for trypophobia, but some people may benefit from exposure therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or medication to manage symptoms of anxiety or panic. Additionally, avoiding triggers, such as images of clusters of small holes or bumps, may be helpful for some people.

Is trypophobia a common condition?

Trypophobia is a relatively new phenomenon and there is limited research on its prevalence. However, some estimates suggest that up to 16% of the population may experience symptoms of trypophobia. Additionally, trypophobia is more common in younger individuals and those with anxiety disorders or OCD.

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