People are often afraid of many things. The fear of heights, clowns, small spaces, spiders, cockroaches, dentist, and even dogs haunt people. Now, did you hear of trypophobia? If you panic or afraid of a group of irregular, asymmetrical holes, patterns, or bumps, you have the condition.

Many people throughout the world feel petrified of these holes or patterns that can appear virtually anywhere, anytime. Though people genuinely fear them, based on the findings of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, this condition is not a real phobia. Read this article to know what is trypophobia, the common triggers, symptoms, tests, and self-help treatments.

What Causes Trypophobia?

Individuals plagued with this condition are often alerted by particular visuals of a group of small and irregular bumps or holes. These include soap bubbles, sponges, honeycomb, coral, seedpods, beehives, pomegranates, water condensation, and eye clusters found in insects.

The symptoms include extreme fear, a feeling of uneasiness and disgust, itching of the skin, goosebumps, sweating, skin crawling, and panic attacks, throwing up, and nausea. Even people who subconsciously think of rattlesnakes develop trypophobia, the reptile having a similar pattern.

The Symptoms

The typical symptoms include trembling, dizziness, increased heartbeat, breathlessness, fear of dying, a sense of unreality, and too much obsession with the cluster of holes or bumps. Based on a 2017 study by the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, MRC Unit on Risk and Resilience in Mental Disorders, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa, the symptoms are constant and long-term. Out of the 95 subjects under medical investigation, quite a few of them displayed signs of general anxiety and depression.  

Why Does Trypophobia Occur?

According to the study, the condition is an evolutionary reaction to alert an individual to the presence of infectious diseases and parasites. The researchers concluded that people plagued with the condition might perceive these cluster of holes as ectoparasites such as fleas that thrive in the external environment as well as skin-transmitted pathogens, which are drips spread by sneezing or coughing.

Based on a finding in Psychological Science, trypophobia affects 16 per cent of individuals. The case severity varies from one person to the other. However, the condition causes no severe threat to people affected by the same.

Take the Trypophobia Test

You might be wondering how to know whether you suffer from this condition or not. Fret not. All you need to do is take a trypophobia test to find out. In the test, you see several pictures or visuals. Some of them may include sickening stimuli and some not.

Every image displayed lasts for an interval of 0.8 and 1.5 seconds. Once you have seen the visuals, you will need to guess how long you saw the images. If you suffer from the condition, the accuracy of the image durations will be imprecise or distorted. It shows that you experienced a feeling of disgust seeing the pictures, proving you have it.

The test is simple and takes not more than five or seven minutes to complete. This test is solely meant for educational use. When you take the test, avoid counting the seconds. Focus on the images and consider each of them instead. Your presumption of how long each visual was shown should depend on how long you felt them. Counting the seconds will not help you with the test.  

Treatment

Though you find no specific treatment, you can count on a few therapies, home remedies, self-help treatments, and medications. You can seek self-help healing with the assistance of a professional counsellor or therapist. The success rate may vary from one person to another. Here are some of the home and self-help remedies:

Talking Therapy

It is also known as cognitive behavioural therapy to figure out how your thoughts result in certain behaviours and feelings. Cooperate with your counsellor or therapist to help them set and realize specific goals for the treatment.

Changes in Lifestyle

You need to go through many lifestyle changes if you are not doing so. These include eating healthy meals, working out, avoiding caffeine drinks such as tea or coffee, and developing healthy sleeping hygiene and habit. Your therapist may also suggest some relaxation techniques, which are exercise-based. Some visualization methods also help to alleviate the symptoms.

Desensitization and Group Therapy

According to this therapy, your counsellor will expose to your phobia gradually. The goal is to help you become used to your unfounded fear or anxiety, thus desensitizing the symptoms in the process. Many patients find group therapies very effective in the treatment of trypophobia.

Medicines

Some of the times, your doctor may recommend certain medications to treat phobia or its side effects like fear, depression, or anxiety. The common medications are tranquillizers, antidepressants, and beta-blockers. However, under no circumstances, you should take them without consulting a medical professional.

For diagnosing trypophobia, your doctor will ask you many questions about the commonly felt symptoms. Do not hesitate and answer all of them without any fear. Talk to your counsellor or medical professional about your medial, social, and psychiatric history. The phobia is not a major concern and does not pose any risk.

It is not officially recognized. The studies related to the condition are limited, and the research on it varies, whether to consider it as a serious phobia or not. However, prevention is better than cure. So, next time you feel uncomfortable at the sight of a strawberry or a lotus seedpod, consult with a therapist or counsellor.