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Is There A Phobia Of Holes

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What Are Good Coping Strategies For Dealing With Trypophobia

  • Identify your triggers and describe how they make you react emotionally and physically. Do you recall when it began? Is there a first negative experience or is it more about feelings of disgust?
  • Consider what are your values are for wanting to address this issue. What might it help you be able to do in future? .
  • Set yourself goals by listing the hole patterns that are least to most distressing. Consider working with the least distressing first. Are you willing to experience the feelings in order to move forward?
  • Start with imagining the item, work towards looking at pictures, then looking at it for real. Deep breathing, relaxation, grounding yourself in the present, and using coping statements such as “I feel anxious and that’s ok. I know that there is nothing to fear here, and I am willing to let these feelings be here until they pass”.
  • Change your perspective on the thing you fear. Start to learn about the food and why it has the holes it does – it will serve a useful purpose.
  • Living with a phobia can be really challenging; be kind to yourself. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep will help you cope better with difficult feelings.

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The Emotional Root Of Trypophobiaand If It Even Really Matters

Some trypophobia researchers posit that people with a strong aversion to holes might not be experiencing fear so much as disgust. For some, this throws a wrench into the idea that trypophobia is a phobia at all.

In a 2018 study, 44 participants were shown pictures of threatening animals, items covered in holes, and “neutral” objects like a cup or a butterfly. The researchers measured the size of participants’ pupils throughout to gauge their subconscious reactions to these images. They found that when people looked at the “scary” animal photos, their pupils dilated relative to their baseline, and when they looked at hole-filled images, their pupils constricted relative to their baseline. According to the researchers, this lends credence to the thought that trypophobia may really be rooted in disgust, not fear.

All this eye talk might sound weird and unrelated to trypophobia, but pupil changes are involved in how you react to both disgust and fear. It all comes down to your autonomic nervous system .

To Lourenco’s point, fear and disgust are really similar. So much so that it makes perfect sense that they would play off each other. Fear, , and disgust have the same broad purpose of trying to get us away from things our bodies think could hurt us, whether that’s a tarantula or someone’s weeping skin rash.

Ultimately, even if the fundamental cause is disputed, people with trypophobia have to learn to live in a world full of potential triggers.

What Is A Phobia

A phobia is described by the as an overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal.

They are more pronounced than fears and tend to develop when a person has an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger regarding a situation or object.

If a phobia sufferer doesn’t come into contact with the source of their problem very often it may not affect their life – although in some cases even thinking about the thing they fear can give a person “anticipatory anxiety”.

If a phobia becomes very severe, the person suffering may organise their life around avoiding the aspect that’s causing distress.

Some sufferers have reported feeling sick and panicky at the sight of bumps or holes that are grouped together

Often Described As A Fear Of Small Holes Trypophobia Can Be Triggered By Images Of Seemingly Innocuous Objects Like Honeycombs Coffee Bubbles And Coral

Wikimedia Commons Trypophobic images like a lotus seed pod can trigger trypophobia.

Have you ever felt your skin crawl at the sight of a honeycomb or a lotus flower? If so, you may have a peculiar condition called trypophobia: the fear of clusters of small holes, bumps, or other patterns.

What causes this peculiar aversion? What are its triggers and symptoms? What can you do about it? Is it even a real condition? Here’s everything you need to know about trypophobia.

Treatment And Medication Options For Trypophobia

‘Little Holes’ by Zara Hastie

Many people with a mild aversion manage to control their fear and carry out daily activities without incident simply by avoiding triggers and by enlisting understanding friends and family to alert them to potential ones. If your aversion is on the level of phobia, avoidance can make your situation worse. The following are some approaches to treating problematic trypophobia.

Exposure therapy People who find that trypophobia disrupts their daily routines, reduces their self-esteem, or causes extreme anxiety can turn to the most widely accepted technique for taming phobias, a desensitizing process called exposure therapy.

In progressive steps by yourself or with the help of a therapist, you begin by looking at fairly benign triggering images while using a relaxation technique, such as deep breathing, and reminding yourself that you are not in any danger. You then slowly work up to being able to stare at the images that previously felt most threatening until you realize that nothing bad is happening.

Emotional Freedom Techniques  If exposure therapy is not successful, or is too terrifying to even try, tapping, aka Emotional Freedom Technique , a mind-body method for reducing stress and anxiety, may help reduce or eliminate trypophobia, says Roberta Temes, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, and the author of .

EFT involves tapping specific acupuncture points on the body with the fingertips while focusing on the phobia and repeating positive affirmations.

Understanding Trypophobia: Why Some People Fear Holes

September 5, 2013 / 11:40 AM / CBS News

A growing number of people are reporting a fear of holes. The reaction is so severe that even seeing photos of holes can set off a panic attack.

The condition is called trypophobia. According to the website, “Trypophobia is a weird kind of phobia and it can generally be considered as the fear of shapes. We are talking especially by the shapes created by nature.” Until recently, it didn’t garner much attention from scientists or doctors.

But now, a study in the journal Psychological Science attempts to explain the fear.

Researchers Geoff Cole and Arnold Wilkins of the Centre for Brain Science at the University of Essex based their research on images posted on . They’ve concluded that it is not the holes that these people fear. Instead, their brains associate the holes with danger. What kind of danger they sense, exactly, is still being studied.

According to site, the fear covers “clustered holes in skin, meat, wood, plants, coral, sponges, mould, dried seed pods and honeycomb.”

The reaction to these holes is intense. “These can make them feel that their skin is crawling, shudder, feel itchy and physically sick when seeing these images because they really find it disgusting and gross. Some of these people think that something might be living inside those holes and some of them are afraid that they might fall in these holes,” the website explains.” It can even trigger panic attacks.

Trypophobia Might Not Be An Actual Phobia According To Scientists


If a cluster of small holes makes your stomach turn and your skin crawl, you are not alone.

You’re one of around 16 percent of people who experience something called trypophobia – the irrational fear of holes. But, some scientists are now saying, maybe it’s not a phobia after all.

That’s because, well, it might be rational – and rooted in disgust rather than fear.

Trypophobia is poorly understood, and not recognised by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . So researchers at Emory University set out to study the fear response in relation to clusters of holes.

But they found that the pupillary response – the involuntary movement of the pupils in the eye – was closer to disgust than the pupillary response to fear.

“Some people are so intensely bothered by the sight of these objects that they can’t stand to be around them,” explained Stella Lourenco, the Emory University psychologist whose lab conducted the study.

“The phenomenon, which likely has an evolutionary basis, may be more common than we realise.”

Previous research conducted in 2013 concluded that the response may be related to the speckled patterns of dangerous animals, such as snakes. But in January 2017, a different explanation was put forward.

Researchers at the University of Kent proposed that a pattern of holes, like those that can be found in a lotus pod or honeycomb, arouse our aversion because they resemble parasite infestations, infectious diseases, and decomposition.

The Answer Might Be Evolutionary And It May Have To Do With Our Fear Of Poisonous Animals

“Most common phobias — fear of spiders, heights, dogs, snakes, the darkness – are to things that would have been dangerous to our ancestors,” Glass said.

“Individuals that readily feared these things were less likely to die before reproducing successfully, and so they passed on those genes to us,” he added.

Some evolutionists think that closely clustered objects accidentally trigger our fear of poisonous animals, which may show these cluster patterns.

How Is Trypophobia Diagnosed

Are you bothered by the bubbles of boiling water? Does the sight of cantaloupe seeds clustered inside the fruit disgust you? Do you avoid leopard skin patterns? All are possible signs of trypophobia. If you are merely bothered by these phenomena, however, you likely have a mild aversion. If your reactions trigger avoidance and changes in behavior, the condition may be more on the level of phobia.

While there is no well-researched way to diagnose the condition, you can discover for yourself if you have it by looking at triggering images, which are easy to find through Google, , and . Or you can take the Trypophobia Test on YouTube.

Whats Behind A Phobia Of Holes

Fear of clusters of holes and cracks, called trypophobia, may be evolutionary in origin. But as details are shared, it is becoming a social contagion. By Chrissie Giles

Julia was around 11 years old the first time it happened. She let herself into her dad’s apartment in Malmö, Sweden, dropped her schoolbag and flopped on to the sofa. She switched on the TV and turned to her favourite channel in time for the cartoons. The screen filled up with a cartoon man with a huge head. On his chin, in place of skin or a beard were huge cracks. Suddenly, she felt like she was going to throw up in disgust. She screwed up her eyes and fumbled for the button to turn off the TV.

Every few months or so after this, she would see something that she just could not bear. Something that made her feel utterly disgusted and terrified. Sometimes it was cracks, but other times it was patterns of holes or dots, or scenes from nature programmes showing things such as groups of barnacles. She would shake, pour with sweat and end up lying on the floor in tears. One time, she was chatting on the phone when she saw something so awful she threw her mobile across the room. No one else she knew seemed to have this strange reaction. What was going on?

Then, one day, when she was living in London in her early 20s, her then-boyfriend came bursting through the front door after work. “Julia!” he shouted. “I know what you have!”

What is in those holes? Pus, blood, gunk. Gross, but familiar. And being dealt with.

Why Do People Have This Fear

Researchers have a few theories.

Some deadly and infections cause skin to break out in clusters of round sores. Fear of disease may have trained the human brain to dislike things that look like illness. So the brain may not like seeing clusters of holes or other things that look like diseased skin.

Researchers have also found that poisonous animals have skin or eyes that look like clusters of holes. Some examples are octopuses and spiders. Again, fear may have wired the human brain to dislike images that remind it of these threats.

It’s possible that the way holey things look — the light and shadows made by their circles or patterns — remind the human brain of stuff it finds dangerous.

How To Overcome Trypophobia

This article was co-authored by Paul Chernyak, LPC. Paul Chernyak is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Chicago. He graduated from the American School of Professional Psychology in 2011.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article has 21 testimonials from our readers, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 384,506 times.

Trypophobia is a relatively new term used to describe a fear of clusters of holes. People who suffer from trypophobia have an irrational fear of clusters of holes that causes them to experience anxiety and other negative effects. The effects can range from mild to severe and different types of holes may trigger the phobia.XResearch source If you are suffering from trypophobia and it is affecting your daily life, you should seek help from a mental health professional as soon as possible. Keep reading to learn more about how to overcome trypophobia.

What Triggers Trypophobia

Freaking people out who suffer from Trypophobia (fear of ...

Some common trypophobia triggers are enumerated below:

  • A cluster of the eyes
  • Cantaloupe
  • Bumps or Holes on the Flesh
  • Creepy-Crawly Eyes
  • Holes in Decaying or Diseased Flesh
  • Sea Sponges
  • Fruit Seeds

Also, animals, such as Mammals, Amphibians, Insects, and other living things with fur or spotted skin can trigger trypophobia warning signs. Although the evidence base to support specific treatments is limited, it makes sense to regard intensive phobia as a problem based on avoiding difficult feelings.

The Visual Stress Theory

The current favourite of researchers like Cole, this theory proposes, that we can’t quite be sure what causes it – that trypophobia serves no functional purpose and has no solid evolutionary adaptation.

“The neuroscience behind this theory is quite interesting. Recently we used a technique called infrared spectroscopy to examine people with trypophobia – it’s a method that allows you to see where the blood and activity are in somebody’s brain,” says Cole.

“And on seeing trypophobic images, the blood was found towards the back of participants’ brains – it was in the visual areas of the brain, rather than the frontal decision-making areas.”

As Cole says, this may indicate a trypophobic response may not be prompting us to make a decision about how dangerous an object is. “It indicates there might not be an evolutionary reason why we don’t like these images – it may simply just be that the brain doesn’t like it. And we might never know more than this.”

Do Any Celebrities Suffer From Trypophobia

As trypophobia is a newly defined phenomenon, not many celebrities have come forward to claim that they suffer from the unexplainable fear.

Despite this, reality star royalty Kendall Jenner has admitted that she struggles to look at clusters of holes.

Writing on her website, she confessed: “Things that could set me off are pancakes, honeycomb, or lotus heads .

“It sounds ridiculous, but so many people actually have it!

“I can’t even look at little holes — it gives me the worst anxiety. Who knows what’s in there???”


What Is Trypophobia And What Are The Symptoms

The term trypophobia was coined in 2005 by internet users that merged the Greek words for hole and fear.

While it is yet to be officially defined as a condition, a study in Psychological Science has estimated that trypophobia is present in 16 per cent of people.

The academic paper explains that the condition provokes an intense reaction, even though “the stimuli are usually clusters of holes of any variety that are almost always innocuous and seemingly pose no threat.”

The severity of the fear ranges on a case to case basis.

While some find that clusters of holes causes them feel uncomfortable, others have claimed that the sight of the images can make them shake all over in fear.

Theories About What Causes Trypophobia

Discussed here are some of the available theories concerning what causes trypophobia.

  • Having Relationship with Hazardous Animals
  • It was gathered in a scientific theory that crowded together holes share the same look as the coat and skin patterns of various poisonous animals.

    Out of unaware associations with these dangerous animals, people may dread these particular patterns, thereby cause trypophobia to occur.

    It was believed by the researchers that people having trypophobia unconsciously related a honeycomb sight with unsafe creatures that contribute to similar fundamental visual attributes like the clatter snakes.

    This may likely be why they are having feelings of fear or disgust, even though they aren’t deliberately conscious of this connection.

  • Evolutionary Causes
  • One of the common and renowned theories gave trypophobia meaning as an evolutionary reaction to those things linked with danger or disease.

    For example, trypophobia skin, trypophobia hand, vermin, and some other related communicable conditions may likely be

    Diseased skin, vermin, and other communicable conditions may be typified by such bumps or holes.

    What this simply means or recommends is that this particular phobia has an evolutionary foundation.

    Moreover, it is regular with the propensity for people having trypophobia to feel tremendous revulsion than fear whenever they perceive any trigger thing.

  • Associating with Transmittable Pathogens
  • Reacting to Visual Attributes
  • What Foods Can Trigger Trypophobia

    • Natural foods are abound with irregular holes. , seed pods, strawberries, , watermelon, , cantaloupes, roasted garlic, corn on the cob, exotic mushrooms; even horizontally sliced pickles have this holey effect
    • Plucked whole poultry
    • When cooking, the bubbles in batter create little holes; think pancakes and delicious buttery crumpets
    • Other triggers can include Swiss cheese, sourdough bread, the bubbles in Aero chocolate bars, even the froth in your morning coffee
    • Common non-food triggers include beehives, coral, lotus seed pods, and snakes

    What Causes Trypophobia

    Unlike other phobias, the overwhelming emotion often described by people with this aversion is disgust, rather than fear.

    Trypophobia tends to be mainly set off by visual stimuli however, some sufferers have reported that encountering dimpled or holey surfaces is also a trigger for them.

    Scientists believe it is not actually the holes themselves that elicit the response however, but rather what the holes represent.

    Holes are often associated with danger; the thought of falling into one, or what could be hiding within one, is what causes the unpleasant reaction.

    Kendall Jenner, of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, has outed herself as a trypophobe, and is the perfect example of this.

    She wrote on her blog, “I can’t even look at little holes, it gives me the worst anxiety. Who knows what’s in there?

    The appearance of holes or bumps in the way that might trigger a trypophobe is also akin to a skin rash or other pathological complaints, such as chickenpox or scabies.

    We are biologically hardwired to be disgusted by the appearance of these conditions as a means to protect ourselves from potential contagious diseases.

    A Lifetime Of Aversions

    Sue’s first memory of disgust came when tripe, or cow stomach – a common English staple full of indentations – was placed in front of her at the dinner table. Despite an “idyllic” childhood and no signs of anxiety, her aversions grew.

    “Honeycomb, watermelon, pomegranates, corn on the cob,” said Sue, now 54. “I loved corn, but not on the cob, because it left holes. I thought I was just being quirky.”

    The psychology of black and why we’re scared of the dark

    A nurse for over 30 years, Sue also had difficulty when caring for certain skin conditions on her patients. “I started to notice a pattern with an aversion to rashes, eczema and the like,” Sue said. “I thought, ‘Just kick your backside, get on with it.’ “

    Her disorder exploded a few years ago, when various images of holes and clusters photo-edited onto human skin went viral across the internet.

    “That’s the moment I realized I had a phobia. Someone had taken a lotus seed and Photoshopped it on someone’s shoulder. I looked at it and felt sick, pulse racing, skin felt itchy. It stayed with me for weeks and weeks and weeks, and every time I thought about it,” she said, “it made me sick.”

    Like Sue’s, Andresen’s fear of holes started as a child.

    “I remember when I was little, a Disney movie came on, ‘The Thirteenth Year,’ where the boy turns into a merman,” Andresen recalled. “But it looked like little holes on his skin, and I went crying to my mother.”

    Your detour to a stress-free life

    Trypophobia Test Cure And Causes

    Trypophobia is the fear of holes? It

    Take Trypophobia test and cure it through behavioral or cognitive therapies. Trypo-phobia is caused by psychological conditions.

    Trypophobia is a peculiar fear of holes that a few individuals have. They are anxious about the possibility that they will fall into these holes until everlasting time or is exceptionally dark inside these holes.

    Indeed, even by simply taking a gander at pictures that contains clusters of holes in it will be making those individuals nauseous.

    Trypophobic fears gaps, particularly those having irregular edges. The person links those openings with the Fear of Holes in the Skin. The infected individual is hesitant to look too near his or hers skin, imagining that those holes are visible. The gaps that make this apprehension are little, with sporadic shapes and they are typically bunched together.

    Generally, Trypophobia is introduced following early childhood, being one of those diseases that vanish until the teenage years. Trypophobe typically can’t even clarify what this condition is about.

    Previous Studies About Trypophobia

    “Visual discomfort” was described by Wilkins as an umbrella term describing a spectrum of adverse events triggered by visual stimuli, such as striped pictures, cluster images, repetitive patterns, and even text lines. It is common in individuals suffering from migraine and epilepsy, but it has been mostly studied from the point of view of visual perception rather than the underlying cognitive mechanisms of a phobic phenomenon .

    Twenty years ago, Rufo described the case of a little girl who was an inpatient in a day-hospital and expressed an extreme terror to holes, describing her paralyzing terror to a repetitive pattern on a surface of a musical instrument. Much later, Cole and Wilkins described trypophobia as a type of visual discomfort provoking an excessive fear when observing patterns of holes. They found that such images possess high-contrast energy at midrange spatial frequencies. It had been reported before that images with such visual properties are often described as uncomfortable by general population . In addition, they demonstrated images of highly poisonous animals possess similar spectral features to trypophobic images. Another experiment showed even non-trypophobic individuals are sensitive to this kind of images, some of whom find them aversive. Apparently, there is an innate aversion towards such stimuli.

    Other Popular Types Of Phobias

    Phobias are the most popular mental sicknesses in the United States of America.

    The 3 varied classes of phobias as identified by the American Psychiatric Association are specific, agoraphobia, and social phobias.

  • Social Anxiety aka social phobia: This is a deep fear of being humiliated publicly and being judged or singled out in a social condition by other people.
  • Specific Phobia: This is simply a strong, illogical dread of a particular trigger.
  • Agoraphobia: This is a fear of circumstances from which it would be hard to escape if a person were to experience serious panic.
  • It is usually misconstrued as a fear of the open spaces, even though it could as well apply to be restricted in a small space. Those who are having agoraphobia have a high risk of panic disorder.

    Other popular phobias available in the United States include the following.

    The list of other possible phobias is enormous and the list changes even as the society also changes.

    Also, developing a phobia of just whatever you can think of is possible. For example, nomophobia means fear of not having a computer or mobile phone.

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