When someone is suffering from an aggravated and extreme fear, the person is said to be suffering from a phobia.
A phobia has been defined as a marked fear or nervousness about a specific kind of object or situation and are understood as anxiety disorders, although, the causes of such fear are difficult to comprehend. A kind of phobia is bound to a specific object or situation and arises when a person comes across the phobic stimulus whether in action or by thoughts. Phobias can be learned or could occur naturally, but not all phobias automatically mirror the possible danger of the object or substance.
Of all the different kinds of phobia reported, one of the most fascinating is “trypophobia” which is expressed as the irrational and intense fear of holes. Trypophobia is gotten from the Greek word “trypos” which means drilling or punching holes and “phobia” which means fear.
The inducing object or substance can be any illustration that presents clusters of small or large holes in relation to each other, clusters of objects apart from holes can also induce trypophobia. This phobia may also arise as a result of the inducing substances sharing vital images with those of dangerous animals.
The most commonly objects and substances that trigger this kind of phobia are stated below:
- Lotus sea pod
- Ant hills
- Pores in meat and skin
- Acnes on cheek
- Mold spores on bread
- Measles rash
- Swiss cheese
Trypophobia can also be as a result of seeing images associated with decayed food and contaminants, a spoiled food can be unpleasant and a cause for disgust. This brings the idea that trypophobia may be related with disgust. It is obvious that visual images of contaminants are irregular patterns.
When it comes to trypophobia there is no observable threat and the images that induce trypophobia have little in common with one another asides than their configuration.
Upon getting to see these images, a person suffering from trypophobia will experience phobia related experiences both from a cognitive, behavioral and psychosomatic angle.
- Itchy feeling
The fear and its symptoms interferes with a sufferers daily life and activities, one funny aspect is that the objects and substances inducing this fear and repugnance are usually harmless images that poses no threat of any kind, making the condition difficult to elucidate in terms of learning this theory.
Trypophobia might also be contagious, a sort of emotional contagion seems to be at work on a group on facebook, where certain members said that they did not know they had trypophobia until they started looking at trypophobic images and reading other people’s comments. People might experience fear at a particular time if others around are terrified.
People who do not suffer from trypophobia still see trypophobic images as an aversion, even though they do not experience the emotion.
Similarities and differences between Trypophobia and other Phobias
A kind of phobia has to get in the way with your everyday life and activities before it can be classified as a clinical phobia and of course there has existed cases where trypophobia has restricted sufferers from taking part in activities and educational classes such as biology classes.
Another similarity is that some kind of phobias such as arachnophobia is associated with disgust and contamination and the same goes to trypophobia.
There also exist differences between trypophobia and other phobias that have to be taken note of. For phobias such as claustrophobia, the reaction is to the objects or situations that are directly associated with danger but when dealing with trypophobia the inducing factors usually consist of of harmless objects even though they bear a resemblance to dangerous objects.
One more difference is that phobias have been reported to have existed all through history unlike trypophobia which is just recently reported. Trypophobia is a kind of fear that has been there all through our evolution.
The term was introduced in the mid 2000s and since then received a lot of attention from the media, scientists and the general public at large. The topic is widely discussed on various websites. There exists no formal definition of trypophobia as it is not accepted by the American psychiatric association. The internet being an effective means of communication between different people throughout the world is also competent of communicating various kinds of content and the nature of this type of communication might be one of the reasons why trypophobia was reported recently. Trypophobia is not an invention of the internet rather the internet a spur for the acknowledgment of this condition.
A part of the reasons why trypophobia isn’t accepted is perhaps due to the confusing nature of this condition, other kinds of phobia have significant reasons justifying them which make them easier to comprehend and admit.
Due to the increased interest in trypophobia, some researchers investigated the aspects of trypophobia which will be summarized below.
The first researchers to introduce trypophobia to the scientific literature were Cole and Wilkins with their paper titled “fear of holes”. To examine a likely mechanism behind this phobia, they carried out a spectral scrutiny on the trypophobic images and images of perilous animals so as to examine the level of visual characteristics in those images. Then it was noted that two kinds of images mutually shared the same elevated contrast energy at mid range frequencies. For that reason, they concluded that trypophobic images have some features present in dangerous animals.
91 males and 195 females were asked if they found the lotus see pod difficult to look at in order to get an evaluation of how common the fear of holes are in the general population. According to the results gotten, Cole and Wilkins estimated that 15 percent of the general population is susceptible to objects and substances that trigger trypophobia.
During the experiment, the people with and without trypophobia were asked if they were susceptible to triggering relevant and irrelevant stimuli such as breakdown of inorganic matter, animals generally related to phobia, decay of organic matter and skin conditions to know if dangerous objects from an evolutionary point have an effect on people suffering from trypophobia to a high extent relative to control.
Holes are not essentially the only things that are to blame for trypophobia, in spite of its name. Images of holes and bumps were created and they found out that images associated with holes do not provoke much uneasiness as images associated with bumps. They concluded that, even if a large division of trypophobic images consists of holes. it is still the clustering nature of the objects that is the brain behind the uneasiness rather than the nature of the object itself.
To determine if you are suffering from trypophobia, all you have to do is search for trypophobic images on the internet. If you are feeling a sense of avoidance and repulsiveness, then you might be suffering from trypophobia.
Most people suffering from trypophobia have deduced that they do not really realize why images that trigger trypophobic reactions affect them and due to inadequate answers to their questions, they tend to avoid discussing their fear. But they can virtually discuss in an anonymous but public manner with other people with this condition on the internet.
Experiences with phobia often involve the feeling of running and some are related with a high risk of substance misuse such as alcohol, illegal drugs and anxiolytic drugs to manage their social stress.
Discomfort with trypophobia occurs because sufferers try to avoid taking a look at trypophobic images because they involve the use of excessive brain oxygenation. The brain uses about twenty percent of the body’s energy and needs to be kept at a minimum level.
How to Cure the Fear of Holes
One of the most fundamental questions on the subject of trypophobia is how to treat it. Communications and deliberations between professionals or therapists and people who suffer from trypophobia is an improved means of identifying how treatment should begin and advance.
With the current level of trypophobia, not every practitioner is acquainted with this situation, which limits the level of assistance a person suffering from trypophobia can get.
Trypophobia vary in the severity, and in extremely severe cases they turn out to be sources of disability that may lead to abridged life span. Many methods have been used to treat the fear of holes and might not be applicable to everyone, please do note that it will take a while before your fears become controllable, some of them are:
- Exposure: an example of an exposure to the inducing factors is systematic desensitization. This method generally involves identifying objects, substances and avoided situations that trigger trypophobia and exposing a sufferer to this mode.
People who go through systematic desensitization will be taught relaxation techniques to put in control the tensions of the muscles and reduce stress when exposed to the scary state. Exposure involves confrontation of the images or situations that induce trypophobic reactions.
- Medications: some psychiatrists can also prescribe drugs to reduce the level of trypophobic symptoms, such medications may be antidepressants or anxiolytic drugs. It is reported that antidepressants are more effective in reducing temporary symptoms and disabilities. The use of prescribed drugs has however been put forward to be a temporary solution in relation to a high risk of deterioration because the occurrence of downbeat side effects may result in sufferers who wish to put an end to the medications. On one occasion that the medication stops, the effects of the treatment will no longer be sustained.
It is advisable that psychosomatic treatments should be chosen over the use of medications.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: it is a method used in challenging thoughts and discovering the feelings linked with them.
- Relaxation techniques: relaxation techniques such an meditation, practicing yoga and maintaining an healthy lifestyle constituting a normal form of exercise can reduce anxiety disorders to the barest minimum.
There are simple steps you can follow in getting rid of trypophobia without the need of a therapist such as:
- Comprehend your fear: trypophobia is likely have an effect on sufferers when they come across images of holes and it is usually associated with rigorous anxiety.
- Get to know the about the basis of trypophobia.
- Spot your triggers: you need to know the different kinds of clusters of holes that activate uneasiness and other adverse effects to be able to confront them. You can make a record of the objects, substances and situation, your reaction to them and how they interfere with your daily life and activities.
- Trace back the fundamental causes of your fear as this will help you in dealing with trypophobia. Attitude towards trypophobia is different for everyone.
- Learn about the source of your fear, getting to study about the things that makes you nervous is an efficacious way in getting rid of trypophobia. You might get the chance to know amazing things about them.
- Face up to the source of your fear: do not try to run away from your fears because it will only strengthen your fears. Better still, face the source of your fear and deal with it. This is known as exposure therapy and it is already discussed above.
- Have a regular diet, exercise and good amount of sleep as these will help your brain in functioning well.
- If your trypophobia is so intense and depriving you of enjoying life, then you should seek help from a therapist. Some techniques that will be used by your therapist are already discussed above.
Trypophobia is of no comfort to people who go through it, it is of no surprise by the way because people can be scared of absolutely anything possible. The factors that contribute to this phobia consist of biological factors, traumatic experiences and observational learning.
If you think about trypophobia or the fear of holes whichever way, it is not strange. However, trypophobia is not the problem; the problem is your attitude towards this condition.