What is Trypophobia?

Trypophobia is a phrase that describes unfounded fear of a group of small openings and bumps. Tyrpophobia triggers intense reaction which does not pose a threat. The severity of fears varies from case to another5.

Phobia is a devastating fear of objects, places, animals and feelings. Phobias are more manifested than normal fears and occur when a person has blown up fear of harm towards a situation, place or object.


Phobia may not be harmful if you do not come in contact with the origin of phobia regularly. However, when you think about the things you fear they may make you anxious. Phobia can also become severe and affect a person’s quality of life. When this happens, a phobia sufferer should learn how to deal with these phobias.

Symptoms of Trypophobia

Phobia sufferers may show the following symptoms4:

  • They are more sensitive to unrealities. Phobia sufferers are mostly preoccupied with fear of things. They also feel dizzy, tremble most of the time and have an increased heart rate. Phobia sufferers also fear dying and may experience nausea.

Causes of Trypophobia

It is not yet known the real causes of trypophobia but is believed that its causes are similar to the other phobias. Studies have shown that environmental and genetic factors may cause phobia.

Genetic factors

People who come from a family with anxiety disorders are more likely to develop phobia.

Disturbing events

When you are exposed to horrible event like torture at early age, you will likely have phobia towards similar events as you grow up.

Symptoms of Trypophobia

  • People with trypophobia generally have feelings of restlessness and irritation on their entire body after seeing an object with holes. People suffering from trypophobia usually may react in the following ways at the appearance of holes. They may observe it for a while and think of demolishing or covering it or they may become dizzy after looking at the holes.3


Since there are no known causes of trypophobia, there are also no proven diagnostic methods to diagnose it1.

Cure of Trypophobia

People suffering from trypophobia can be managed when psychological therapies are used. Therapies are good in treating phobia and other anxiety disorders than medications since they treat more than symptoms. Therapies can help an individual suffering from trypophobia to unearth the underlying causes of fear and worries; learn how to look at situations in a fresh way, how to relax, come up with better ways to deal with the problem.

Numerous therapies are used to cure anxiety. Each method can be used as stand alone or in combination with other forms of therapies. Anxiety therapy may be conducted to a single person or in a group with similar anxiety. The following are some of anxiety therapies that can be used to treat trypophobia:6

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most commonly used form of therapy to treat a wide range of anxieties such as phobia, panic, etc. In cognitive behavioral therapy, negative thoughts and how you perceive yourself and the world around you are dealt with.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is divided into the following:

  • Cognitive therapy assesses your negative thoughts and their contribution to phobia.
  • Behavioral therapy examines your behaviors and response towards situations that trigger anxiety.

The underlying principle of cognitive behavioral therapy is that thoughts and not external factors influence the way a person feels. In other words, it is not the situation you are in that determines how you feel but your perception of the situation.

In cognitive behavioral therapy, you will be able to challenge your own negative thoughts about a situation by doing the following:

Identify your limiting thoughts

With anxiety disorders, situations are perceived harmful than they actual are. To a person with trypophobia, for example looking at group of holes may be scary. You may see this is as unrealistic fear but identifying your own limiting thoughts may be difficult. On your own as we have mentioned may be difficult, but you will learn under the supervision of a therapist do this step.

Challenge your thoughts

In this step, you will be guided on how to examine your limiting thoughts. This step involves querying the facts of your terrifying thoughts, analyze beliefs and test the certainty of the limiting thoughts. In order to challenge your negative thoughts, your therapist perform experiments on what your fear, comes up with merits and demerits of worrying and evading the thing you fear and determine the likelihood of what you fear may happen.

Replace negative thoughts

Once you have correctly identified unrealistic fears and negative distortion in your anxious thoughts, you can start to change them with new, correct and helpful thoughts.

  • Your therapist will teach how to come up with sensible positive statements to tell yourself when you face a situation that elevates your anxiety.

In addition, your therapist will teach you how to recognize when you are anxious and how it feels like in the body. You will also be taught how to cope with anxiety and panic.

Exposure therapy

In this therapy, your therapist will expose to situations that make you to panic. By repeatedly exposing you to a group of holes and bumps, you will eventually learn how to the control situation and your fears will diminish.

Your therapist will ask you to imagine a frightening situation that makes you to fear or confront it in life. Your therapist will take you through exposure therapy step by step. You will begin with a mild situation that make you panic a little and proceed to more frightening situations.

Here, you will learn the techniques to make you relax such as deep breathing or muscle relaxation. You can practice these techniques at home. Once you start dealing with your fears, these techniques come in handy to help you reduce your physical anxiety.

You will also develop a list of frightening situation with a clear, realistic, measurable and achievable goal. For instance if your goal is to overcome the fear of a group of small holes, you may start by looking at the photos of small holes and end up looking at small holes.

Your therapist will guide you through these steps and aim at staying at each situation until the fear of it goes away.

Exposure therapy can be used alone or in combination with cognitive therapy. Other therapies that can be used to help people suffering from trypophobia are


You will be able to talk to a competent counselor about your fears. The counselor will try to understand the causes of your fears as you discuss and help you come up with a plan to deal with the underlying causes.

If you have trypophobia, you probably need treatment. Dealing with trypophobia may be difficult but you there is optimism. With the suitable treatment, you will be able deal with this form of phobia and lead a fulfilling life.


tyrpophobia images 2


Reference list

  1. Trypophobia.
  6. Therapy for Anxiety Disorders.

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