Trypophobia: Fear Of Holes Phobia

Trypophobia is the irrational and intense fear of holes that are small, clustered and of rough or asymmetric patterns and appearance such as beehives, ant hills, holes in concrete, bug tunnels in wood, veins in meat or bumps which results in an all over creepy, crawling, itchy feeling and all round restlessness.

This phobia is not a disease and cannot be contracted through insect bites or coming in contact with people with this kind of phobia, but it is one of the most common phobia that we have.

Trypophobia skin disease is a strange condition and may seem of little or no significance to those who do not suffer from it but it can cause a great deal of harmful effect on those who suffer from it.Fear of Holes, trypophobia

Phobia by definition is an excessive, irrational or obsessive fear or anxiety usually about something in particular, people suffer from different kinds of phobia but fifteen percent of the population complain about the fear of holes, whereas its scientific name is known as Trypophobia which is coined from “trypa” and “phobos”.


Causes of The Fear Holes

The exact reason for getting this particular phobia is not yet known. There are thousands of people who claim they suffer from it. In spite of this, it is not recognized in the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or any other scientific literature but it can be found all over the internet.

According to a just completed research by the university of Essex, George Cole, a part of the expert researchers in the science of vision said the visual patterns that initiates the symptoms for people suffering from this phobia is the same with those seen in different venomous animals. This little research done about it suggests that it is an instinctive fear of harm from dangerous things that has been transferred to harmless objects or substances.

Some individuals offered the following possible causes of this irrational fear:

  • Deep rotted emotional issue: some objects or substances associated with childhood that initiates traumatic memories related with holes.
  • Individuals who are scared of snakes or scorpions can develop it as such creatures tend to hide in dark and small holes. The fear of such creatures can develop to the fear of holes.
  • Evolution: evolution may be the one of the major causes of fear of holes. This can be explained using pockmarked substances or objects which do not seem completely normal. A section of the brain associates these pockmarks with something very dangerous.
  • It is possible for trypo phobia to get triggered in people after they might have witnessed a friend, loved one or stranger fall into a hole. Such events can affect the subconscious thereby leading to repetitions in the form of these phobia.
  • Some organic objects like rashes or blisters that usually follow an episode of chicken pox or measles tend to be associated with holes.
  • By seeing visual images of maggots, worms or other kinds of insects burrowing into fruits or vegetables can cause nervousness and disgust in some people.
  • Erosion of rocks, stones or the ground by wind or water can create irregular patterns with clusters of holes in them. Such holes can trigger it in some individuals.
  • The fear of Holes can also be a learnt behavior from someone else; some people gave reports that they were not feeling a sense of anxiety of clustered holes until they saw or heard someone feel that way. It may be a learnt or influenced fear from people around that get disturbed by holes.

Signs and Symptoms 

People suffering from the fear of Holes are always worried about the contingency that they might fall into these holes, it is exceptionally deep dark inside these holes or something might be living inside these holes. They experience a sense of discomfort and irritation on the whole body after looking at an object or substance that has lots of small and clustered holes.

Some splanchnic reactions can also be generated as a response to looking at objects or substances that triggers this phobia. Most people experience;

  • Hurting of hair
  • Migraine and fever
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Disgust and mental disturbance
  • Thoughts of death
  • Palpitations
  • Paresthesia
  • Stomach upset
  • Nausea or vomit
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Crawling and creeping sensations on the skin
  • Compulsive need to take a shower after the sight of such holes


The fear of Holes can be diagnosed by exposing an individual to objects or substances with holes or by presenting images of clustered holes to the individual suspected to have this phobia. It is said that the section of the brain of an individual who is trypophobic associates small clustered holes with some kind of danger thereby resulting into a form of flight or fight reaction, this might also be as a result of a trauma such individual might have undergone in the past. Click Here To Diagnose Yourselve

In conclusion of these, some certain conditions must be met before you really ascertain to be having the fear of holes.  These conditions are;

  • The emotion felt must be strong, uncontrollable, unpleasant and irrational and it also must be triggered by the presence of or the eagerness of an impulse.
  • The exposure to the small clustered object or substance must create a panic attack.
  • Situations which could cause panic attacks are always avoided or barely tolerated with a strong feeling of discomfort.
  • These avoidance behaviors and symptoms which appear even when thinking about objects with holes disrupts work, studies, social life and everyday routine.

If you really feel the conditions described above, then you are indeed  trypophobic and it would be nice and advisable to seek medical help so as not to allow these symptoms interfere with your daily routine.

Overcoming Trypophobia

The fear of holes is not a recognized condition so there are no standard treatment options but you can overcome it by doing or having the following:


  • Cognitive therapy: the objective of cognitive therapy is to enable people suffering from it to learn how to set apart real feelings from the unreal ones. People suffering from this phobia need to change their belief in objects or substances they consider dangerous and the impact they might have.
  • Behavioral therapy: this requires undergoing a series of treatment sessions that would most likely let a man adjust and control this irrational behavior. It is easier to learn the best method of controlling emotions when exposed to small clustered holes through this therapy.
  • Behavioral and cognitive therapy: some therapists mix the two in treating it thereby making the sufferer learn the abilities of recovering quickly. This method can be used upon everyday living.


  • Learn the truth behind the things that make you afraid, by educating yourself about the source of your phobia can help demystify it. You might probably appreciate those things for the functions they serve.


  • Exposure therapy: it is believed that when a sufferer is exposed to small clustered objects or substances often and often, this phobia would reduce drastically after each exposure. This exposure therapy deals with confrontation of the sources of these phobia.


  • Relaxation techniques: if the anxiety is so severe to confront the objects behind it, some relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, muscle relaxation and among others can be done to reduce the anxiety.


  • Neuro-linguistic programming: by using this therapy, the sufferer will be exposed and have to be reprogrammed, so they could decrease or diminish this phobia in their life.


  • If the cause of the fear of holes is as a result of a deep rooted emotional issue, then counseling and hypnosis can also be effective in treating the fear of holes.
  • Take good care of yourself by eating balanced diet, exercising for at least thirty minutes per day and sleeping well will help control anxiety.
  • Using medications ranging from antidepressants, tranquilizers or beta blockers which should be prescribed by a psychiatric doctor.


*antidepressants that are usually prescribed for different phobia cases are 5-hydroxytryptamine reuptake inhibitors. Doctors might also prescribe other antidepressants to reduce the symptoms depending on the severity of the case.


*beta blockers are drugs that are used to neutralize the effects of adrenaline in the body. They tend to lower the heart rate, blood pressure and as well reduce quivers.


*benzodiazepines, a certain type of tranquilizer drug which helps to limit the anxiety felt by people with different kinds of phobias. These medications have to be used with care because they can come with adverse side effects and many contraindications.

Medications should be used when experiencing severe and uncontrollable symptoms and do note that these medications will only reduce anxiety temporarily.

  • You can discuss your fear of holes with someone you trust. You can also open up to a friend or family member in order to start dealing with it or probably join an online forum where you would get to see different people with this phobia. They might also suggest different methods they have used in dealing with this phobia.

If you ever notice your friend, child or any other person having this phobia, do not take it as a joke instead take it upon yourself to help the person.



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