“If the sight of holes makes you panic, you may suffer from the most common phobia you have never heard of- Trypophobia.”
A peer-reviewed study published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology (March 2015) estimated that 15 percent of adults (18 percent of females and 11 percent of males) experience trypophobia to some degree.
Some trypophobes react to visuals of holes and bumps with panic attacks, sweating, palpitations, and feelings of nausea or itchiness. While some might feel disgusted by the holes themselves, others have felt concern by an organism (or several) may be living in those holes, which causes them disgust.
Trypophobia can produce a range of symptoms with varying degrees of intensity, from a mild aversion to an immediate, intense feeling of disgust, fear, or even a full-blown panic attack.
What Are the Symptoms of Trypophobia?
Feeling our skin crawl
Shortness of breath
What Triggers Symptoms of Trypophobia?
Some symptoms are set off by the sight of everyday, harmless items, such as:
Others may respond only to more exotic or unusual images
Why these or any images produce such an intense response in some people and not others is not certain, but recent studies have begun to tease out intriguing possibilities.
In 2015, the psychologists reasoned linking it with the “theory of evolution” and the “survival of the fittest”: Since many of the harmful animals, including alligators, crocodiles; some of the dangerous snakes; spiders; and insects, have bumps or holes all over their skin, our ancient ancestors who were disgusted or scared by these patterns would have had a greater chance of survival in the presence of those dangers. Which is now passed on in the future generations.
Another study proposed that trypophobia could also be an exaggerated response to a natural tendency of our mind to avoid infectious skin diseases which cause patterns of bumps or holes on our skin such as smallpox and measles, and parasites, such as scabies and ticks.
What Are the Factors that can predispose someone to Trypophobia?
Not much is known about what may increase the risk factor of trypophobia. The only link of Trypophobia found so far is to social anxiety disorder, which can be characterized by a strong, persistent fear of being judged by others.
Being bothered by the bubbles of boiling water, a dalmatian’s skin or the seeds of a pomegranate or seeds of a watermelon are all possible signs of trypophobia. If these are affecting our day to day life, causing a hindrance in us performing our everyday tasks or affecting our career, social reactions, the condition may be more on the level of phobia.
Disclaimer: Please note that we are not a crisis intervention helpline. Should you have severe symptoms or have thought about harming yourself, please seek immediate medical help or call suicide prevention helplines such as
Aasra 24x7 Helpline: 91-22-27546669