Trypophobia Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Trypophobia Definition, Reason, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention


Trypophobia is an unusual and excessive fear or disgust of dense and numerous holes.

Sufferers will feel uncomfortable when they see a surface that has many small holes close together. Not infrequently, trypophobia causes panic attacks or anxiety. 

For example, the seed head of a lotus flower or the surface of a strawberry can trigger discomfort in someone with this phobia.

If you experience this phobia and it interferes with your activities, you should immediately consult a doctor.

Trypophobia Symptoms 

Signs and symptoms of trypophobia appear when people with this condition see objects with clusters of holes or shapes that resemble holes.

When seeing the grouped holes, the person will show a reaction in the form of fear, high levels of anxiety, or disgust.

Some of the other symptoms that can occur include:

  • Nauseous
  • Shiver
  • Shiver
  • Sweating 
  • Hard to breathe
  • Palpitations
  • Uncomfortable feeling
  • Feeling a strange sensation on the skin that is not triggered by an external object

Trypophobia Reason 

The exact cause of trypophobia is not known. However, several things or objects are known to trigger discomfort in people who experience this condition, including:

  • Lotus flower seeds
  • Holes in the bread
  • Honeycomb
  • Strawberry
  • Coral reefs
  • Aluminum metal foam
  • Pomegranate
  • Bubble

In addition, the cause of trypophobia is thought to be a previous unpleasant event that makes the sufferer even more afraid. 

The condition is also thought to be related to the memory of dangerous animals, which makes a person even more afraid.

Risk Factors 

Trypophobia is more common in women than men. This psychological condition can also be passed down in the family.

In general, people who are afraid of pinhole patterns have other mental problems, such as:

  •  Major depression
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Bipolar disorder


To determine the diagnosis of a phobia, including trypophobia, the doctor can ask a series of questions related to the symptoms being experienced. 

Doctors can also conduct medical interviews regarding medical history, mental conditions, and social relationships. 

Additional checks such as filling out a questionnaire or a special test for trypophobia can also be done. The doctor will guide the patient in filling out the questions asked. 

Trypophobia Treatment 

Treatment for trypophobia can be in the form of therapy, for example exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as the use of drugs such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety.

1. Display Therapy

Exposure therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on changing responses to objects or situations that cause fear.

When undergoing exposure therapy, trypophobia sufferers will be accompanied by a therapist. Sufferers can get support and can learn to respond to fear or disgust.

2. Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Another therapy for trypophobia is cognitive behavioral therapy  (CBT). 

This therapy teaches sufferers to identify, challenge, change unwanted thought patterns, and manage feelings of distress they experience.

Indirectly, this therapy aims to help overcome anxiety and keep their own thoughts from making the person concerned uncomfortable.

3. Drugs

Apart from therapy, doctors can combine treatment with drugs that reduce the symptoms that appear. 

Some of the drugs given are for example:

  • Antidepressants (for example the Serotonin/Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) class)
  • Benzodiazepine (alprazolam, diazepam, clobazam)
  • Beta-blockers ( bisoprolol, propranolol)

In addition to undergoing therapy and taking the drugs given, trypophobia sufferers can control themselves by:

  • Practice regular relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation
  • Spending time in nature or a quiet and peaceful environment
  • Doing fun activities such as hobbies
  • Control stress
  • Get enough rest every day
  • Eat nutritious foods and limit foods that trigger anxiety
  • Engage in regular physical activity and exercise to deal with anxiety and stress
  • Looking for someone to talk to, for example a family or group that has the same symptoms


Because the cause of trypophobia is not known with certainty, there is no method that has been proven to be completely effective in preventing this disorder.


In serious conditions, trypophobia can interfere with daily activities and may cause the following conditions:

  • Easily angry and stressed
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbance (insomnia)
  • Panic attack

When to See a Doctor?

Immediately see an expert, such as a psychiatrist, when you experience fear, disgust, and excessive anxiety every time you see things with holes.

Especially if these conditions have hampered your daily activities, and disturbed the comfort of other people.

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