What is Trypophobia?

Trypophobia means perforation and is a condition in which a person experiences a certain dislike or fear towards small groups of holes. This phobia arises when a person observes a pattern of very grouped tiny holes, triggering various symptoms, such as anxiety, fear and disgust.

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People who suffer from this intense fear also often manifest symptoms such as itching, tingling, tremors and revulsion when coming into contact with this group of holes. In more difficult cases, trypophobia can cause nausea, an elevated heart rate, and can even cause a panic attack. For this phobia there are treatments, among which is systematic desensitization, antidepressants and anxiolytics.

Causes of trypophobia

Researchers in this area consider that people with trypophobia unconsciously associate holes, which are commonly present in nature, with dangerous situations. This impression of danger arises mainly from the relationship between the appearance of the patterns with the skin of poisonous animals, or worms that generate skin diseases, such as cutaneous myiasis.

Mostly, people who suffer from this phobia find it impossible to differentiate situations in which there is danger and in which there is not, based on an unconscious reflex that attracts uncontrolled reactions as a result.

One theory maintains that this phobia is related to the evolution of the human being. In ancient times, man learned to prevent various poisonous animals, which, on their skin, had these geometric patterns. Therefore, trypophobia could come from that primitive behavior. Thus, there is a possibility that this phobia would be present in the genes and would not be acquired.

Due to the doubts that scientists have had regarding this phobia, certain studies allege that more than 15% of the population experiences this phobia. Therefore, it is considered to be a fairly common phobia.

Therapies and medications

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: here the goal is to transform thoughts, along with behaviors that arise in the presence of trypophobia. It is in particular, it focuses on the present, on the way the patient reacts at the time of treatment, instead of getting to the root of the problem.

Through this therapy, the patient gains various skills that allow him to defy difficulties, specifically the inability to tolerate an image with great density of these geometric figures.

  • Exposure therapy: through this treatment, the therapist gradually shows the patient the stimulus that causes his symptoms, in order to help him control anxiety. The most important thing in these sessions is to gain the confidence of the affected patient, because this therapy only works if they break down all their barriers and fully surrender.


First of all, it is necessary to point out that only a psychiatrist has the possibility to recommend a drug against trypophobia. The most common are tranquilizers (they help control the anxiety stimulated by this and other phobias), antidepressants (in the strongest cases of trypophobia, to prevent it from attacking the common activity of the patient) and beta blockers (to counteract the effects of adrenaline)

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