What is trypophobia?
Some people will have uncomfortable physiological reactions such as tension, fear, nausea, etc. when they see a large number of densely packed objects. In fact, people are not uncomfortable with the object itself, but with a large number of dense objects. The whole, such as beehives, ant colonies, etc., feel nervous, fearful, etc. Psychology calls this manifestation trypophobia.
For example, a friend said that when it rains, the thin and dense rain lines and dense blisters on the ground make her scalp numb, sweaty palms, and shortness of breath. The symptoms will disappear when she runs indoors.
Seeing the above case, some people may think this is too hypocritical, right? For people without trypophobia, this behavior seems incomprehensible.
Is suffering from trypophobia really hypocritical? Those are the factors that cause trypophobia?
Physiological mechanisms evolved by humans
Some researches believe that trypophobia is related to evolutionary adaptability, and that humans evolved to avoid lice, fleas and other parasites. You can easily squeeze a lice to death, but if thousands of lice crawl around in front of your eyes, your mentality will be different. Imagine densely packed lice slowly crawling on your skin, sucking your blood a little bit… Is it right that just thinking of this picture makes you fearful? Many parasites are social animals, and their gathering means There is a certain danger. Human trypophobias are like signal bombs, reminding humans to stay away from them, so that they can be safer.
Another study shows that you don’t even need to be in direct contact with the parasites. Just show you the densely packed pictures of the parasites, and you will have a disgusting reaction: your brows are tightly closed and your eyes are closed. Some people have a fear response: shortness of breath, trembling all over, sweating like rain… the intensive fear response brought by the picture is the same as the real thing.
It can be seen that trypophobia is not hypocritical, it is a physiological mechanism that humans have evolved in the long process of adaptation.
Excessive reactions increase the degree of trypophobia
So, why do some people have trypophobia and some people don’t?
Research has found that even people without trypophobia will feel sick to dense objects that are at risk of disease, such as a litter of ticks on a dog’s ears. But they don’t have any feeling for those harmless dense objects, such as rice grains and small holes in bread. However, patients with dense phobias will also experience physical and mental discomfort when seeing harmless dense objects. Kupfer said this is an overreaction of patients with trypophobia.
The overreaction of trypophobia is related to both physiology and psychology. Physiologically, patients with trypophobias have a higher level of nervous system arousal. They are often sensitive and alert. Sympathetic nervous system excitement is dominant in the body, and it is easy to feel physiological arousal. For example, some people may experience physiological reactions such as rapid heartbeat, nausea, and vomiting when they see the dense sesame seeds on the sesame cake. In severe cases, they may also experience syncope.
And the psychological aspect involves several aspects, such as timid personality, easy to withdraw, and being over-protected in the process of growing up, etc., are likely to be prone to overreaction to dense things. In addition, the patient may also acquire dense phobias and form a conditioned reflex. If some patients had chickenpox when they were young, they had various blisters all over their body, so that later they would be extremely afraid to see the pictures of dense eggs. This kind of acquired dense phobia is related to specific objects. Some people are afraid of bubble-shaped dense objects, which does not affect their eating rice; some people feel uncomfortable with strip-shaped dense objects. Eating rice will arouse their fear of dense objects.
In addition to the above psychological reasons, the overreaction of trypophobia is also related to collective psychological cues. Affected by psychological cues, some diseases will spread widely in the collective, which psychology calls collective psychogenic diseases. For example, in 2011, 20 girls in a high school in New York State had convulsions at the same time, and they were subsequently diagnosed with collective psychogenic conversion disorder. Dense phobia is similar. The densely appearing pictures of objects widely spread on the Internet and the sharing of details of such pictures may form a collective psychological suggestion, which will make some people who do not have trypophobia be affected by this. This kind of atmosphere is contagious.
So, how can we cure trypophobia?
First of all, it should be clear that if the trypophobia is so serious that it affects your life, you should seek medical attention in time. If the symptoms are mild, we can give ourselves some positive psychological cues in life, increase courage, and tell ourselves that this is not terrible and that it is not dangerous. At the same time, you can also perform some desensitization training, according to your own degree of adaptation, repeatedly expose yourself to the environment where objects are densely appearing, in order to subside conditioned reflexes.