What Is Trypophobia or Fear of Little Holes? Trypophobia Cures

lotus seed pods

Trypophobia is explained as the phobia or fear of clusters of little holes or bubbles. As bizarre as it sounds, according to estimation, it is found in about 16% of the world’s population. Ever since discovered 12 years ago, people have finally started accepting their phobias out in the open.

The derivation of the term TRYPOPHOBIA was dubbed by the internet users and is a combination of the Greek words for a hole (trypa) and fear (phobos).

Since there haven’t been many studies on Trypobhobia, at present, the American Psychiatric Association’s current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) hasn’t officially declared it as a phobia.

What Triggers Trypophobia?

Anything associated with small holes or bubbles sequenced together can be apt enough to trigger the phobia in a trypophobic person. A few commonly known triggers are:

Strawberry holes
Holes in the Strawberry
  • Honeycombs
  • Pomegranates
  • Bubbles in a cup of coffee
  • Bubbly chocolates
  • Cells (in biology classes)
  • Strawberries
  • lotus seed pods
  • sponge
  • Corals
  • Spotted animals

Things as mere as an image of any of these or a random picture of a cluster of holes may further trigger trypophobia symptoms in a person struggling with the phobia.


When people with trypophobia come across clustered holes, they go through a rollercoaster of emotions. They perceive the holes to be something dangerous and harmful. They get all anxious and sweaty, and their hands and feet start to tremble. However, the symptoms vary from person to person. Some other symptoms of trypophobia are:

  • Discomfort
  • Goosebumps
  • Dizziness
  • Uneasiness
  • Anxiety
  • Increased heart rate
  • Quivering
  • Nausea
  • Breathlessness
  • Illusions
  • Panic attacks
  • Fear of death


If you sense any of these symptoms in you on the sight of clusters of holes or any such similar things, make sure to take help from your psychiatric. Although not officially registered as a real phobia, they will help you with other medical diagnosis and refer to the DSM-5 for reference. Seek help before it gets too harmful for you and starts affecting you in your daily life.

Coping with the phobia:

Due to its unawareness amongst the population, many sufferers were hesitant to express their phobia perceiving that they would be criticized or mocked at. Most of them believed that they alone suffer from such a bizarre problem. Consequently, coping with such a phobia got difficult for the trypophobics pushing them under depression.

However, through the medium of social media, Trypophobia sufferers found a platform to express themselves, and it was then discovered that about 16% of the population across the globe suffers from the same. The social media provided these sufferers with a platform to empathize with their kind of people and let the world know about their common yet unfamiliar condition.

Owing to its increasing awareness, celebrities like Kendall Jenner (a Victoria’s Secret Model) are coming forward to confess their struggles with Trypophobia. Being newly discovered, there hasn’t been much research on Trypophobia to bring light on the right cure for it. However, it is expected to be analyzed and studied in detail well ahead.

What Are The Causes of Trypophobia:

Some people can link their phobia to an event or a happening from their past. Knowing when and how exactly your phobia initiated may help identify its causes and rectify them.

Every person has some reason behind their phobia that differs depending on their past.

Studies show that most people with Trypophobia begin to hallucinate upon seeing little holes. They imagine these little holes to be something very dangerous that could probably harm or more so destroy them. On sight of these holes, their brain creates an illusion of a deadly creature standing before them that triggers the fear in them.

Other Related Studies:

A 2017 study also claims that people who have Trypophobia are most likely to go into acute depression. It could lead to depression disorders such as Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

A lot of its criteria show similarities with those of the Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder as per the DSM-5. Therefore, there have been researches in an attempt to link the two.

Geoff Cole and Arnold Wilkins, two researchers, state that Trypophobia is resulted out of natural repulsion. The little holes are presumed by trypophobics as venomous animals such as snakes and other deadly insects which triggers fear in them. Can et al., another researcher, further argues against the claims of Geoff Cole and Arnold Wilkins.

Cole and Wilkins further state that Trypophobia is also a result of Spatial frequencies imageries. A high amount of energy at low or midrange spatial frequency instigates trypophobic reactions in an individual suffering from Trypophobia.

Studies also claim that these reactions could be a signal for unforeseeable infectious diseases. This research gains support from Kupfer and Le who state Trypophobia as “an overgeneralized aversion towards cluster stimuli that indicates a parasitic and infectious disease threat.” This study is thereby supported by other researchers including, Cole and Wilkins, Martínez-Aguayo, Yamada, and Sasaki.


Being an unpopular phobia, the cure for it is very limited. However, amongst the few, exposure therapy is said to be the most likely treatment for most phobias including Trypophobia.

  1. Exposure Therapy-

This therapy helps us face our fear and not run away from it. Its human tendency to get away from things we fear and stay as far away from it as possible. Likewise, trypophobics do the same; they try to avoid contact with little holes in every possible way. Exposure therapy forces them to imagine themselves in a situation they want to run away from, amidst several small holes and encourages them to stay there, that it’s all in the head. It’s unrealistic. The therapist challenges them to face their fears.

  1. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)-

It deals with changing our mindset. This therapy makes us believe that the fear is what we created in our minds and is unreal. In this therapy, the therapist will help you identify what you associate your fear with, i.e., little holes, in this case, and challenges you to think of it as harmless. It helps to change your perspective of it and manage your fear.

  1. In case the therapies prove unsuccessful, you could opt for anxiety control pills. Though not for long, it will give you temporary relief.
  2. Other ways to aid in curing Trypophobia involve- yoga, physical exercise, breathing exercise, healthy diet or reaching out to a closed one.

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