Holes phobia name

Triggers, Causes, Treatment, and More

Trypophobia refers to a strong fear or disgust of closely packed holes. The name, first introduced on a web forum in 2005, combines the Greek words “trypa” (punching or drilling holes) and “phobia” (fear or aversion).

People who have this phobia typically feel queasy, disgusted, and distressed when looking at surfaces that have small holes gathered close together or clustered into a pattern.

Experts don’t yet officially recognize trypophobia as a specific phobia. Studies exploring this phobia remain limited, and existing research hasn’t reached a conclusion on whether to consider trypophobia a unique mental health condition.

That said, there are plenty of anecdotal reports of people experiencing trypophobia.

Read on to learn more about the fear of holes, including potential triggers, causes, and how to get support when it causes extreme distress.

Trypophobia is mainly visual. If you have this phobia, you might feel anxiety, disgust, and discomfort when looking at things like:

  • lotus seed pods
  • honeycombs
  • strawberries
  • coral
  • seeded breads
  • Swiss cheese
  • scabs or lesions on skin
  • aluminum metal foam
  • pomegranates
  • sponges
  • pebbled or graveled roads
  • bubbles
  • condensation
  • cantaloupe
  • a cluster of eyes

Animals with spotted skin or fur — think leopards, Dalmatians, or poison dart frogs — can also prompt revulsion and fear.

Some people with a fear of holes have an aversion to surfaces with irregularly shaped holes only. They may not notice the same level of discomfort when looking at surfaces with holes of the same size, like those in a showerhead or on a fabric patterned with polka dots.

Others might find all closely packed holes uncomfortable and upsetting.

Pictures of trypophobia triggers

If you have trypophobia, you’ll generally notice feelings of disgust and discomfort when looking at an object or surface with small clusters of holes or shapes that resemble holes.

While you might associate phobias with fear, research from 2018 suggests most people with trypophobia experience disgust — not fear — as a primary symptom.

You might also begin to feel disgusted, uncomfortable, or anxious when thinking about something that has this appearance — if, say, your partner begins to tell you how much they love strawberries and you start to visualize the fruit.

Specific symptoms might include:

  • goosebumps, chills, or the sensation of your skin crawling
  • gagging or nausea
  • sweating
  • rapid heartbeat
  • dizziness or lightheadness
  • visual discomfort, including eye strain, distortions, or illusions
  • a general sense of discomfort or distress
  • a strong desire to get away from the image or object
  • feelings of panic or a panic attack
  • shaking or trembling

Scientific evidence has yet to pinpoint a clear cause of trypophobia, but there are a few potential explanations.

Some experts theorize this fear of closely-packed holes may develop as an extension of a biological fear of venomous or otherwise dangerous creatures.

Researchers who analyzed images that produced an anxiety response in people with trypophobia found that high contrast colors in a certain graphic arrangement tended to trigger anxiety, disgust, and other symptoms.

They also found that images of certain highly dangerous animals, including the king cobra, deathstalker scorpion, and blue-ringed octopus, shared certain spectral properties with the trypophobic images. Spectral properties refer to subtle things, like contrast and spatial frequency, that can impact how your eyes and brain take in images.

The fear of holes, then, may be less a fear of holes and more an unconscious association of harmless items (like lotus seed pods) with feared animals (like a blue-ringed octopus) because they share certain spectral features.

In other words, trypophobia may stem from your evolved ability to detect threats in your environment.

Many people with trypophobia also experience a strong aversion to scabs, pockmarks, or other patterns of rashes and skin markings, leading some experts to link this phobia to another evolutionary response: the drive to avoid germs or contagious skin conditions or illnesses.

Other experts aren’t so sure

In one 2017 study involving 94 preschoolers, who typically don’t have the same fear of snakes and spiders as older children and adults, researchers showed 4-year-olds several sets of images:

  • trypophobic images featuring small holes
  • images and line drawings of venomous animals
  • images and line drawings of nonvenomous animals

According to the results, children who experienced distress when looking at trypophobic images also experienced distress when looking at color images of venomous animals — but not when looking at the line drawings of the same animals.

Study authors believe these results support the idea that trypophobia relates only to the unique spectral characteristics shared by certain animals and clusters or patterns of holes, rather than an unconscious fear of dangerous creatures. They do, however, note the need for more research exploring the fear of holes.

Again, research on trypophobia remains in the early stages, so experts aren’t yet certain exactly what factors can increase your chances of developing a fear of holes.

That said, it’s not uncommon for a phobia to begin after an unpleasant or distressing event with the object of the phobia.

Based on the potential causes of trypophobia, it’s possible your aversion could begin after an encounter with a venomous snake, exposure to a contagious skin condition, or another trypophobia trigger.

One 2017 study found a possible link between trypophobia and major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Study authors surveyed 195 adult members of a trypophobia support group and found that:

  • 19 percent of participants had a diagnosis of major depression, and an additional 8.7 percent believed they could have major depression
  • 17.4 percent of participants had a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder, while an additional 11. 8 percent believed they could have GAD
  • Many participants reported other mental health diagnoses, including social anxiety (8.2 percent) and panic disorder (6.2 percent)

Research from 2016 also noted a link between social anxiety and trypophobia, suggesting that for people with social anxiety, the fear of holes could in fact be a fear of eyes, or the human gaze. Seeing clusters of holes might provoke the sensation of many pairs of eyes gazing back at you, leading to distress and discomfort.

You also have a higher chance of developing any phobia if you have a family history of anxiety conditions and phobias in particular.

Only mental health professionals can diagnose phobias, like a fear of holes. Since there’s no official diagnosis of trypophobia, a therapist won’t diagnose trypophobia specifically.

All the same, they can certainly recognize when the appearance of clustered holes causes intense distress and offer guidance and support on working through that fear. They may offer a more general diagnosis of specific phobia.

Plus, a therapist can also help identify any other mental health symptoms you live with, including signs of anxiety conditions or depression, by asking questions about:

  • the symptoms you experience
  • the things that trigger them
  • how they affect your daily life

Learn more about what therapy involves.

Support from a mental health professional can go a long way toward helping ease symptoms of trypophobia.

Potential approaches to treatment might include:


A few different types of therapy can help treat phobias, including exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT):

  • Exposure therapy. This approach allows you to begin facing your fear in the safe environment of therapy so you can learn — with a therapist’s support — to change your response to the object or situation causing your fear. Experts generally consider exposure therapy the most effective approach for phobias.
  • CBT. This approach teaches strategies to help identify, challenge, and reframe unwanted thoughts and distressing feelings. CBT techniques can help you learn to manage overwhelming emotions, including feelings of anxiety and fear.

Learn more about therapy for phobias and when to reach out.


No medication specifically treats trypophobia symptoms, but a psychiatrist or other prescribing clinician might recommend medication if you experience:

  • extreme feelings of anxiety or panic in certain situations
  • anxiety overwhelming enough to get in the way of everyday life or keep you from making progress in therapy
  • symptoms that don’t improve with therapy alone

Medication options for specific phobias might include:

  • benzodiazepines
  • beta-blockers
  • antidepressants
  • buspirone

Learn more about medication for anxiety.

Other approaches

Your therapist might also recommend other strategies to help you manage anxiety and emotional distress. These might include:

  • relaxation techniques, including deep breathing, yoga, and meditation
  • spending time in nature and other calming environments
  • mindful breathing, observation, listening, and other mindfulness tricks to help cope with stress
  • taking time for hobbies and enjoyable activities

While taking care of your physical health may not address your phobia directly, good self-care can go a long way toward helping you feel more able to manage anxiety and other symptoms.

A few tips that may help:

  • Aim to get around 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Eat a balanced diet and limit foods that can trigger anxiety.
  • Get regular physical activity, if you’re able — exercise can help ease anxiety and depression symptoms.
  • Limit caffeine, especially if you’re sensitive to its effects, since it could worsen anxiety symptoms.
  • Reach out to friends and family to talk through your feelings.
  • Find a support group to connect with other people living with the same symptoms.

Here’s how to create a personalized self-care checklist.

In search of a therapist?

If you’d like to try online therapy, our review of the best online therapy options can help you start your search for the right teletherapy service for your needs.

Experts may not yet recognize the fear of holes as an official phobia, but that doesn’t mean your symptoms aren’t real.

If your symptoms cause emotional distress and affect your daily life, talking with a mental health professional is a good next step. They can help you explore possible causes, triggers, and helpful strategies to manage anxiety, disgust, and other unwanted emotions related to trypophobia.

Triggers, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Written by Stephanie Watson

In this Article

  • What Is Trypophobia?
  • Is Trypophobia a Real Phobia?
  • Trypophobia Symptoms
  • Trypophobia Triggers
  • Trypophobia Causes
  • Trypophobia Risk Factors
  • Trypophobia Diagnosis
  • Trypophobia Treatment
  • Trypophobia Outlook

What Is Trypophobia?

Does the sight of a honeycomb, sea sponges, or soap bubbles make you shaky and sick to your stomach? You could have trypophobia, a fear of holes.

The name for this problem comes from the Greek words "trypta," which means hole, and "phobos," which means fear. But the term doesn't date back to ancient Greece. "Trypophobia" reportedly first appeared on a web forum in 2005.

It's one of many fears of harmless things, like chaetophobia, a fear of hair, or microphobia, a fear of small things.

People with trypophobia have a strong physical and emotional reaction whenever they see patterns made up of holes or spots. The bigger the cluster of circles, the more uncomfortable they feel.

Is Trypophobia a Real Phobia?

True phobias are those that cause enough fear and worry to interfere with your everyday routine, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Trypophobia doesn't meet that standard.

The APA doesn’t officially recognize this disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5), a large volume of all known mental illnesses and their symptoms. Experts say trypophobia is more likely disgust than fear.

Trypophobia Symptoms

The symptoms of trypophobia look a lot like a panic attack. You might have:

  • Nausea
  • Shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Itching, goosebumps, or a feeling like your skin is crawling

People with trypophobia may get these symptoms several times a week or every day. Sometimes, the fear of holes never goes away.

Trypophobia Triggers

Common things that can trigger trypophobia include:

  • Holes or pebbles in concrete
  • Air holes in a slice of bread
  • Patterns in the frosting of a cake or pie
  • The head of a lotus flower
  • The holes in an old hockey mask
  • Skin problems like sores, scars, and spots
  • Spotted animals
  • Shower heads
  • LEDs in traffic lights

Trypophobia Causes

Researchers have a few ideas about what causes trypophobia.

The powerful reaction might be a way to protect yourself from danger. Some of the most poisonous animals on the planet -- like the king cobra, puffer fish, and poison dart frog -- have hole-like patterns on their skin. Those patterns are like the ones that bother people who have trypophobia.

Deadly diseases such as measles and smallpox cause circular skin rashes. Trypophobia could be a reaction that humans have developed to avoid getting sick.

It's also possible that the images themselves trigger fear. Some people may be more sensitive to the mix of light and dark in pictures of holes. Researchers say that hole-like patterns have a type of visual energy that can cause an unpleasant reaction.

Other researchers believe that the fear comes from social anxiety. Circles look a little bit like clusters of eyes or faces staring at you, which can be upsetting if you get nervous in social settings.

Trypophobia Risk Factors

Trypophobia is more common in women than in men. It also runs in families. In one study, about 25% of people who had trypophobia also had a close relative with the condition.

Some people who are afraid of hole patterns also have other mental disorders, such as:

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

Trypophobia Diagnosis

Doctors don't know a lot about trypophobia, and it can be hard to diagnose. A psychologist or primary care doctor will ask about your symptoms and how they affect your everyday life.

One group of researchers created a list of 17 questions called the trypophobia questionnaire. It asks people to rate symptoms like anxiety or fear on a scale from 1 ("Not at all") to 5 ("Extremely") when they see pictures of holes.

A few self-tests are available online, including the Implicit Trypophobia Measure 0.5a. Before you click on one of these tests, remember that they could include images that are disturbing, even to people who don't have trypophobia.

Trypophobia Treatment

Because trypophobia isn't a true disorder, there’s no set treatment for it. Some studies show that an antidepressant like sertraline (Zoloft) plus a type of talk therapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) are helpful. CBT tries to change the negative ideas that cause fear or stress.

Trypophobia Outlook

If circular patterns bother you, it can help to talk with other people who share your fear. They might have some suggestions for ways you can manage trypophobia. Ask your doctor, or look online for support groups.

what is the name of the phobia of small holes on the body, trypophobia, fear of pimples, corals, honeycombs, pores

There are fears in the life of every person - this is a natural defensive reaction of the body that helps to avoid danger. Some people are afraid of the dark, closed or open space, others are afraid of animals or insects. Among the huge number of all kinds of fears, there is also a fear of holes - this is an extremely rare fear that brings serious discomfort to a person's life.


  1. What is the name of phobia, when you are afraid of holes
  2. Fear of holes and holes on the body
  3. Fear of a large accumulation of holes
  4. phobias of cluster holes
  5. varieties of forms of disease
  6. , there is fear of
  7. , how the phobia is manifested
  8. Common signs
  9. How to deal with trypophobia
  10. Types and methods of treatment
  11. Conclusion

What is the name of the phobia when you are afraid of holes

The fear of holes and holes is called "trypophobia" . This is one of the "youngest" phobias, which was identified at the beginning of the XXI century. This is a mental disorder that does not allow a person to normally, adequately assess a certain situation.

Phobia of holes is expressed in a panic fear of a large number of holes and holes located next to each other. At the same time, a trypophobe can be afraid of both all existing holes and a certain variety of them - for example, on honeycombs. nine0003

Fear of holes and holes in the body

Phobia of holes has several varieties depending on the object of panic fear . One form of phobic disorder is the fear of holes in the body.

Discomfort and uncontrollable, irrational fear in a person causes a large number of closely spaced holes and pimples located on the skin of a person or animal. Very often, even the pores on your own body become the cause of fear. nine0003

Objects of fear of trypophobe :

  • scars, scars on the skin;
  • pricks in the ears or navel;
  • pimples, acne;
  • enlarged pores.

At the sight of the objects of one's fear, a person is seized with strong disgust , the fear of contracting some dangerous disease. He literally falls into a state of "stupor" - his breathing slows down, he turns pale, tries to hide from the object of his fear as quickly as possible.

Fear of a large cluster of holes

Phobia of holes manifests itself when a large cluster of holes is seen on a person, animal or certain object.

Common objects of uncontrollable, panic fear :

  • honeycombs;
  • corals;
  • ripe lotus pods;
  • Dutch cheese;
  • coffee foam;
  • bubbles in yeast dough;
  • aerated chocolate;
  • pasta. nine0008

Panic attacks can also be triggered by some household items , such as bath sponges or dish sponges. A person suffering from trypophobia cannot use such products.

Cluster hole phobia

Cluster hole phobia is a phobic disorder that manifests itself during eye contact with an accumulation of multiple holes or honeycomb structures. Cluster holes look like rhythmically repeating small holes or patterns. nine0003

A person intuitively compares these objects with dangerous and contagious ulcers that may appear on his body. This causes panic. To many, this feeling seems ridiculous, but for a person suffering from trypophobia, such contact can result in loss of consciousness, a heart attack or a stroke.

Varieties of forms of the disease

Trypophobia has several varieties and stages depending on the stage of the disorder:

  • mild form - eye contact with the holes is accompanied by anxiety, nervousness, irritability;
  • medium form - the disorder is accompanied by nausea, trembling in the arms and legs, skin rashes;
  • severe form - it is characterized by severe headaches, dizziness, loss of consciousness, suffocation.

The cause of a panic attack can be either a living object or an object covered with holes or having a pimply surface. Inflammation and rashes on the skin - acne, acne, enlarged pores, scars, scars can also provoke an attack of fear. nine0003

Why there is a fear of holes and holes

To date, the exact reason why the fear of holes develops has not been finally established.

Doctors identify a number of factors that can trigger the development of a phobic disorder :

  1. Hereditary predisposition - the risk of developing a phobia in a child is significantly increased if parents or close relatives suffered from them.
  2. Parental overprotection - thanks to this, the child loses touch with the real world and begins to be afraid of elementary things.
  3. Children's mental trauma - a strong fright in childhood can cause the development of various phobias.
  4. Mental illness , mental retardation.
  5. A person's inability to adapt to the current situation.

Many doctors agree that the fear of many holes is transmitted to a person from of his distant ancestors. They associated numerous holes with predatory animals, poisonous reptiles and insects dangerous to human life. It is this instinct of self-preservation, which protects a person from contact with honeycombs or anthills, in some cases also manifests itself in modern people, called trypophobia.

How hole phobia manifests itself

Fear of holes, like any phobia, is accompanied by panic attacks , heart palpitations, and a significant increase in blood pressure. nine0003

Adrenal glands begin to intensively produce stress hormones . This negatively affects the cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems and can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

A constant feeling of uncontrollable fear significantly worsens the quality of life of a person , negatively affects his communication with other people and professional activities. He becomes less active in society, tries to hide from everyone and avoid any contact. nine0003

Common signs

Fear of holes manifests itself upon contact with the object of trypophobia. Main symptoms of the disorder :

  1. Difficulty breathing , sensation of suffocation.
  2. Nervous tic , trembling in hands and feet.
  3. Sharp increase in blood pressure , rapid heartbeat.
  4. Attack of nausea , vomiting.
  5. Skin rashes , redness accompanied by itching and burning. nine0008
  6. Severe headache dizziness.
  7. Anxiety , nervous excitability.
  8. Loss of coordination , loss of consciousness.

Over time, the symptoms of anxiety become more pronounced and should not be ignored. To get rid of the manifestations of trypophobia, seek the help of a psychologist or psychotherapist.

How to deal with trypophobia

Treatment of trypophobia is carried out under the supervision of a psychologist or psychotherapist . The specialist necessarily collects an anamnesis in order to establish the cause of the phobic disorder. To obtain a positive result, drug therapy is combined with psychotherapy methods.

Types and methods of treatment

Treatment of trypophobia is selected on an individual basis , it depends on the severity of the disorder, age and living conditions of the person. To get rid of panic attacks, medications are used that are combined with psychotherapy methods. nine0003

Drug therapy is carried out with the following drugs :

  • anticonvulsants;
  • antidepressants;
  • anti-anxiety preparations;
  • tranquilizers - most often benzodiazepines.

Also, a patient suffering from trypophobia is prescribed beta-blockers - drugs that reduce the negative impact of a large amount of adrenaline and stress hormones on the nervous and cardiovascular systems. nine0003

Psychotherapy includes individual or group sessions with a psychologist. Effective psychotherapeutic methods :

  1. Demonstration of images (exposure therapy) - the patient is shown pleasant images on paper, alternating them with photographs of the object of fear.
  2. Breathing exercises - helps a person to escape from panic feelings, to relax.
  3. Visualization of fear - demonstration of objects with holes, convincing the patient that they do not pose any danger to him. nine0008
  4. Hyptotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.


No person is immune from the feeling of fear. Fear at the moment of approaching danger is inherent in all people. But if it turns into uncontrollable panic, accompanied by palpitations, dizziness and trembling, be sure to turn to a psychotherapist.

The specialist will help you choose the best correction method and restore psychological balance.

American psychologists have found out where trypophobia comes from

If you don't know what trypophobia is, you can only be envied. However, since you have opened this article, it will not be long to envy. A team of American researchers led by Professor Stella Lorenzo conducted experiments on their own students and found out that the prevailing ideas about the causes of this phobia are not entirely true and everything is much more interesting than previously thought. nine0003

Trypophobia is not a fear of a psychedelic experience, as one might think from the name, but a desperate horror at the sight of the so-called "cluster holes". "Cluster holes" refers to clusters of bumps and holes on a surface, especially when it comes to biological materials like leather, wood, or even honeycombs.

It is enough to look at the harmless lotus fruit to understand that everyone has trypophobia to some extent. In itself, such a spectacle causes vague anxiety and disgust. In rare cases, it can even cause a panic attack or even a catatonic stupor. nine0003

Most people need to witness something extremely sickening, like the sight of larvae scuttling around in a raccoon down the road, for a full trypophobic experience. However, it is enough to be especially impressionable to see something only vaguely reminiscent of cluster holes. For example, coffee foam, insect eye or even pasta.

At the same time, any or almost any person, one way or another, has an innate trypophobia. This means that it works at the level of the species instinct and unpleasant sensations can be considered the norm. But until that moment, it was not very clear where exactly this fear comes from in us. nine0003

It was previously believed that trypophobia is an atavism inherited from our ancestors who lived in a tropical climate. The fear of many holes, in theory, was supposed to warn primates about the possible presence of spiders, snakes and dangerous insects. Irrational horror scares us away from frivolously sticking our fingers into something like this and makes us run away from it.

In fact, an experiment conducted by Stella Lorenzo at the American Emory University suggests that things are somewhat different. The mechanism of trypophobia works in a very peculiar way and its origin is more curious than a simple fear of spiders. nine0003

A group of 41 students was assembled for the study. They were shown various “creepy” (from the point of view of our inner monkey, of course) pictures: photos of snakes, spiders and other unpleasant creatures, as well as images that could cause panic in a trypophobe. Along the way, the pulse, pressure were measured, the movement and change in the size of the pupils were monitored. All this was necessary in order to find out the reaction of the experimental subjects.

An interesting detail came to light: in fact, trypophobia is not even a phobia at all. Rather, it can be called an extreme degree of disgust. Trypophobes do not experience fear in the conventional sense, but something in its own way the opposite. nine0003

We have a self-protection mechanism. Frightened by something potentially dangerous, we immediately experience an increase in strength: the pupils dilate, blood rushes into the muscles, the heart begins to pound furiously, adrenaline is produced. In general, all that is required to immediately rush into the run and along the way yell like a madman to warn his fellow tribesmen. This is how a person would react to a lion running at him.

Approximately the same way he will react to a snake and a spider: scream and run as fast as he can. But trypophobic images evoke a very different picture. The pupils constrict, the pulse slows down, the person falls into a kind of stupor. This is not horror, but pure icy disgust, after which some have a desire to wash. nine0003

And this is no accident. Stella Lorenzo concludes that trypophobia is also a defensive reaction, only not to predators, but to a possible source of infection.

Learn more