Looking into a mirror to see our own reflection is something that each of us do several times each day. Whether gazing at our own appearance was intended or not, it happens constantly and almost entirely randomly as there are reflective surfaces all around us. Spectrophobia is a severe fear of mirrors or of reflections, usually of themselves. This phobia may also include an extreme fear of ghosts or spirits.

Common Facts About Spectrophobia

There are many situations in which a spectrophobic person may have a panic attack or experience severe symptoms of anxiety. While these situations may seem routine for most of us, they are common triggers for panic attacks in those dealing with spectrophobia. These situations may involve:

  • Dealing with a situation where there is minimal lighting
  • Being a forest, where symptoms may worsen at night
  • Spending time in a dark room
  • Hearing loud or unexpected noises
  • Catching their own reflection in a mirror
  • Looking at somebody else in a mirror

Since spectrophobia can entail a person’s fear of ghosts, spectres, the unknown, mirrors or their own personal reflection, there are a wide variety of situations in which an afflicted person may be uncomfortable. Without proper treatment, symptoms can gradually worsen over time and begin to negatively affect a person’s physical and mental health. Social life will also be reduced as there will slowly be fewer locations where a spectrophobic person will feel comfortable visiting.

Causes of Spectrophobia

Causes behind spectrophobia depend on the specific fear that the phobia relates to. If a person is suffering from an abnormal fear of mirrors or their own personal reflection, there is likely a underlying fear of self knowledge. These people may be afraid to see what they look like for fear of personal criticism or another fear of exhibitionism. In rare cases, a deep fear of witnessing your personal reflection may also be caused by a displeasure in their own appearance, which is completely psychological and can be traced back to a lack of self-esteem. If a person is suffering from an abnormal fear of ghosts or spirits, which is more commonly referred to as Phasmophobia, there may be a deep underlying fear of the unknown. A fear of ghosts may also relate back to a traumatizing childhood experience or contributing cultural factors that can cause this fear in adulthood.

Symptoms of Spectrophobia

In both cases, sufferers will experience symptoms similar to those that accompany situations of extreme anxiety or panic attacks. A person may feel nauseous or dizzy in stressful situations and be unable to think clearly or even formulate words. Their heart rate will also increase, as will their blood pressure, and they may even desire to, or actually flee, the stressful situation. Luckily, many therapy methods have had proven success in treating spectrophobia.

If spectrophobia is starting to negatively impact your personal life and relationships, it may be time to seek out professional treatment options. A positive internal motivation for change is the most useful tool in overcoming your fear and it is never too late to begin treatment.

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