Triskaidekaphobia is the extreme and irrational fear of the number 13. This phobia is most common among Westerners. Like the number 4 for people of East Asian cultures, the number 13 can be seen as extremely unlucky and is thus used as little as possible in many public places. In buildings, for example, there are no 13th floors, nor are there 13 stalls in horseracing stables. While a mild fear stemming from superstition is reasonable for children, when adults harbor such beliefs they may very well have a genuine disorder. Unlike having a reasonable fear, triskaidekaphobics are afraid of the number 13 to the point that their ability to lead normal lives is rendered nearly impossible.

Symptoms of Triskaidekaphobia

Identifying triskaidekaphobia may be easy. Like other mental disorders, if the sufferer begins to exhibit the following symptoms when presented with the source of fear, he or she may very well have triskaidekaphobia. Some of these symptoms are:

  • Feelings of dread or panic
  • Automatic or uncontrollable reactions
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trembling
  • Extreme avoidance

Causes of Triskaidekaphobia

Like other phobias, there is no universally specific cause. Rather, various unique and specific troubling experiences are to blame for the disorder. Triskaidekaphobia may be the result of superstitious parenting or lack of parenting altogether. Still, like other phobias and psychological disorders, it may be concomitant with bipolar disorder. It is important to ensure that the root of triskaidekaphobia is identified, for extreme cases of superstitious fears are not generally thought of as normal for a psychologically-sound adult.

Treatment of Triskaidekaphobia

Like many phobias, treatment for the disorder is usually best left to a mental health practitioner. The goal of any such expert is to first target the initial inciting factor that caused the person’s irrational and extreme fear. The patient and therapist talk about why the fear unfounded, how they can come to terms with any traumatic experiences that caused the phobia, as well as ways to deal with the symptoms of the condition. This type of therapy is usually very effective, with a vast majority of patients completely overcoming or successfully coping with triskaidekaphobia symptom-free for years, if not for the remainder of their lives.

Some therapists opt to use cognitive behavioral therapy. With this type of treatment, the patient meets with the therapist, and in a systematic and gradual progression, confronts the source of the fear while learning to control the physical and mental reactions to it. By facing the phobia head on, the patient becomes accustomed to it and thus ultimately realizes that his or her initial fears were not grounded in real or imminent danger.

If you are searching for help with triskaidekaphobia, finding it is quite easy. There are plenty of therapists and peer groups willing to help not only with the disorder but also the psychological difficulties attendant with it. If self-help is not working, do not hesitate to reach out to these resources for support.

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