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What is Chaetophobia?

written by: Rene Wolf • edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick • updated: 11/24/2010

Chaetophobia is the overwhelming and intense fear of hair. The level of fear can range from a single hair to a hairy family pet. Symptoms can include panic attacks, nausea, dizziness, irregular heartbeat and other physical discomforts.

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    Chaetophobia is the term used for an intense fear of hair. Someone with Chaetophobia will experience such an intense fear of hair, they will often attempt to remove all hair from their bodies, avoid being around someone they think has a lot of hair, and often avoid being around animals because of the hair.

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    Similar Meaning, Different Terms

    Chaetophobia is also sometimes referred to as tricopathophobia ,trichphobia and/or hypertrichophobia. Though they are sometimes grouped together as having the exact same meaning, each does relate to a fear of hair, except in slightly different situations. Trichophobia is more specifically the fear of stray hairs being in clothing, furniture or any item that the person may touch. and trichopathophobia include the fear of hair and hair disease, hypertrichophobia is a fear of hair as well, but also includes hair color and hair growth

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    Causes

    Chaetophobia, like a majority of other phobias, does not have a concrete explanation for the cause of someone to having an intense fear hair and/or hairy people and animals. Chaetophobia is classified as a specific phobia, which means there is an exaggerated fear of a certain situation or object. A specific phobia typically has a specific trigger which initiates the panic in someone. In the case of chaetophobiathe trigger would be any hair related object. This phobia may be the result, of the person experiencing a trauma or life altering situation in which hair was involved. When the person encounters a hair or person with excessive hair, the fear relating to the trauma causes the fear to increase and panic begins. Some people that fear may feel that the hair is dirty and may be related to a fear of germs. Hair may possibly carry bacteria, which may be considered to someone with chaetophobia a reason to fear the hair.

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    Triggers

    A primary trigger for chaetophobia is basically a concern relating to hygiene. When someone has a fear of hair, when they see a single hair on clothing, furniture, themselves or someone else, will most likely be the onset of panic. If a hair is found in their food at a restaurant or at home, it will evoke a negative reaction. When someone with a fear of hair does find a hair in their food, it may lead to them refusing to eat any food items, unless they have prepared the items themselves. People with this phobia will avoid any situation or object where there may possibly be hair, including hair salons, hairbrushes and visiting family or friends that have pets.

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    Symptoms

    The symptoms of chaetophobia vary among those suffering with this phobia. The severity of their symptoms will depend on the level of fear experienced. Typically the symptoms include nausea, dizziness, sweating, nervousness and irregular heartbeat. Symptoms also may include a panic attack if the fear is extreme and overwhelming. The majority of people with chaetophobia realize the fear may result in experiencing a panic attack and they often realize the fear is unwarranted. When the phobia is extreme, the fear and the symptoms will often interfere with the persons lifestyle, including work, family and social interactions, which can become overwhelming, leading to them experiencing more severe symptoms.

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    Treatments

    There are treatment options available for those who are suffering with photophobia. However, treatment for phobias, are meant to treat the symptoms as opposed to the actual diagnosis. Medications will not cure chaetophobia they will only help to deal with the symptoms of anxiety and depression. For more information regarding medications for symptoms of anxiety, please refer to Best Medication for Sufferers of OCD, MDD and Anxiety. Treatment for chaetophobia often includes the use of therapy in combination with medications. Effective therapy for phobias typically include psychotherapy in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to help the person have a better understanding of the phobia and to learn techniques for managing the symptoms. Exposure and response prevention therapy (ERP), a subcategory CBT is often used as a form of phobia treatments as well. ERP will gradually introduce the person to the object of their fear, until they able to overcome the symptoms of the phobia

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    References

    Chaetophobia: the fear of hair http://chaetophobia.com/

    Mayo Clinic: Phobias, Treatments & Drugs http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/phobias/DS00272/DSECTION=treatments-and-drugs