Porphyrophobia: Insight into the Causes, Signs and Symptoms

Porphyrophobia: Insight into the Causes, Signs and Symptoms
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What is Porphyrophobia?

The term porphyrophobia (por-fi-ROH-foh-bee-ah) is a combination of two Greek words, that of porphyra meaning purple and phobia meaning fear.

The fear of the color purple is a valid phobia as listed by the National Institute of Mental Health, but it does appear to be one of the rarer phobias in existence. It affects an estimated 1.2 percent of the forty million Americans who suffer from phobias under the anxiety disorders category of mental health issues. There is a higher estimation of numbers of people with this phobia when listed under the fear of colors, which is known as Chromophobia.

Causes of Porphyrophobia

Currently, there is no known specific cause of porphyrophobia. The development of this fear can vary based on the history of any given individual who is diagnosed with it.

Early childhood traumatic events can be associated with the color purple if the color was something that stuck out in the mind’s memory center. For example, a person could develop this phobia if they were in a traffic accident and the car that ran into them was a shade of purple. In that case, the person may grow up with feelings of anxiety and or panic with any of the color’s shades.

The same can be said of an adult individual who develops porphyrophobia. Any traumatic event that can be associated with the color will contribute to the many of the same feelings and physical reactions as that of any other phobia.

Signs & Symptoms of Porphyrophobia

Since porphyrophobia is listed under the category of anxiety and panic disorders in mental health, many of the same signs and symptoms are similar to those of other phobias. However, there is a unique symptom where some people who suffer from porphyrophobia will have a noticeable physical reaction to seeing the color. For example, they may suddenly backing away from the direction of the color, cry in the presence or they may even faint.

Additional symptoms of porphyrophobia that are shared with other phobias are that they can be physically debilitating. The following is what many people who suffer from this phobia deal with when reacting to the presence of the color purple.

  • Heart palpitations
  • Gasping for air
  • Nausea
  • Uncontrollable emotions
  • Body tremors
  • Loss of consciousness

Some people who are diagnosed with porphyrophobia also suffer with Chromophobia. Sufferers can also have phobias for other specific colors such as Chrysophobia, which is fear of the color orange, but whether or not those with porphyrophobia stay consistent with only the fear of the color purple or it expands to other colors is based on each individual case and the causes that have been determined by their mental health practitioner.

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References: National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine