Fear of buttons is not unusual > A distressed caller yesterday reminded us of one of the more unusual but sadly common phobias – koumpounophobia. If you are none the wiser, you certainly need to be a good at spelling to suffer from what is the fear of buttons.
It sounds harmless and strange that such a small and harmless object could cause fear, but suffers have an uncontrolled brain response to buttons in the same way dangerous stimuli are perceived in others. The phobia can be aroused from any type of button, or only by specific types or sizes. Indeed, we even have omphalophobiacs among our clients (fear of belly buttons). Button phobias also cause different reactions, with some suffers not want to touch or be near people wearing buttons, while others choose just not to wear buttons themselves.
There are many cases where people with Koumpounophobia have a fear of inhaling and choking on buttons and in serious cases this can cause extreme fear such as sweating, shaking, vomiting, increased heart rate, and hyperventilating.
Fortunately, though most people with this condition – like yesterday’s caller – do not know when they began to fear buttons or understand the cause of their fear, it is easily treated using hypnotherapy in the same way as other phobias. (N.B. To be fair there are other therapies though we are not an advocate of aversion therapy that involves exposing sufferers to their fears in order to teach the body to respond differently. An example of this approach is Bristol Zoo, which claims to help people who are scared of spiders by allowing them to crawl over suffers hands).
Though treatment is easy, sadly most suffers never seek help as they are convinced that they are the only ones in the world to suffer from such a strange fear. They are often teased or taunted by people who do not believe that they are telling the truth. Only when the phobia becomes uncontrollable is help sought, and, indeed Tonic helped one sufferer who vomited at the very sight of a button.
So today’s Posting is simply to bring the problem into the open so that sufferers know they are not alone and that treatment is available. With this objective in mind it would be helpful if sufferers use this Forum to share their experiences. Please tell us how your life has been affected by button phobia and what, if anything, you have done about it