Fear of numbers – Numerophobia or Arithmophobia. It is the exaggerated, constant, and often irrational fear of numbers. Arithmophobia and Numerophobia have Latin / Greek origins, where the root word means numbers, and photos are Greek for “deep aversion or fear.” Many people around the world fear numbers. Some may specifically fear numbers like 13 (Triskaidekaphobia), 666 (Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia), or 8 (Octophobia) that are typically associated with Bad Luck evil spirits, etc. These phobias often have cultural or religious roots exacerbated by the media and folklore.
However, an Arithmophobic (or Numerophobic) individual can fear numbers and incredibly complex mathematical calculations. The mere idea of solving a complicated arithmetic equation at school or doing math in everyday life could cause a person to panic. Needles to say, the fear of numbers can put many restrictions on the phobic’s life and can even affect their standard of living. You are often embarrassed to admit the problem causing one to withdraw socially.
You might also like to read: Fear Of Buttons: Causes, Symptoms, Overcoming.
Causes of fear of numbers
- Many experts believe that the fear of numbers could have roots in the universal beginnings when man began to keep time, calendars, and use number systems. The early Egyptians, for example, were the first to measure time using the solar calendar.
- Other cultures marked seasons and days based on lunar calendars.
- The concept of zero was given by the Hindu scholar Aryabhatta.
- This resulted in the fact that the numbers are infinite and endless. Little by little, with sophisticated learning systems, man began to keep time in observations of celestial phenomena and numerical calculations and chronology.
- This emphasized that numbers and time were complex, unknown, variable, and often challenging.
Like other phobias have their origin in traumatic events, the root cause of arithmophobia can also lie in a negative experience in the past.
- Failing or performing poorly in math in school can lead to a permanent fear of numbers.
- Being teased, spanked, scolded, and bullied for not doing well on the math test could trigger Numerophobia.
- Parents can unknowingly instill fear of numbers in children. Statements like, “Math is hard. You will fail if you don’t study,” can also make a child fear numbers.
Hereditary, genetic, and chemical factors in the brain can sometimes lead to this phobia.
- Also, as already stated, specific number phobias, such as fear of the number 13 or 666, etc., can be fueled by cultural or religious beliefs or even by TV shows and movies about them.
Symptoms of nomophobia
Typical symptoms of Numerophobia include:
- Avoidance behavior- A child with Numerophobia may cry or scream at the thought of going to school (Didaskaleinophobia).
- You are often unable to express these fears, leading to a misdiagnosis of the cause of this anxiety.
- Adults with arithmophobia may also try to find ways to avoid numbers. This could affect your career or your personal life.
- They are often ashamed of their problem.
- They could lie or cover up their inability to deal with the problem, leading to strained relationships.
- Some people fear numbers so much that it leads to a full-blown anxiety attack – sweating profusely, wanting to run or hide, having a high heart rate, and breathing rapidly are some signs.
- The phobic also feels detached from reality – they may experience a dry mouth, feel numbness or confusion, or be unable to express their thoughts clearly.
Often, the phobia may be able to work with numbers, but you may experience deep anxiety while doing so.
- Arithmophobia often makes the phobia obsess over numbers.
- Finding numbers on the calendar or the phone (or in notes with dates on them) can overwhelm the phobia.
- I was shopping at grocery stores where one has to add up the prices of items, or tipping at restaurants can be difficult for phobics.
- Many therapies are available today to help you overcome your fear of numbers.
- These are fast and reliable methods that include drugs and psychotherapy.
- Of course, medications are the last line of treatment, as they are habit-forming and fraught with side effects.
- However, in extreme anxiety that is affecting school or work life, mild antidepressants can help.
- Naturally, the goal of such treatment should be to slowly reduce dependence on the medication and reach a stage where a panic response can be avoided by looking at or thinking of the numbers.
Many treatment options, in particular neurolinguistic programming therapy, can be used to overcome this phobia. This therapy helps to reprogram the brain’s response to numbers and increase confidence while working with them.
Gradual exposure therapy with the help of a trained professional can also help overcome arithmophobia. This includes looking at numbers, thinking about them, and then progressing through solving simple to complex number calculations.
Counseling, talk therapy, and hypnotherapy are other proven remedies for overcoming nomophobia.
Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.