Fear Of Buttons(Koumpounophobia): Causes, Symptoms, Overcoming

Fear of buttons – Koumpounophobia is a relatively rare phobia, but one that does exist. It is, explained, irrational and persistent fear of buttons (independent or in clothing). People with Koumpounophobia tend to avoid buttoned dresses. The thought, discussion, or sight of buttons can trigger a full-blown anxiety attack. Nearly 1 in 75,000 people are known to experience this phobia.

The word Koumpounophobia is derived from the Latin Koumpouno, which means buttons, and the Greek Phobos which means fear. It is closely related to the fear of round or circular objects or the fear of holes (trypophobia).

You may also be interested in reading: Fear Of Doors: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments.

Causes of fear of buttons

Many factors can trigger the fear of button phobia.

  • As with other irrational fears and phobias, the fear of buttons can also be related to a traumatic or damaging experience in childhood.
  • Specific incidents or events could have triggered the phobia in early childhood, an event that one could not even remember. A British waiter, for example, places a bucket of buttons that fell on his head when he was two years old.
  • Another phobic reported that he is afraid of buttons due to his inability to put them on his clothing. As a result, he was teased and bullied by children at school.
  • Some children may have inhaled or drowned the buttons, causing a permanent fear of the controls.
  • Child abuse or neglect by someone wearing button-down clothing could also trigger the phobia.

The phobia can be evolutionary, just as the fear of all circular objects is.

  • Scientists believe that man has always been afraid of circular objects such as holes, as they resemble skin eruptions or pits containing the unknown.

Symptoms of kumpounophobia

People with this phobia cannot bear the sight, sound, or texture of the buttons. Some are afraid of all kinds of switches, while others prefer metallic ones to plastic ones. Koumpounophobic individuals exhibit different signs and symptoms:

  • Many refuse to attend formal events like weddings or proms as there are other guests wearing tuxedos or button-down coats.
  • They tend to go crazy or lose control at the mere sight of a button.
  • Many reports feel nauseous, upset, or ill from a button encounter.
  • Some people are even afraid of pearls or all kinds of circular objects in general.
  • Not only do they prevent clothing from having them, but they prefer square shapes as much as possible. Many are afraid to buy clothes as it is challenging to get them without buttons.
  • Some people repeatedly wash their hands by touching buttons without knowing it.

In extreme cases, people are even afraid to write the word “buttons” or say it aloud. Discussing the buttons can make them hysterical or cry or scream.

Overcoming the fear of button phobia

The sad part is that many Koumpounophobics are too embarrassed to discuss their phobia. However, there are many effective ways to overcome it:

  • Talk therapy is an integral part of dealing with Koumpounophobia. It can help rationalize fearful thoughts and change them positively to confront the objects of your fear. Family members and friends should support the patient rather than intimidate or tease them.
  • CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and behavior therapy are other effective means of exchanging negative responses for positive ones.
  • Exposure to virtual reality can help patients desensitize themselves to the objects of their fear, in this case, buttons, to overcome Koumpounophobia forever.
  • It is essential to join self-help groups (available online and offline) as these can help one realize that they are not alone.
  • Hypnotherapy is another powerful therapy to get to the bottom of koumpounophobia.
  • If Koumpounophobia affects your daily life, you should consider antidepressant medication as directed by a psychotherapist.

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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.