Chromophobia: The Fear of Colors

Chromophobia is a persistent, irrational fear of, or aversion to, colours (also known as chromatophobia or chrematophobia) and is generally a conditioned response. While clinical colour phobias are uncommon, colours may elicit hormonal reactions and psychological reactions.

Chromophobia is a word derived from two Greek words, namely Chromos and Phobos, which mean colour and deep aversion or fear. So, when we conclude that someone is a Chromatophobe, it typically means they prefer not to be around some specific colours.

Some sufferers can only fear certain shades of colour, such as red, for instance, and as it is suggestive of blood, abuse or death, many are known to fear this colour. In other cases, the phobia might be the fear of all available bright colours.

Day-to-day life can be difficult for such people, as the sight and appearance of particular colours can cause anxiety or panic attack. There are also debilitating effects that people with the fear of colours appear to experience, which we will review shortly. In some situations, some people with the fear of colours are also unable to hold down employment or even have steady relationships.

Going outside can, for fear of encountering the despised colours, become a daunting task for them. People with such a phobia typically avoid locations such as Las Vegas with their brightly coloured lights. Among celebrities with Chromatophobia, a common name is Billy Bob Thornton.

Here are numerous names associated with unique colours for phobias:

  • Fear of blue: Cyanophobia
  • Fear of orange: Chrysophobia
  • Fear of black: Melanophobia
  • Fear of green: Prasinophobia
  • Fear of pink: Rhodophobia
  • Fear of white: Leukophobia
  • Fear of yellow: Xanthophobia
  • Fear of brown: Kastanophobia
  • Fear of purple: Porphyrophobia

Causes of Chromophobia

Chromatophobia is a common cause of post-traumatic stress disorder. A childhood occurrence may lead to lifelong emotional wounds associated with those colours or shades that can not be outgrown by the phobic.

Things such as child abuse, robbery, death, injuries or aggression may all be linked to a specific colour that panics or becomes nervous in the presence of the phobic.

The fear of colours stems from cultural origins as another source. For particular colours, some cultures have essential meanings that can have a negative phobic connotation. For instance, the west treats some colours as alien, corrupting or superficial.

The intense fear or disdain for specific colours can, in most instances, spring from classical conditioning. There are certain colours that people with Chromatophobia assume are unpleasant.

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For example, old and mouldy cheese has a pale, sickly colour linked with germs and disease. Chromatophobia may also be caused by brain chemistry, heredity, some deficiencies, current phobias.

Symptoms of Chromophobia

Depending on the degree of anxiety, the signs and symptoms of the fear of colour differ from person to person. Common symptoms are as follows:

  • Extreme panic attack or anxiety
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Profuse sweating
  • Nausea
  • Shivering, shaking, and trembling
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Inability to speak or deliver coherent sentences

The phobics can also demonstrate agoraphobia or fear of leaving one’s home. Because of isolation, they may suffer from depression that stems from the inability to establish friendships. These self-limiting habits in school and at work can impact one ‘s performance.

Treatment for Chromophobia

The easiest thing to do to resolve the fear of colours is to incorporate therapies that have been shown to help overcome several kinds of phobias, such as hypnotherapy, psychotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming.

Drugs can also be used to ease anxiety, although they appear to have side effects that can be very crippling.

  • Cognitive Therapies such as the Changing Limiting Beliefs (CLB) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) programs have been developed to address the symptoms of Chromophobia. Such forms of therapy are sometimes referred to as ‘directive’, or ‘short’ treatments which aim to concentrate on the ‘now’ happens rather than ‘past experiences.’

    A large body of scientific evidence backs the link between cognition (thought) and behaviour (emotions).
  • Psychodynamic interventions such as psychoanalysis are radically different from cognitive methods because they consider that experiences and factors encountered in the individual’s earlier lives will cause a person to suffer in a particular way in later life, or at least “pre-dispose” them.

The purpose of psychodynamic therapy is to help an individual adopt the doctrine of “cause and effect” to discover, understand and overcome these causative problems. The bond between the therapist and the client is viewed as an essential factor in the solution to the issues in these forms of therapy.

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