Eisoptrophobia, fear of self-reflection: symptoms and what to do

Eisoptrophobia is an irrational fear of seeing one’s own image reflected in a mirror. Specifically, those who suffer from it experience an intense fear of seeing in the somewhat terrifying mirror, such as ghosts, spirits, etc.

Although the person is able to see the irrational and the absurd in their fear, they cannot help but feel it, as it works in most phobias. this aspect it has to do with superstitious thinking, Where it is believed that seeing the image itself reflected in a mirror can lead to something bad, and in the same way if the mirror is broken. Considering the cultural aspect here is important.

Eisoptrophobia is also associated with anxiety disorders with rejection of one’s own image. When we do not have a correct view of ourselves but on the contrary, seeing ourselves reflected in a mirror, we are confronted with everything that causes us the rejection of our own body, becoming something obsessive and which tends to avoid. And on the other hand, it can be part of a more serious mental disorder.

    What is eisoptrophobia? Characteristics

    Who suffers from eisoptrophobia it has the same symptoms that occur in any phobia when we are faced with the dreaded stimulus, In this case, the mirrors, or we expect that we will be. Some of the most common symptoms are:

    • Sweat.
    • Sensation of suffocation and shortness of breath.
    • Tachycardia.
    • Eager to run away and avoid the mirrors.
    • Dizziness and nausea.
    • Intense fear and anxiety.

    Who suffers from it?

    After much scientifically approved research, we can say that phobias are learned and some people are more vulnerable than others to develop them.

    This vulnerability can occur in several ways, one of which, as noted above, it has to do with self-image and concept. In other words, people who have low self-esteem and who focus mainly on their appearance are afraid to look in the mirror because what they see produces very intense feelings of rejection. Avoiding any exposure to it leads to greater and more uncontrollable anxiety.

    On the other hand, all that superstitious thinking about “bad luck” that makes a mirror break, or accidentally break it, and ideas of the kind that a person can see reflect something dreadful or even all, that something. something comes out of the mirror and can hurt him, they can lead to irrational beliefs that cause and maintain the problem.

    How does this harm mental health?

    The consequences of any type of phobia are the limitations that the person suffers from. Everything that surrounds what is dreaded will try to be avoided; in that case, anything to do with mirrors or reflective surfaces.

    Those who suffer from this phobia at home do not have mirrors where they can be seen and will avoid situations where there are mirrors e.g. social situations in restaurants, hairdressers or beauty salons, stores , etc. And the ones you can’t avoid, he will experience them with great discomfort and anxiety.

    These limitations cause the person to reduce their circle of social activity, they can even affect their work, their family and their partner.


    Treatment of eisoptrophobia is aimed at eliminate fear, unlearn what has been learned, and learn other ways to solve the problem.

    The most effective therapeutic proposal today is Exposure therapy. It consists of gradually exposing the person to the feared stimuli, so that they gradually desensitize them, and to equip them with strategies to manage anxiety, as well as to restructure mismatched and irrational thinking.

    like that, self-esteem and self-confidence are regained; in short, you can have control over what is going on, thus removing the limits that the disorder itself causes the person to impose on themselves.

    Bibliographical references:

    • André, Christophe. (2006). Psychology of fear. Fears, anxieties and phobias. Barcelona. Editorial Kairós, 2006.
    • Horse, Vicente. (1998). International Manual of Cognitive and Behavioral Treatments for Psychological Disorders. Pergamum. pages 5-6.
    • Evans, Rand. (1999). Clinical psychology born and raised in controversy. APA Monitor, 30 (11).

    Leave a Comment