Pediophobia: fear of dolls (causes and symptoms)

There are different types of phobias, and some of them can get really weird.. Hexakosioihexekontahexafobia or fear of the number 666, coulrophobia or fear of clowns or turophobia or fear of cheese, are some examples. Another phobia that may seem strange is pedophobia or fear of dolls.

Dolls are adorable items that remind us of childhood and innocence, but some people may suffer from an irrational fear of these toys which represent the human figure although in smaller dimensions. In the cinema, some films have based their stories around these objects, sometimes demonized or possessed in their scripts.

What is pediophobia

Pediophobia is the irrational fear of dolls, and not just dolls with bad images, but any of them.. In many cases, moreover, pediophobes may also feel a great fear of robots and mannequins. This phobia should not be confused with pedophobia which is the fear of children.

Sigmund Freud believed that this disorder had its origin in the fear that this object would come to life. However, in understanding pediophobia, which is a part of phobic disorders, the behaviorist seems to be more effective, as phobias usually arise from classical conditioning.

A phobia similar to coulrophobia

Like clowns, dolls associate with children and produce various sensations and emotions in us. We usually associate them with fun and endearing moments; and dolls are ideal as a form of entertainment.

But despite this image that we have of clowns and dolls, these characters are also associated with negative and unpleasant images, leading to real panic. Clowns and dolls are also horror figures in the film world and have played the role of murderers in some films. In the case of clowns, reality has surpassed fiction, and John Wayne Gacy is known, the grim case of the killer clown, who disguised himself to commit his crimes.

What causes a phobia

A phobia is an irrational fear of an object, situation or activity, that is, of a phobic stimulus. It is an anxiety disorder that can become very disabling. People with a certain type of phobia usually avoid the phobic stimulus because of the great discomfort it causes them.

Phobias usually develop due to a number of environmental factors, although some experts say genetic predisposition is the determining factor. However, the environmental factors hypothesis carries more weight, and the cause why a person develops a phobic disorder is usually a traumatic experience lived around that stimulus. Usually, this precipitating event occurs in childhood and the phobia appears through associative learning or classical conditioning.

Dolls can also indirectly cause phobia, as in some movies they can represent evil, be possessed or be murderers, but they can also be associated with voodoo and therefore with black magic or witchcraft.

And do many sci-fi movies or novels feature evil or evil dolls for example, Chucky movies, then some kids are terrified of this bad image.

Symptoms of phobia in dolls

People who suffer from this irrational fear of dolls they feel great anxiety or discomfort when they are near them, when they see them on television or when they imagine them. Therefore, fear and panic associated with anxiety are the main symptoms. In addition, like any type of phobia, the person suffering from this disorder avoids the feared stimulus, and performs behaviors so as not to have to expose himself to the source of the discomfort.

Symptoms of phobias are virtually the same for all phobic disorders and are as follows:

  • dry mouth
  • Loss of concentration and disorientation
  • Excessive sweating
  • Intense terror and fear
  • Shortness of breath and hyperventilation
  • catastrophic thought
  • Anxiety and distress
  • Increased heart rate and increased pulse rate
  • intestinal disorders
  • muscle tension
  • Behaviors to avoid the feared stimulus

Treatment of this disorder

Since this disorder can become disabling and cause an intense feeling of discomfort, you need to go to a professional psychologist to be able to overcome. Generally, the psychologist will perform treatment that includes cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, such as systematic desensitization or exposure techniques; however, some professionals also use mindfulness or hypnotherapy.

Without a doubt, systematic desensitization is the most popular technique for overcoming fear of puppets or pediophobia. This technique consists of a slow and progressive exposure to the feared stimulus and promotes in the patient more useful adaptation capacities. For example, the patient may start by looking at photographs of dolls and dolls, reading books, or watching movies about these toys. Once they are able to control this fear in these situations, they may be exposed to the actually dreaded stimulus. In severe cases, treatment may include medication for anxiety, but never as an alternative to psychological therapy.

Some applications to treat phobias

With the inclusion of new technologies in our lives, these not only have recreational use, but they can be used for clinical or psychotherapeutic purposes. In recent years, different applications have helped overcome phobias.

If you suffer from any kind of phobia, our article: “8 applications to manage phobias and fears of your smartphone” may interest you.

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