Why Do Some People Have Fear Of Buttons? Symptoms & Treatment

Fear of buttons in medical terminology is known as koumpounophobia. Although a rare phenomenon this type of fear does exist in some people. Fear of button occurs in ten out of one million people. A person suffering from this condition has fear of buttons present in clothes or anywhere else. Even the sight of button can cause anxiety and nervousness. Some people having this fear may feel panicky even when they think about buttons. Famous personalities like Steve Jobs had fear of buttons.

The word koumpounophobia is derived from Latin and Greek word.

The meaning of word Koumpouno in Latin is button whereas Phobia is a Greek word for fear. Usually a person experiencing fear of button also has fear for round or circular objects and this may also include fear for holes. Many people do not take treatment because they feel embarrassed to talk of their fear. However, with proper behavior therapy, hypnotherapy etc most people overcome koumpounophobia.

What Are The Causes Of Fear Of Buttons?

Fear of buttons is a type of phobia for specific object. There are several reasons for such phobias.

  • Genetic predisposition is strongly responsible for relentless fear for buttons.
    A person having someone in family suffering from this abnormal fear for button has increased risk of developing koumpounophobia. According to an estimate at least 25 to 60 percent of specific phobias have a genetic background.
  • The irrigational fear of buttons is often related to traumatic experience of childhood. Certain event may have triggered fear for button during childhood. For example during childhood, the person may have inhaled or swallowed a button. This even may have lead to lifelong fear for buttons. The child may have found difficult to button his shirt or trouser and for this reason he may have been teased by his peers.
    This event may have put a permanent negative impression for buttons in a person leading to fear for buttons.
  • Sometimes button phobia may crop up from listening to someone else having fear for buttons.
  • The trigger for button phobia might have originated during childhood as a result of abuse or neglect by someone who is wearing buttoned clothes.
  • A person may avoid buttons throughout life when he has been told during childhood days that old buttons are dirty.

Symptoms Of Button Phobia

Person having phobia for button cannot withstand even the sight or touch of it. In its severe form the person may even try to avoid speaking about button. There may be different button phobias. For example some people may be fearful to large sized button while some may be fear button of any size. Some may fear plastic buttons while few others may have phobia of metallic buttons.

People with phobia of button may display following symptoms:

  • Person may refuse to participate in social gatherings or in weddings where people wear suits and coats having button.
  • Person feels extremely anxious and uncomfortable with sight and touch of buttons.
  • Many people having button phobia feel sick merely at seeing buttons.
  • Person having fear of buttons always wears clothes that do not have buttons.
  • In extreme cases a person may even become fearful to write down the word ‘button’ or speak the word loudly.

How To Overcome Fear Of Buttons?

Many people suffering from fear for buttons do not reveal it to anyone just because they feel it as something very embarrassing. However, as with all phobias, there are several ways that can help the patient to overcome such abnormal fear.

  • Person having fear for buttons must talk with his dear and near one as well as his close associates. This way it will help him to rationalize his fear. Friends and family members must support such person. They must not tease or bully him.
  • Behavior therapy is beneficial as it helps to change the negative stance to positive one. The person can take help of a counselor or a psychiatrist.
  • Desensitization is another way to wade off fear of buttons. In this the person is exposed intentionally to objects that he fears. In this case it is buttons or holes or any circular object. Frequent exposure makes him desensitized to buttons. It is a good way to deal with koumpounophobia.
  • Hypnotherapy can also help a person suffering from fright from buttons.
  • In severe a case that is affecting daily routine of a person, the doctor may prescribe anti depressant medicines to curtail such fright.