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Front Psychiatry. 2018 Feb 9;9:15. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2018.00015. eCollection 2018.

Trypophobia: What Do We Know So Far? A Case Report and Comprehensive Review of the Literature.

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Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad de Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Chile.
Interdisciplinary Centre for Health Studies (CIESAL), Universidad de Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Chile.
Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, University Psychiatric Clinic, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile.
Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.
Biomedical Research Centre (CIB), Faculty of Medicine, Universidad de Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Chile.
Cochrane Centre, Universidad de Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Chile.
Department of Paediatrics, Carlos van Buren Hospital, Valparaíso, Chile.


In this article, we describe the case of a girl who suffers from a phobia to repetitive patterns, known as trypophobia. This condition has not yet been recognised by diagnostic taxonomies such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Trypophobia usually involves an intense and disproportionate fear towards holes, repetitive patterns, protrusions, etc., and, in general, images that present high-contrast energy at low and midrange spatial frequencies. It is commonly accompanied by neurovegetative symptoms. In the case we present here, the patient also suffered from generalised anxiety disorder and was treated with sertraline. After she was diagnosed, she showed symptoms of both fear and disgust towards trypophobic images. After some time following treatment, she only showed disgust towards said images. We finish this case report presenting a comprehensive literature review of the peer reviewed articles we retrieved after an exhaustive search about trypophobia, we discuss how this case report contributes to the understanding of this anxiety disorder, and what questions future studies should address in order to achieve a better understanding of trypophobia.


anxiety disorders; biological evolution; biological mimicry; fear; phobic disorders; trypophobia; visual perception

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