What is Asymmetriphobia?

Asymmetriphobia might be thought of as 'pattern seeking gone haywire', and is the extreme or irrational fear of asymmetry.

Asymmetriphobics are usually methodical people who tend to need things to be even and ordered. A lop-sided table or an odd number of objects may irritate the person, and in extreme cases, things like doorways or window placements, silverware placements or arrangement of food on plates can be distressing.

There is some evidence that a desire for symmetry is a genetic / hereditary human trait.

The origin of the word 'a' is Greek (meaning no or not), 'sym' is Greek (meaning same), 'metri' is Greek (meaning measure) and 'phobia' is Greek (meaning fear).

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Symptoms of Asymmetriphobia

  • Extreme Anxiety, Dread

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dry Mouth
  • Confusion / Inability to Articulate Clearly
  • Lack of Focus
  • Irritability
  • Shaking
  • Feelings of Powerlessness
  • Obsession with the Subject of the Phobia
  • Fear or Feelings of Losing Control
  • Avoidance Behavior
  • Headaches

Learn more about phobia symptoms ›

Causes of Asymmetriphobia

Those who fear asymmetrical things may lead overly ordered lives, where everything is pleasing to the eye through "symmetrical" or “lined up” appearance. Asymmetriphobia can be a facet of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), as a compulsive need for order may express itself as an irrational fear of disorder.

Asymmetriphobia is more prevalent in those with heightened visual perception. The sufferer will find observed imbalance discomforting.

Asymmetriphobia is a specific (or “isolated”) phobia, centered on non-social key factors. Isolated phobias tend to have some previous trauma (often in childhood and often physically injurious) as a root cause; a fear of bees may stem from an injury in childhood, for instance.

Upbringing can also play a role, such as parental warnings about a direct threat (such as “snakes can bite and kill you”) which is especially notable in cases where a threat is more imminent. (An allergy to bees or peanut butter, for instance, would naturally reinforce a real medical concern.)

It is thought that genetics and hereditary factors may play a role in specific phobias, especially those related to a danger of injury. (A primal “fight or flight” reflex may be more easily triggered in those with a genetic predisposition, for instance.)

By contrast, social phobias (like a fear of body odor or touch) are less well understood, are driven by social anxiety and are broadly labeled as “social anxiety disorder”.

In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation, seeing something in the news, on TV, or in the movies.

Asymmetriphobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.

Learn more about the causes of phobias ›

Treatments for Asymmetriphobia

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

  • Habit Strategies To Relax
  • Cognitive Therapy (CT)
  • In Vivo Exposure
  • Response Prevention
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Energy Psychology
  • Medication
  • Meditation

Learn more about phobia treatments ›

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