What is Chaetophobia?

Chaetophobia is an irrational, abnormal and persistent fear of hair or fur. People with this phobia may fear hair of any kind, such as hairy objects, hairy animals and hairy people. Phobics may fear their own hair, or they may fear other people’s hair.

Chaetophobics often believe hair to be “dirty” and the condition is sometimes also related to the fear of germs; hair may have oils, dandruff, lice or fungal infections, etc.

Chaetophobia, also spelled Chaeotophobia, is related to Trichophobia and Trichopathophobia (fear of hair, including hair growth, hair color and hair diseases) as well as Hypertrichophobia (fear of excessive hair on the body).

The root word 'chaeto' is Greek meaning 'flowing hair' and the word 'phobia' comes from the Greek word ‘phóbos’ meaning 'fear.'

If you have this phobia, you most likely have one of these phobias too ›

Symptoms of Chaetophobia

  • 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 Chaetophobia

Chaetophobia 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.

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

Often people suffering from skin conditions, like seborrheic dermatitis, may develop this phobia as their condition may lead to dandruff, itchiness of the scalp and flaking etc.

Learn more about the causes of phobias ›

Treatments for Chaetophobia

  • 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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