What is Diplophobia?

Diplophobia is the extreme and irrational fear of double vision. Those who have had periods of double vision may be concerned with the return of the condition, but phobics will take this concern to absurd extremes. In extreme cases, phobic sufferers may avoid brightly lit areas, reading, or anything that calls for concentrated use of vision.

Children are warned in a joking way that if they make funny faces or cross their eyes then their faces/eyes will stay that way forever. The Diplophobe may take this warning seriously, even as an adult.

Diplophobia is considered a specific phobia and the term comes from the root word 'diplo', which is Greek meaning 'double' 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 Diplophobia

  • 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 Diplophobia

Diplophobia 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.

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

Alcohol and some drugs may cause periods of double vision and generate a strong fear—one which may be self-reinforcing—if the sufferer is an addict.

Double vision can be an sign that something may be seriously medically wrong such as a stroke, aneurysm, or brain tumor. Someone who has a medical history of any of these problems may develop this phobia because they see it as a potential cause of sudden death, but medical history is not required for the formation of the phobia.

Learn more about the causes of phobias ›

Treatments for Diplophobia

  • 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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