Coulrophobia is an irrational fear of clowns, especially painted in classic colors, with an excessively big smile and a white face. The disease occurs most often in childhood but the symptoms persist when the patient grows up.
The disease was first mentioned in the beginning of the 21st century – it indicates a relatively short period of its existence. Fear of clowns began to develop in people after the directors began to include this image in a horror movie. However, it is not the only reason for the occurrence of a pathology.
This phobia is quite widespread today. According to surveys, more than half of the visitors in the circus and about 80% of the children experience aversion.
What causes coulrophobia?
The most common causes of coulrophobia are following:
The influence of cinema is particularly strong because most people watch such movies in the evening before bedtime. It is known that the information obtained before going to bed is stored in the subconscious Hence, an irrational, inexplicable fear appears.
The appearance of clowns
The fear of clowns occurs because, unlike general people, they look different. Here is a feature of the human psyche: a person considers someone ugly and terrifying who looks like him but has any abnormal features. So, a child will consider a man with an unnaturally large smile horrible but the horse that has the fundamental differences in the structure of the body is beautiful.
Unpredictable actions of clowns
People tend to be afraid of those whose actions they can not predict. In addition, the manner of movement of the clown has an impact as well.
Fears can appear as a sign of social phobia. For instance, a person is afraid to take part in the performance and be laughed at. Clowns may ask random visitors to go onstage.
In addition, this phobia may appear as a result of negative life experiences associated with clowns.
Symptoms of coulrophobia
Symptoms of coulrophobia are characterized by the appearance of clinical symptoms such as increased blood pressure, sweating, tremor of limbs, muscle tension, pale skin or hyperemia of the skin. The stress hormone (adrenaline) is released in the body of the patient, which increases muscle reactions and physical abilities.
Psychological symptoms are similar to those that occur in other phobias. When a person seeing clowns, reactions occur such as panic and desire to leave.
If there are no clowns, the disease can be unnoticed. The person may experience some anxiety when he has to visit such places where it is possible to meet clowns but a panic attack, as a rule, does not take place.
Treatment and prevention
In most cases, coulrophobia has no significant impact on the quality of life, so medications are rarely used. Only if the person has to contact the source of fear. Antidepressants and sedatives are used that reduce the level of fear and improve mood. It should be remembered that in order to take drugs, doctor’s prescription is needed.
The best way of treatment is to visit a psychologist who is able to fight this phobia by contacting with the source of fear. First, the doctor offers a patient to look at the photos of clowns, then the patients should face his fear in real.
In severe cases, hypnotherapy is used in the treatment of coulrophobia. This method help to find out the reasons for the existing fear and then the doctor tries to change person’s attitudes towards it.
In order to prevent the development of coulrophobia, it is necessary to avoid negative moments of contacts with the clowns in childhood and adulthood. So, it is recommended to avoid watching horror movies before going to bed, visit performances only for children in order to avoid fear associated with clowns. Parents have to maintain a positive attitude of their children towards clowns. It is recommended to wear a clown’s costume and friendly chat with the child.