Spectrophobia: The Fear Of Mirrors And What It Means

By Nicole Beasley

Updated December 17, 2018

Reviewer Richard Jackson

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You've probably heard of phobias before and may even be able to name a few of them off the top of your head. Maybe you have a phobia of your own that you've been trying to deal with. Maybe it's severe, or maybe it's mild. No matter what it is, you know that it can be annoying, and it can interfere with your life. That's just what spectrophobia does, and for those who suffer from it, this disorder can make it difficult to go about your normal day.

What Is Spectrophobia?

It is the fear of mirrors, and more specifically, of the images reflected within them. For someone that doesn't suffer from this disorder, a mirror is a good thing because it lets you see how you look, get ready for the day and otherwise plan for whatever you want to look like. For someone who does have it, however, it can be a big problem.This phobia may also include an extreme fear of ghosts or spirits.

For those who are afraid of the mirror itself, it's possible that the fear is related to a fear of bad luck if they break the mirror. They may also be afraid of reflections in anything and everything around them, even if it's not a mirror. This can cause them to have problems with glass because it's sometimes possible to see a reflection in these pieces. Because the image is usually faint and difficult to see it can sometimes reinforce the belief of an apparition or spectral being there in the reflection, rather than just a reflection of themselves.

What It Means

For someone who is afflicted with this disorder, it means that life can be quite difficult. Sure, you can hide the mirrors in your own home, and avoid them completely. You can even cover all the windows and stay away from reflective surfaces. But when you're out somewhere it's difficult to do all those things. How do you avoid all those things when you have no control over what's going on around you?

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It means changing everything about your life to stay away from reflections. While others may not understand what's going on or understand the intensity of the fear, for you, it's something that's all-consuming. Simply ignoring the reflection isn't an option because as soon as you see it, the feelings start to descend causing full-blown.

Symptoms Of Phobias

How do you know that what you're experiencing is a type of phobia? Well, in general, phobias cause an overwhelming fear response that may be triggered by seeing the object of your fear, hearing about it or hearing any sound that it may make (for example hearing the bark of a dog if you have a fear of dogs). The fear response can encompass a range of different things and maybe severe depending on the specific person.

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Panic symptoms consist of trouble breathing, shortness of breath, nausea, racing or irregular heartbeat, dry mouth, shaking, sweating or anything related to panic. These symptoms may occur in any order or combination. It's important to watch for any symptoms that are strange to you or cause you any distress.

Where It Comes From

In many cases, phobias come about as a result of something that happened to you at some point in your life. The traumatic experience led you to develop a fear of that experience happening again, and your fear response is your body attempting to give you a fight or flight response. Others believe that phobias may have some genetic or even hereditary cause or at least an aspect, though the specific phobia may not have come from anyone or anywhere in particular, rather, the predisposition toward a phobia. It can also be a learned response from friends or family who has the same phobia.

Getting Treatment

If you seek out professional help, you don't need to worry about someone telling you that your fear is silly or imaginary. A professional knows just how real that fear is and just how it's interfering with your life. They also know how to help you overcome that fear. They'll do this through a process that likely involves several steps.

The first thing is that you may be put on some medication. Medications are used to treat some of the side effects and symptoms of the phobia and may help you to overcome some of these intense feelings. Talk to your doctor about the type of medication that you're going to be taking and how you should be taking it.

. At some point, however, you'll may go through some exposure therapy. That means working with a therapist, in a safe environment, and experiencing the thing that you are afraid of, like mirrors. The therapy will be done carefully, and it's going to be done at a pace you're comfortable with, so you can start to work through it and get your life back under your control.

Finding A Therapist

If you're looking for a therapist, it's important to look at the options that are around you. There are plenty of different therapists out there, but it can sometimes be difficult to find someone you like that's also available in your area. Which is why BetterHelp exists. It's a service that helps you to connect with therapists and other mental health professionals without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home. You'll never have to visit a therapist in person again, because you can have all your sessions right online, with anyone you feel comfortable with.


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