Everyone has some fear, regardless of its severity. Some people are afraid of bugs, while others are afraid of dogs or even the dark. One fear that is more common than many people may realize is the fear of clowns. The clinical term for fear of clowns is coulrophobia, and people with coulrophobia can have a mild aversion to clowns to a full-fledged phobia that causes potentially embarrassing behavior.
Suppose you have a fear of clowns, and you feel that it’s taking over your life. In that case, the following tips should help you to cope with and possibly even significantly minimize this potentially debilitating condition.
Mild fear to severe phobia fear of clowns
Some children and adults may have a mild fear or dislike of clowns and are typically able to control themselves when forced to come into contact with creepy clowns. However, other individuals suffer from a much more serious form of fear of clowns, which causes them to experience severe panic attacks, including difficulty breathing, profuse perspiration, and more. To properly diagnose your condition and its severity level, you will need to seek the assistance of a professional.
Diagnosing fear of clowns
There is often no need to diagnose coulrophobia, as it is evident when it occurs. However, if your condition is extremely severe, you might seek professional help from a licensed psychologist who can diagnose and treat your phobia fear of clowns.
Some psychologists specialize in treating phobias, and if you prefer a mental health professional specializing in irrational fears, you might need to search for one outside your local area. However, you might be lucky enough to have one in your area.
Cause of fear of clowns phobia
There hasn’t been much research conducted on coulrophobia to identify the reason, but, as per Trinity University Specialist Joseph Durwin, There are two plausible causes for this condition. He suggests that children may develop coulrophobia due to the terror of an ominous or scary clown when they are young.
The other theory is that mass media triggers this fear due to how clowns are depicted in media. However, despite these two theories, neither one is palatable to him, which is why the researcher continues to study the subject to find out as much as he can.
Studies regarding clowns & children
In 2008, the University of Sheffield decided to poll to determine which type of décor would be most appreciated in the children’s wing of the university hospital. Who included 250 children between the ages of 4 and 16 in the poll. Researchers were astounded to discover that a large percentage of the entire group disliked clowns in some manner.
Many genuinely feared clowns, even if they had never had a negative experience with one. Who showed the children photos of clowns and noted that “friendly” clowns were feared or disliked just as vehemently as the “evil” ones.
Hollywood’s role in coulrophobia
You have probably noticed the various “killer clown” movies released over the years. The terrifying clowns in these movies certainly don’t make your fear any better, and in fact, seeing the previews of a film with a maniacal clown as its main character can trigger an episode for you.
The origin of clowns dates back to 2400 BC when clowns were looked upon as religious figures. By the early 1800s, the depiction of the clown evolved into the silly character with white paint on its face that most people know today. By the 1900s, writers and movie producers began incorporating “dark humor” in their clown plots to entertain many audiences. Once Who ignited the idea and producers discovered how much the public enjoyed the “killer clown” persona, their enthusiasm to create increasingly more only increased.
There are various treatments for coulrophobia – fear of clowns, and the specific treatment that will recommend for you will depend on the severity of your condition and the cause. No treatment specifically treats coulrophobia; however, the therapist you choose will approach your treatment as they would with any phobia. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a standard treatment that can teach you more appropriate ways to cope and react whenever faced with scary clowns. It may take an extended period to help if your fear of clowns is severe, but if you’re dedicated and stick with it, CBT can be very effective, though there is no guarantee.
Another possible treatment that might invoke fear in you simply by thinking about it is exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is a specific treatment that entails exposing you to clowns to rid you of your extreme fear.
The therapy would start with a few infrequent exposures and build up until you can tolerate being in the presence of clowns even more. There is no guarantee that exposure therapy will work; in some individuals, it can have a counteractive effect. However, if you are willing and your therapist thinks it could help, it’s certainly worth a try.
No medication is going to treat your fear of clowns. Still, suppose you experience anxiety regularly as a result of your fear. In that case, you could be prescribed one of many anti-anxiety drugs that can relieve your stress. You may be prescribed sedatives to take on an as-needed basis, such as if you were to unexpectedly encounter a clown, which could trigger a massive panic attack.
Coping with fear of clowns
Since clowns can be seen everywhere: on television, in movies, in stores, at school, at work—just about any place, it can be challenging to avoid this famous character. To prevent an episode that ends with you embarrassing yourself if you should happen to see a clown while in a public place, here are some tips that might help.
- Close your eyes and take long, deep breaths.
- Imagine that you are sitting on a relaxing beach where no clowns are present.
- Remind yourself that the clown that triggered your episode is not real and is only a ploy to scare—or entertain people.
- Practice any tips that your therapist may have taught you, if possible.
- Applaud yourself if you were able to avert a full-fledged attack successfully.
A fear of clowns can be a potentially unbearable condition that can hurt a person’s life since Who can’t always avoid clowns. Clowns are everywhere we go, especially on Halloween. If you feel that your fear of clowns has worsened to the point where it is debilitating and is interfering with your life, then you should seek the help of mental health professional. Your coulrophobia doesn’t mean you are “crazy,” but merely suffer from a condition. Hope is available, and the right psychologist can help you control your fear, so it doesn’t continue to rule your life.