You’ve probably heard of Arachnophobia (fear of spiders), and even other fears such as Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) or Agoraphobia (fear of open/crowded spaces). But few people have heard of Vestiphobia – the fear of clothing. Scientists believe that this phobia can arise from several different places or circumstances, including allergies to certain fabrics or previous experiences with clothing.
Causes of Vestiphobia
Traumatic events involving clothing or fabric can lead to Vestiphobia in a person. Soldiers and other people with a history of working in the military have been known to develop this phobia. By associating bullet-proof vests, military boots or other items of clothing with bad experiences, the phobia can be triggered.
People who grow up in cultures or situations where restrictive clothing is mandatory can also develop Vestiphobia. In some individuals, tight clothing leads to the feeling of claustrophobia, and over a long period of time, leads to Vestiphobia.
Some people have claimed that Vestiphobia can be hereditary; in other words, if a person’s father or mother has a fear of clothing, there is a higher chance of their offspring sharing the fear. However, there is little evidence for this, and it is suggested that the child’s phobia is caused externally by growing up watching their parent(s) suffer from Vestiphobia.
Symptoms of Vestiphobia
Like many other phobias, the symptoms are largely related to panic and anxiety. The symptoms felt by each individual will differ depending on the severity of their fear, but most people with Vestiphobia will report shaking, hyperventilating or feeling trapped and out of control, and/or feeling breathless, dizzy or nauseas. As with allergies and other fears, some people may experience more of one symptom than another. The symptoms may even vary on different occasions, for example, excessive sweating one day but then severe shaking on another day.
Cures for Vestiphobia
Hypnotherapy is a common treatment used by many people with phobias, including Vestiphobia. Since the fear of clothing can interfere tremendously with day-to-day life, hypnotherapy can be effective in altering the subconscious to minimize the phobia.
Doctors will often prescribe medication for patients suffering from Vestiphobia, although these can cause side effects which are quite severe. Patients have also been known to suffer from withdrawal symptoms afterwards, and at best, the medication can also temporarily suppress the fear.
Talking therapy can also be effective in removing some or all of the fear felt by people with Vestiphobia. Although this can take several months, the effects are more permanent than medication.
Do you know anyone with Vestiphobia? We’d love to know!