Sidonglobophobia is the fear of cotton balls. It is also called Bambakophobia where Bambaki stands for cotton in Greek while phobos means deep dread or fear.
‘Normal’ people might laugh at those who are afraid of cotton balls. However for a Sidonglobophobic individual, this phobia can actually ruin one’s life. People afraid of cotton balls simply cannot open their own mail, medicine bottles or even use a Q-tip. They tend to start crying or experience a full blown panic attack at the sight or image of cotton balls. Many are afraid of the sound made by cotton or plastic foams that are used for wrapping delicate or fragile items. Sidonglobophobia is a sensory phobia affecting a handful of people around the world. It is believed that Michael Jackson had suffered from Sidonglobophobia.
Let us study Sidonglobophobia or the fear of cotton balls in detail.
Causes of fear of cotton balls
Most sufferers of Sidonglobophobia have been afraid of cotton balls or plastic foams for as long as they can remember. However, experts agree that, like other phobias, this fear mostly develops in the childhood owing to some negative or traumatic experience that is remotely connected to cotton balls.
Cotton balls often resemble eggs of creatures like lizards, cockroaches and other creepy crawlers such as snakes etc. To a child’s imaginative mind, they might indicate impending danger. Their mind then recalls this fear response each time they encounter cotton balls, plastic foams or other stressful situations.
For unknown reasons, the fear of cotton balls is prevalent in the islands of the South pacific where many natives are known to suffer from it. Thanks to globalization, cotton balls have reached in many remote places through packaged deliveries of popular American products.
It is not known which, but certain part of the brain might be responsible for the phobia.
Symptoms of Sidonglobophobia
As in case of other sensory phobias, the fear of cotton balls also produces a plethora of physical and mental symptoms.
Physical symptoms include:
- Crying, screaming hysterically, trying to flee from the place
- Refusal to open medicine bottles, packaged mail or touch a Q-tip. Some even refuse to wear certain types of cotton clothes
- Hyperventilating, breathing rapidly or having an elevated heart rate.
- Getting nauseous
- Goosebumps, disgust response
- Full blown panic or anxiety attack
Mental symptoms include:
- Thoughts of death or dying
- Constant movie like images of cotton balls everywhere replay in the phobic’s mind
Treating the fear of cotton balls phobia
Hypnotism is known to treat the fear of cotton balls. This therapy can get to the root of the phobia and helps the sufferer rationalize the fear.
Gradual exposure or desensitization therapy is also proven to help Sidonglobophobic individuals. However, this treatment should be carried out only under expert supervision and in gradual steps, which includes showing images of cotton balls or plastic foams to the phobic until he can progress to touching them without having a panic attack. Friends and family members must also be sensitive to the fear of the suffering individual. Phobias are serious and one should support the sufferers rather than laughing or teasing them about it.
Self help books, online support communities and forums, psychiatric help, meditation and positive visualization are some other forms of overcoming Sidonglobophobia. As a last resort, brain surgery or drugs and medication may be used to overcome the fear of cotton balls phobia.