Balloon phobia or globophobia is a fear of balloons. The source of fear may be the sound of balloons popping. Generally, globophobics will refuse to touch, feel, or go near a balloon for fear it will pop
Causes of fear of balloon phobia
Like with most phobias, Globophobia originates from a negative experience with balloons in one’s childhood. The phobia is common in younger children and gradually diminishes with age. In some people though, it may continue well into adulthood.
A child might have experienced a balloon popping or exploding in the face. S/he then recalls the same fear each time one sees a balloon. Most kids feel fearful about attending birthday parties or fairs on account of the association of these events with balloons. When other children realize this, they tend to tease or bully the suffering child. This leads to more terrifying thoughts about balloons.
Balloons are usually associated with noise; additionally, the kind of noise they make is similar to a gunshot and is typically unexpected. This is a perfect stimulus for people who are already overanxious or in a heightened mental state. Even the squeaking sound made by a balloon can be frightening to such a child.
Globophobia is often combined with the fear of clowns’ phobia. Clowns and balloons go hand-in-hand and, for a child attending an event having both these elements, the fears might merge.
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Symptoms of fear of balloons phobia
To an individual suffering from such a phobia, a continuous internal movie plays in the mind. This usually involves seeing a balloon exploding in the face.
At the thought or sight or sound of balloons, the phobic displays following anxiety symptoms:
- Rapid or shallow breathing
- Palpitations which can be perceived to be chest pains
- Kids start to cry, run or hide; they come up with excuses to prevent an encounter with balloons. This means refusing to go to parties or fairs etc.
- Shaking, trembling and sweating are other physical symptoms.
- Gastrointestinal distress like nausea might be present.
Overcoming the fear of balloons phobia
If you or a loved one has Globophobia, then you are not alone. It is a very real and common phobia and many individuals suffer from it. Thankfully, there is help. The first thing you need to do is talk to a therapist or a loved one about it. Talk therapy can help you rationalize your fear.
Most people understand that balloons are not dangerous; however, they feel powerless over their fear. By gradually exposing yourself to balloons you can overcome the phobia. You could start by seeing pictures, holding or touching deflated balloons. Then, once you are comfortable with this, you can progress to encountering inflated balloons. This technique can be done in the form of self-help therapy or even with the help of an experienced therapist.
NLP or Neuro-Linguistic Memory manipulations are also effective as they can help you get to the bottom of the phobia. (These involve seeing yourself and your fears as if you are a third party, or having an out of body experience and viewing a cinema.) These methods can gradually help you face balloons and overcome your Globophobia permanently.