How common is the fear of dolls?

There are countless fears or phobias that exist for people of all ages and walks of life, and pediophobia, or fear of dolls, is a fairly common fear. This phobia may manifest in early childhood and continue as a lifelong fear, or in some people a fear of dolls may develop suddenly. In such cases, a certain event can trigger a kind of wrist anxiety. In some cases, an unpleasant association with a doll can lead to fear or panic when a doll is present.

Although it is difficult to assess the true percentage of the population that may be affected by this phobia, it is estimated that the fear of dolls may be more common than some people believe. This could be because many people with this phobia treat it in secret and do not seek professional help. Pediophobia can take several forms, including a fear of realistic dolls that appear to 'stare', or robotic-type toys, mannequins, ventriloquist dolls, and even some stuffed animals.

Walking or talking animated dolls are generally a common object of fear for the person affected by this phobia. Certain people feel very uncomfortable about the presence of a doll that shows human characteristics. Dolls that have realistic voices can strike fear in people prone to pediophobia.

There are some people who have a strong fear of dolls that represent a particular classification or gender. One example is lifelike baby dolls inspired by real-life newborns. Sometimes known as 'fake babies' or reborn dolls, they closely resemble real children.

Other doll fears can create anxiety when a person looks at a store mannequin. Some people who suffer from this fear may avoid going to department stores that they know have these displays. If such disorders disrupt routine, experts say it can spiral out of control and take over life if not treated properly.

In many cases, overcoming a fear of dolls can involve extensive therapy. Some people may find hypnosis an effective treatment. Learning what events may have triggered irrational and often deep-seated anxiety is often crucial to finding an effective cure.

Desensitization techniques can be implemented when treating a patient who has a fear of dolls. The method involves gradually introducing a doll or dolls to the patient under the close supervision of a therapist. In other cases, programs implementing special software may attempt to successfully reprogram the patient's irrational thoughts and underlying fears.

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