Catoptrophobia is the ‘fear of mirrors’. It is also known as ‘Spectrophobia’. This phobia can be related to the ‘fear of deformity’ (Dysmorphophobia) and also ‘fear of seeing oneself in mirror’ (Eisoptrophobia).


Some commonly known causes of this fear are:

  1. A past very negative event linking emotional trauma to mirrors.
  2. Trauma caused by watching scenes of television shows or horror films involving mirrors.
  3. Superstitious beliefs like ‘breaking of mirror will bring extreme bad luck’.
  4. Fears like ‘someone is watching me from the mirror’, ‘a mirror is a link to the supernatural world’, ‘someone might jump out of the mirror’.
  5. The fear of seeing something else besides one’s ownself in the mirror.
  6. When a person has apprehensions about his looks he might want to avoid looking in the mirror.


Depending on the intensity of fear a catoptrophobic can have various symptoms of anxiety disorders when facing a mirror. Some common one’s are:

  1. Extreme distress
  2. Rapid heart beat
  3. Irregular breathing
  4. Nausea
  5. Dizziness
  6. Trembling
  7. Palpitations, etc.


Living with a fear is not healthy especially when it starts intervening in your life and disrupting it. Realizing that one has a phobia and taking the necessary steps to overcoming it is important. The magical thing about human mind is that it can learn and unlearn anything.

Like many other phobias catoptrophobia can also be treated by therapy (cognitive behavior therapy, behavior therapy, shock/exposure therapy). Medications can also be used to control the symptoms.

          Vidhi Pipara Adolescent Psychologist – Guidance on personal or psychological problems in Ahmedabad,Gujarat and India.

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