Would you believethat there is a phobia which renders people terrified of left-handedness? Well there is, and it’s called Sinistrophobia!
We’ve all been there. Freshly on stage and barely into your first song, when you notice someone in the audience turn around and walk away in disgust. Or so it would seem…
There’s a (slim!) possibility that you could be mistakenly interpreting that look of disgust. Instead, they could genuinely be petrified of the sight of you! Believe it or not, there is an actual medical condition called Sinistrophobia – a fear of left handed people, or objects and things on the left side.
What is Sinistrophobia?
Sinistrophobia is defined as a fear of either left handed people, or objects located on the left side. Sufferers may avoid using their left hand, touching someone else’s left hand, or touching an object which has come into contact with a left hand.
It comes from the word ‘sinistro‘, which is Latin for ‘left‘, and ‘phobia‘ which is the Greek word for ‘fear‘.
Sinistrophobia is categorised as being a ‘specific phobia‘. Specific phobias are generally fears caused by very particular situations or objects, and most often contain specific triggers of panic. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it is estimated that 12.5% of American adults will experience a specific phobia at some point in their lives.
What Causes Sinistrophobia?
The condition is generally thought to arise as a result of negative past experiences, but can also occur seemingly without reason.
What Are The Symptoms of Sinistrophobia?
- A deep sense of panic when exposed to (or just thinking about) left-handedness
- A desire to do anything possible to avoid situations where you might be exposed to left-handedness
- Refusal to use your own left hand
- Symptoms often associated with a panic attack such as shaking, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea, shortness of breath, or dry-mouth.
How Do You Cure Sinistrophobia?
It is cured most successfully by having a qualified therapist guide the sufferer through some difficult tasks related to left-handedness, i.e. exposure therapy.
Exposure therapy is a psychological treatment which aims to help people overcome their fears. It is felt that avoidance of specific panic triggers can make the fear become worse over time. So patients are exposed to their fears in a controlled environment in order to hopefully break the pattern of avoidance and fear.
Do You Have Sinistrophobia?
Hold a pen in your right hand and then stand in front of a mirror. If you collapse into a sweaty mess on the floor then you are likely sinistrophobic. I kid, I kid…
Either that or you suffer from Spectrophobia (a fear of mirrors), or Eisoptrophobia (a fear of your own reflection). What?!
Phobias Related To Sinistrophobia
A couple of other interesting phobias related to sinistrophobia.
- Levophobia – the fear of objects on the left side of the body.
- Dextrophobia – the fear of objects on the right side of the body.