Fear of Cotton Balls – Sidonglobophobia

The Fear of Cotton Balls

Do you hate getting packages in the mail because the packing peanuts give you a queasy feeling?

Do you feel like you can’t breathe or begin to shake when you open a bottle of aspirin, knowing there’s a white, fuzzy cotton ball that will need to be removed?

If so, you may be one of a small population of individuals who suffer from sidonglobophobia, or the fear of cotton balls.


It can be a hard task to live your life without seeing items that resemble cotton balls. You may even be afraid to tell anyone of your fear as they may laugh at you, which will only bring on more anxiety.

But know this: the fear is real and there is hope. First, you must learn why you have this fear. Then you can begin to focus on calming your nerves and learning how to cope with the symptoms.

What Is the Fear of Cotton Balls?

The fear of cotton balls has the more common name of sidonglobophobia, but it is also known as bambakophobia. Those that suffer from this fear have a very difficult time using cotton swabs, opening medicine bottles, or even their mail. The mere image of a cotton ball may bring on crying spells or panic attacks.

Some individuals become overwhelmed with the sounds created by foam peanuts or other package wrapping used in shipping.

How rare is sidonglobophobia? The phobia, known as a sensory phobia, affects a very small group of individuals across the globe.

What Causes the Fear of Cotton Balls?

You may be one of those individuals who remembers being afraid of foam or cotton balls for as far back as you can remember. The cause of deep fear of cotton balls is not known. However, experts believe that the fear developed during childhood like most phobias.

The cotton balls resemble the eggs of various creatures such as cockroaches, snakes, and lizards. As a child, you may have seen these eggs as a danger or something to fear. The fear that was experienced as a child can be brought to your adult mind when you see cotton balls or foam peanuts.

When you see cotton balls, it may trigger emotion from an experience you had as a child. Such experiences may include coming upon snakes eggs in a field or a large sac of spider eggs in a tree or barn. These sights may have frightened you and made you want to run away.

The largest population suffering from sidonglobophobia are the Natives in the islands of the South Pacific. Though a small and somewhat unexpected demographic, native islanders still receive shipped products, even in remote areas.

Some individuals may also have an aversion to cotton balls because of sensitive skin. The cotton balls may feel rough to the skin, which may bring on a fear of cotton ball texture.

Symptoms of Sidonglobophobia

The fear of cotton balls can cause both physical and psychological symptoms.

Physical Symptoms of Sidonglobophobia Include:

  • Crying
  • Screaming
  • Trying to run away
  • Will not open medicine bottles
  • Will not open shipping boxes
  • Will not use cotton swabs
  • Breathing fast
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Disgust
  • Goosebumps

Psychological Symptoms of the Fear of Cotton Balls:

The psychological symptoms of cotton balls include:

  • Devastating feelings of fear or panic
  • Uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts
  • Scary memories
  • Anxiety with the thought or image of cotton balls
  • Incapacity to cope with the anxiety
  • A replay of images of cotton balls in one’s mind
  • Thoughts of death
  • Panic attack
  • Anxiety attack

Treatments for Sidonglobophobia

Self-help: What Can I Do to Help Myself with Sidonglobophobia

The main thing you can do is learn when the fear of cotton balls began, or figure out what the cotton balls remind you of. Understanding that cotton balls are not dangerous can help you learn how to cope with the feelings and emotions that arise when you see items such as packing peanuts or cotton balls.

Self-help books can aid in providing you with the ability to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. A change in your perspective where cotton balls are concerned will play a role in becoming free of fear.

Professional Help Options

Talking with a therapist would be a nice complement to your self-help efforts. Professionals can offer options to better manage your fear of cotton balls, or teach you techniques to better cope with the symptoms.

Fear of Packing Peanuts is closely related to fear of cotton balls.

The Most Common Treatments Include:

Hypnotic therapy, which has been used for several years, may help you pinpoint the start of your fear of cotton balls. Once you realize that the fear has nothing to do with cotton balls, you may begin healing.

Exposure therapy is another great option. Your therapist will slowly introduce you to cotton balls beginning with simple images. Next will be videos, and lastly actual cotton balls themselves. The process will occur in a controlled, safe environment. The process will provide some framework to help you understand the irrationality of the fear.

During this type of therapy, you will also learn relaxation and breathing techniques that will help you cope with symptoms when you see a cotton ball.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to redirect your thought patterns. This may provide you with a new way to look at cotton balls, so you can change your reaction and behaviors associated with the fear.

Medications Used for Sidonglobophobia – Fear of Cotton Balls

Antidepressants may be prescribed to help with extreme symptoms associated with sidonglobophobia. Such medications as Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Paxil, and Lexapro are among the most popular. These medications do have side effects such as insomnia or diarrhea, therefore they are only prescribed when a person’s fear is interfering with their daily lives.

Beta blockers may help with some of the more physical symptoms such as sweating and shaking. The way this medication works is by blocking the way adrenaline works in your body.

If your fear of cotton balls is extreme, some physicians may prescribe a sedative to aid with severe anxiety.

All medications are used only to alleviate severe symptoms, and in most cases will not stop the fear of cotton balls. Therefore, medicines should be used along with therapy.

Simple Tips to Avoid Your Fear of Cotton Balls

In some cases, fear can be lessened by learning meditation and positive visualization.

Learning how to meditate on positive thoughts—and not the fear of cotton balls—can help you overcome the fear.

Positive visualization works by helping you overcome the fear as well. You learn to use your mind to visualize yourself touching cotton balls or opening a package. The more you can visualize yourself performing these tasks without symptoms, the easier it will become when you do encounter cotton balls.

The only way to totally avoid the fear would be to have someone else open all of your packages, never go down the cotton ball aisle of the drug store, and have someone else open your medicine bottles. But these steps may take more time and energy than simply learning how to cope with your anxiety.


Facts about Sidonglobophobia

  1. The fear of cotton balls pronunciation is: sidon-globo-pho-bi-a.
  2. A person suffering from sidonglobophobia cannot open medicine bottles or use a cotton swab.
  3. It is believed that Michael Jackson, a world-famous music artist, suffered from the fear of cotton balls.
  4. Not only does a person with sidonglobophobia fear cotton balls, but also shipping peanuts.
  5. Even though sidonglobophobia is rare, it is common on the islands in the South Pacific.

There is help for anyone suffering from a fear of cotton balls, whether you use self-help, professional therapy, or a combination of therapy and medication. With the correct help, you can enjoy life without the fear of opening a medicine bottle.

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