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Aichmophobia (pronounced [īk-mō-fō′bē-ă]) is a kind of specific phobia, the morbid fear of sharp things,[1] such as pencils, needles, knives, a pointing finger, or even the sharp end of an umbrella and different sorts of protruding corners or sharp edges in furnitures and building constructions/materials. It is derived from the Greek aichmē (point) and phobos (fear). This fear may also be referred to as belonephobia or enetophobia.

Sometimes this general term is used to refer to what is more specifically called fear of needles, or needle phobia. Fear of needles is the extreme and irrational fear of medical procedures involving injections or hypodermic needles.

Not to be confused with similar condition (Avoidance behavior) the Visual looming syndrome, where the patient does not fear sharp items, but feels pain or discomfort at gazing upon sharp objects nearby.



The use of hypnotherapy which is a combination of hypnosis and therapeutic intervention, may help to control or improve the fear of sharp objects, specifically needles.[2] A technique called systematic desensitization exposes patients to the feared stimuli in gradual degrees while under hypnosis.[3] This technique has met with mixed levels of success.[4]

Direct conditioning[edit]

Direct conditioning is a process used to associate desired behaviour in the subject with positive stimuli. Mary Cover Jones conducted an experiment in which she treated a patient with a fear of rabbits, by gradually moving a rabbit closer to the patient in the presence of the patient's favorite food. This continued until the patient was able to touch the rabbit without fear.[5][6]

Rare cases causing posttraumatic stress[edit]

In rare cases, exposure to the feared object may cause posttraumatic stress disorder, which again increases the fear of the object as one also gets afraid of getting posttramatic stress. Typically, this is caused by the fear of a small fragment of the feared object getting stuck in the body after exposure.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Aichmophobia". Medical Dictionary. Merriam-Webster. 2012. Retrieved 30 November 2012. 
  2. ^ Hypnotherapy. Jack H. Booth.The Gale Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. Ed. Madeline Harris and Ellen Thackerey. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 2003. p507-512.Word Count:2631.
  3. ^ Morse, D.R.; Cohen, B.B. (May–June 1983). "Desensitization using meditation-hypnosis to control "needle" phobia in two dental patients". Anesthesia Progress. 30 (3): 83–85. PMC 2515441free to read. PMID 6139965. 
  4. ^ Cyna, A.M.; Tomkins, D.; Maddock, T.; Barker, D. (August 2007). "Brief hypnosis for severe needle phobia using switch-wire imagery in a 5-year old". Department of Paediatric Anaesthesia, Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide, SA, Australia. 
  5. ^ Counter-conditioning.The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology. Ed. Bonnie Strickland. 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale,2001. p156-157. Word Count:406.
  6. ^ Green, Christopher. "A Laboratory Study of Fear: The Case of Peter". Classics in the History of Psychology. York University, Toronto. Retrieved 16 February 2012.