Globophobia (Fear Of Balloons)


Characterized by an intense response to a particular stimulus or trigger, phobias can be debilitating for many. In the case of Globophobia, this fear encompasses balloons of all types, resulting in a strong reaction when the individual is in contact with or sees this particular object.

What is Globophobia?

Rather than an abstract phobia such as a fear of being alone or fear of social situations, Globophobia is a specifically triggered phobia that is caused by a stimulus in the environment. In this case, that stimulus are balloons. The actual intensity of this phobia can vary from person to person, but in many cases, the person with this phobia will have a strong and often physical fear response to the presence, thought or feel of balloons.

The level that Globophobia affects an individual’s life is often based on their unique circumstances. Some people with this phobia, for example, may be fine with balloons if they are at a safe distance to them, or in public, rather than private settings. Some individuals may have such a morbid fear of balloons that seeing them on objects such as cards or on television causes them to experience a physical and emotional response.

As a phobia of an object that frequently appears in everyday life and social events, from public appearances to birthday parties, this condition can be highly debilitating for those struggling with Globophobia.

What are the symptoms of Globophobia?

All phobias are defined as a morbid, intense and often overwhelming fear of a particular object, stimulus or situation. As such, the phobia itself doesn’t produce any constant and consistent symptoms in everyday life when the individual is apart from the object or condition that causes the fear response.

When it comes to experiencing forced contact with balloons, in the case of Globophobia, the following physical signs and symptoms may occur:

  • Physical shaking that is uncontrollable, either in the hands or generalized on the body
  • Sudden intense feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness
  • A rapid increase in heart rate or palpitations that may feel unusual or uncomfortable
  • Gastrointestinal pain or distress in response to anxiety levels
  • Tightening or closing of the throat
  • Numbness in the feet, hands and other extremities
  • Excessive or extreme levels of sweating
  • Pain and tightness in the chest area

As well as the persisting physical symptoms that Globophobia can cause when an individual is exposed to balloon based stimuli, this condition can also react in a variety of different anxiety-related symptoms, which are typical fear responses. These emotional or mental conditions may occur during this time:

  • An overwhelming and deep feeling of morbid terror or sudden panic
  • A sense of being far away, or ‘dropping off’
  • Lack of focus on the real world, with the intention to remain in an unreal environment
  • A significant and sudden increase in anxiety and stress when in the presence of balloons

Causes of Globophobia

In comparison to some phobias, the stimulus or object of fear in the case of Globophobia is clearly defined. Though there may be some variation in what causes the highest fear response – whether it’s the sound of balloons popping, balloons of a particular color or even just seeing anything balloon shaped – the fact that this phobia is linked to a specific object makes it a more straightforward task for someone with this condition, or a psychiatrist or psychologist, to discover the cause of the fear response.

As with most phobias, a negative experience, often in childhood, with balloons can result in fear or anxiety in regards to this object. With balloons often present at events, this fear can also be associated with being humiliated or teased over a hatred or fear of balloons, further exacerbating the condition.

Globophobia is a common fear for younger children. Though it often lessens or diminishes as the child increases with age, and can apply logic to the object itself, in some cases this phobia can persist into adulthood and continue to leave the individual with fear and anxiety when balloons are present in certain situations or locations. Occasionally, this condition is combined with the fear of clowns, as these two objects or cases can often be linked.

Treatment for Globophobia

Globophobia has a wide range of different treatments available that can provide individuals with different coping and management techniques. These techniques can help to reduce the irrational fear and anxiety response related to balloons, or in some cases reduce the physical effects of the fear itself.

For individuals who want to actively work on the phobia itself, in addition to or instead of simply preventing the physical ramifications of this phobia, working with a psychiatrist or psychologist can offer many effective coping mechanisms or techniques to improve the handling of Globophobia.

These treatments may include:

  • Counseling
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Person-centered treatment
  • CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy)

Medical, medicine-based treatment is also available for the management of Globophobia, with a focus on reducing the symptoms of panic and anxiety this condition produces rather than looking at the underlying concerns.

Medications prescribed for Globophobia may include:

  • Beta Blockers
  • Anti Depressants
  • Anti Anxiety Medications

Other, non-medical forms of treatment also exist for the care and management of symptoms related to Globophobia. Though these treatments, again, don’t work to help fix the root of the problem, they do provide relief and self-care when it comes to the anxiety and feelings of dread related to this phobia:

  • Muscle Relaxation
  • Mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Soothing

Prevention of Globophobia

The fear of balloons often manifests in individuals at a young age, especially when it comes to irrational fear or dread of the sound of balloons, and especially them popping. One way to prevent a small fear of balloons evolving into Globophobia is to ensure that any non-proportional fear responses children display are managed and rationalized correctly.

Working with a psychiatrist or psychologist during a child’s formative years can also be of benefit, as a professional can help reduce and rationalize irrational fears and concerns that may develop into Globophobia. Family life and behavior can also play a large part in the perception or fear of an object, so parents or influential figures experiencing Globophobia or an anxiety response may lead to an increased chance of a child learning this behavior.

Last Reviewed:
June 22, 2018
Last Updated:
June 21, 2018