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Fear of Numbers

Rujuta Borkar
Having a fear of numbers is definitely not one of the most common fears one might have heard of. But its existence cannot be denied. Read on to know more about this rather strange phobia.
Arithmophobia is also known as 'numerophobia'. Having a phobia of numbers has an adverse effect on the people who suffer from it. It hampers them from carrying on with their normal day-to-day activities. They find it difficult to learn anything that is related to arithmetic and mathematics.
This fear could have been brought on by an unpleasant experience or situation in the past. The effect of which is seen to be so severe that the body develops a phobia for anything related to that situation. It thus discards the fear physically by not processing any information related to it.
For example, if a student learning math in the first grade gets a sum wrong and so is severely punished; the humiliation, the pain of that punishment gets associated with math. Whenever he thinks of numbers, that humiliation surfaces. Thus whenever he tries to learn about numbers, this phobia becomes an obstacle.
He might realize that the numbers are harmless, that they cannot physically cause any harm to him, but he cannot reason with his mind. It therefore leads to a block. The brain simply stops receiving information that is associated with that topic.
Sometimes phobias might not have a root, something that you can trace back to. But they exist all the same. Having a fear of numbers could be related to all the numbers in general or a particular number. Here's a list of some of these numbers.

Fear of the Number 666

The fear for the number 666 (Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia) has got to do with the fact that it is considered the devil's number. Many people avoid it like the plague because they believe that it could lead to unnatural occurrences.

Fear of the Number 13

This phobia for the number 13 is called Triskaidekaphobia. It literally means fear of the number 3 and 10. It is believed that it brings bad luck. This phobia has many stories surrounding it, which have been developed over the centuries. The most popular of which is the concept of Friday the 13th.

Fear of the Number 4

The fear of number 4 (Tetraphobia) is mainly experienced in the Japanese tradition. This is because the pronunciation of the word four in Japanese is "shi" which means death. There are hardly any hospitals with a room number 4 in Japan.
There are other numbers as well which lead to a phobia like the number 8 (Octophobia), number 23 (Duo Triphobia) and number 3 (Triskaphobia). So also one might experience fears of numerals, or the fear of large numbers.

Dealing With the Fear

It is possible to cure phobias by employing psychological methods like hypnotism. But these need to be done by certified psychologists who have expertise in it. Since the problem stems from the unconscious or subconscious levels of our brain, the method focuses on redirecting or reprogramming our subconscious mind to get rid of this fear.
On the surface we are aware that the fear we are harboring is illogical, but the fear or negative emotions attached to it are so deep that it cannot be cured on its own.
The other method that could be tried, is that of giving oneself auto-suggestions. This involves constantly telling yourself that the fear is illogical or that the block you have developed will dissipate. Feeding oneself these positive remarks will, overtime, program your mind into believing the suggestions and lead to overcoming the fear.
The fear of numbers is no joking matter. People who have it, might be suffering to such an extent that it might be leading to breakdowns. The next time you meet someone who has Arithmophobia, don't laugh it off. Chances are that they might have realized they have a problem, and are focusing on its solution.