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There are countless fears or phobias that exist for people of all ages and walks of life, and pediophobia, or fear of dolls, is a fairly common fear. This phobia may manifest in early childhood and continue as a life-long fear, or in some individuals a fear of dolls may develop suddenly. In such cases, a certain event may trigger a doll anxiety of sorts. In some cases, an unpleasant association with a doll may elicit fear or panic when a doll is present.
Although it is difficult to assess the actual percentage of the population who may be affected by this phobia, it is estimated that a fear of dolls may be more common than some people realize. This could be because many individuals who suffer from this phobia deal with it secretly and do not seek professional help. Pediophobia can take on several forms, including a fear of lifelike dolls that seem to 'stare,' or robotic-type toys, mannequins, ventriloquist dummies, and even some stuffed animals.
Animated dolls that walk or talk are generally a common object of fear for the person who is affected by this phobia. Certain individuals feel highly uncomfortable by the presence of a doll that displays human characteristics. Dolls that have lifelike voices may elicit fear in persons prone to pediophobia.
There are some individuals who have a strong fear of dolls which represent a particular classification or genre. One example is realistic baby dolls that are inspired by real-life newborn infants. Sometimes known as 'fake babies' or reborn dolls, these look remarkably like actual children.
Other doll fears can create anxiety when a person glances at a store mannequin. Some individuals suffering from this fear may avoid going to department stores that they know have these displays. If such disorders disrupt one's routine, experts claim it can spiral out of control and control one's life if not properly treated.
In many cases, overcoming a fear of dolls may involve extensive therapy. Some individuals may find hypnosis to be an effective treatment. Learning what events may have triggered the irrational and often deep-rooted anxiety is generally crucial to finding an effective cure.
Desensitization techniques can be implemented when treating a patient who has a fear of dolls. The method is to gradually introduce a doll or dolls to the patient under close supervision of a therapist. In other cases, programs implementing special software may attempt to successfully 'reprogram' the patient's irrational thoughts and underlying fears.