What is Xanthophobia?

This blog will answer questions: What is Xanthophobia? What are the symptoms of Xanthophobia? How can Xanthophobia be treated? Can Xanthophobia be cured?


What is Xanthophobia?

Xanthophobia is one of the sets of color-related phobias which are collectively grouped under the term chromophobia or chromato phobia.

The word “Xanthos” is derived from Greek which means yellow. Xanthophobia is the fear of the color yellow or the word yellow itself. Individuals who have Xanthophobia find the color discomforting and stressful.

Individuals with Xanthophobia experience a sense of panic or anxiety when exposed to the color yellow intentionally or unintentionally. This could include any object or any entity that’s in the color yellow like yellow Pages, yellow decor, yellow furniture.

People with Xanthophobia  also avoid eating food that is of this particular color such as lemon, mustard, banana, egg yolk, cheese and similarly avoid wearing yellow clothes

Despite a good amount of research about Xanthophobia researchers have not been able to find a core reason for the fear.

What are the symptoms of Xanthophobia?

The symptoms experienced by humans while having a phobia can be entirely cognitive-based or even a combination of cognitive and physical symptoms.

Even though Xanthophobia is one of the rare phobias that one might have not heard of or experienced the symptoms that are associated with it are more or less similar to the ones experienced with other common phobias.

The physical symptoms of Xanthophobia  are:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Feeling of nausea
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Sweating or hot flashes
  • Tingling sensation or numbness
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Increased heart rate

The cognitive symptoms associated with Xanthophobia  are:

  • Dissociation
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Anticipation of danger
  • Fear of death
  • The need to escape
  • Fear of losing control over oneself and the environment
  • Avoidance of the triggering object
  • Emotions of anxiety and panic

What are the causes of Xanthophobia?

Like every other rare phobia even in the case of Xanthophobia, no specific cause for the fear is known.   However, there is a considerable number of general causes that are thought to be responsible for most phobias which applies to Xanthophobia as well.

Many common phobias are often entirely psychological however in the case of a color-related phobia like Xanthophobia it might be caused by physiological changes also.

For example, an individual might show an aversion towards a specific color due to an abnormal level of sensitivity to some short wavelengths following cataract extraction.

It is believed that most phobias be it common or rare are caused due to a negative or traumatic event in the past. It could also be a result of some environmental conditions or genetics. In some cases, more than a single factor may be responsible for the development of the phobia

Trauma-related phobia

Most phobias are caused as a result of having a negative experience related to the object or a situation in the past. For instance, a person can develop a phobia for the color yellow if they were attacked or harassed by someone wearing a bright yellow shirt. Likewise, if someone has an adverse reaction after eating a food that was particularly yellow in color they might develop off aversion towards the color.

Environment and genetically related phobia

Most of the phobias that show up in the later stages of life are the result of the experiences that one had as a child. For instance, if a woman was abused constantly in a room with yellow shades she might develop a phobia for that color.

Many phobias are also a result of learned behavior that is they learn the fear response from someone that they have been observing over a period of time like one’s parents or other influential people.

 It is safe to say that if a relative has a particular phobia the individual is far more likely to develop the same phobia. It cannot be ignored that many of the phobias could also be passed down through genes in the form of unknown factors.

How can Xanthophobia be treated?

Treatment for Xanthophobia is similar to that with any other phobia depending largely on the severity of the fear one experiences.

Some common and effective management techniques that are used in cases of Xanthophobia  are:

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy is based on the principle that in order to reduce an individual’s fear about a particular object they have to be exposed to it. Exposure therapy follows a systematic and gradient system where an individual is exposed to stimuli or objects that are less anxiety-provoking to the most anxiety-provoking.

once the individual is able to cope with less anxiety-provoking stimuli the therapist moves on to a more challenging stimulus.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on helping the individual to change their maladaptive thoughts and replace them with more adaptable and favorable ones. The main goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to remove the anxiety response from the fear trigger.

Meditation or mindfulness

Another effective way to deal with Xanthophobia could be to practice meditation or mindfulness which helps an individual to calm themselves down and focus on the present rather than dwelling on a negative thought or feeling.


It is often seen that medication in combination with other therapy options works best for an individual. However, a practitioner can also prescribe an anti-anxiety or an antidepressant to ease their symptoms.

Can Xanthophobia be cured?

When there is a considerable number of treatment options for many phobias including Xanthophobia many of these phobias can be successfully treated and cured.

However, an absolute eradication of any phobia might not be possible or predictable as many of these phobias are environment-dependent.

The bottom line is whenever a patient desires for a cure and follows through the process with persistence and patience there has always been a fairly positive prognosis.


It is a common notion that when someone refers to a phobia it is going to be one common phobia that many individuals experience such as fear of closed places which is called as claustrophobia.

However, there are many unusual phobias that not many have experienced or are not even aware of. Xanthophobia is one such phobia. 

This rare phobia also makes it difficult for other people to understand what the individual is experiencing or might be going through. In some cases, they might also shrug it off saying that it is bluff or that an individual is exaggerating about the anxiety that they experience seeing the color.               

Nevertheless, people who experience Xanthophobia indeed have a strong aversion towards the color, and the color is very discomforting and anxiety-provoking for them. However, the individuals suffering from this condition find ways to cool and seek effective treatment to deal with it favorably.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

What is the fear of colors called?

People experiencing fear of color experience persistent and irrational fear of a particular color. The fear of colors in psychology is known as chromophobia. The other terms used for the same are chromatophobia or chrematophobia.

What is the future of darkness called?

Extreme fear of the darkness or night that causes significant anxiety or even depression is called Nyctophobia.

What are the rarest phobias?     

Some of the rarest and uncommon phobias are:

Does everyone have a phobia?

Almost everyone has some of the other types of irrational fears. However, when these fears become severe and cause significant distress and anxiety which interferes with an individual’s normal functioning is called phobias.