Nelophobia: The Fear of Glass

Nelophobia The Fear of Glass

Nelophobia, also known as hyelophobia or hyalophobia, is the irrational or extreme fear of glass. People with this phobia fear glass, mostly because of how fragile they seem.

They always feel like they may break easily and cause severe harm.

They fear things made of glass such as glass windows, glass tables, glass cups, glass door and many more. They also try their best to avoid them.

Persons with this condition are called Nelophobes and the term “Spasmenagaliaphobia” which means “Fear of broken glass” is a branch of nelophobia since it is highly linked to the Nelopobia.

Causes of nelophobia

Just like other phobias, nelophobias does not have an exact cause, but experts believe that factors that contribute to the development of these conditions could include the following:

Traumatic experiences

These can involve unpleasant events in the past, which causes a person so much trauma. These unpleasant events can include seeing someone get hurt by a glass that broke away, an accident that involves glass shattering, seeing fighting people injured or kill one another with glass and more.

Although these experiences may be real life, someone can get traumatized by watching them on TV. 


Experts suggest that the way traits are being passed down from parents to offspring is the same way fearful genes are passed down as well.

Meaning, if they had been two to four individuals in a person’s family tree who has suffered from a phobia, particularly nelophobia, then there are likely to be more cases in the family. 


When you are being raised by a caregiver who has phobias, specifically nelophoia, you are likely to have this fear and not outgrow it. 


Our environment has an extensive supply of factors that can easily influence our lives. They can considerably affect our growth, hence exposing us to elements that can increase the risk of a person developing the phobia.

It is more prevalent when a person grows up in an environment where frequent glass accidents or people are hurt and killed with glass.

Symptoms of nelophobia

There are a series of symptoms that a sufferer may experience if they have nelophobia, and these symptoms can be triggered when they are triggered due to exposure to their object of fear.

These symptoms are similar across various phobias. However, the severity of these symptoms and varies across persons. Persons with nelophobia may experience the following symptoms when they see, hear or think of glasses

Physical symptoms

Physical symptoms of nelophobia may include any of the following:

  • Excess sweating
  • Trembling
  • Hot flushes 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Choking sensation
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sharp chest pain
  • A feeling of butterflies in the stomach
  • Nauseous feeling
  • Headaches 
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling faint
  • Numbness 
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent need to go to the toilet
  • Ringing or buzzing sounds in the ears
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Hyperventilation
  • Increased blood pressure

Psychological symptoms

The following may include psychological effects of nelophobia:

  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of fainting
  • Feelings of dread
  • Fear of dying
  • Fear of harm or illness
  • Feeling of guilt, shame, and self-blame
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Feeling sad or hopeless
  • Feeling disconnected
  • Confusion, and difficulty concentrating
  • Anger, irritability, and mood swings
  • Anxiety and fear

When you experience up to five of these symptoms when you think or get exposed to glass, then you may be diagnosed with nelophobia. However, certain people have what we call “complex phobia”. 

A complex phobia is when an individual has more than one phobias. Persons like this are most likely to experience a chain of the symptoms, as mentioned earlier, when triggered.  

Treatment of nelophobia

People who have nelophobia may feel that they do not need any treatment because they believe they could just avoid the object of fear, in this case, anything that is related to glass.

People with severe cases of nelophobia may find it challenging to handle their assigned tasks as well as carry out their usual daily activities. 

Nelophobia, just like any other phobias, can limit a person’s life. It can affect a person’s competence in handling situations or tasks.

The person’s relationship with their environment or loved ones, as well as the person’s usual way of carrying out normal day-to-day activities, can become affected as well.

Treatment is highly needed to help the individual recover from this condition. However, there are no known treatments for nelophobia, but the following treatments may be applied to help the patients overcome their fear. 


Self-care is the proper management of self. It is how much you take care of yourself to keep yourself happy and healthy.

Self-care involves:

  • Exercising: Doing this regularly helps keep you fit and also stir your mind away from unhealthy thoughts which may contribute to why you feel fear.
  • Healthy dieting: Adopting a healthy diet keeps you healthy and strong. This also helps with your cognition and help take your mind away from your source of fear.
  • Relaxation: Stress can worsen your condition so it will be good for you to take your time for rest. This will keep you calm and controlled at times.
  • Meditation: Practising daily meditation helps you take deeper breaths and calm your mind down. It also takes your mind away from unhealthy thoughts and channels it to a more positive thought pattern.

These are few of the self-care one can adopt. This makes you more aware of yourself and also help you control your fears and anxieties before they get severe. 


Talking to a therapist will help you overcome your fears. This is because therapists are trained mental health workers that are equipped with skills to help you attain optimal mental health.

Your consulting therapist is likely to use the following techniques:

  • Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT is the most common technique in treating phobias. Using this technique, your therapist will help you in identifying those unhealthy thoughts and patterns that cause you to fear glass and then help you in replacing them with positive ones.
  • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT): Traditionally, DBT is a treatment technique used in treating certain personality disorders. However, it can be used in the treatment of some phobias that includes nelophobia. You will be assigned to join a DBT group where you will be taught coping strategies to help you control yourself even in the face of your source of fear. A DBT group is usually a six-month program, and by actively participating in the program may help you recover.
  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR): MBSR is a mental health program that runs for eight weeks. This consists of group meditation classes where participants are taught how to practice mindfulness meditations. It also consists of a group discussion where everyone gets to talk about how they feel.

Use of medications

Although medications are not the cure to phobias, they are administered to help in suppressing anxiety and other symptoms of phobias.

The drugs include:

  • Anti-anxiety medications: This type of drug is administered to reduce anxiety. Valium is a good example of anti-anxiety.
  • Anti-depressant medicines: This type of medication is prescribed because it can lower stress. Lexapro is a common anti-depressant.

Note: These medicines may have a handful of side effects, and using them for a long time may cause addiction and dependence. Therefore, these medications should not be taken outside your doctor’s prescription.

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