How to overcome triskaidekaphobia the fear of 13

How to overcome triskaidekaphobia the fear of 13

How to overcome triskaidekaphobia the fear of 13

The American Psychological Association officially recognizes only 100 phobias, but there are actually more than 500 of them in existence. Triskaidekaphobia just happens to be one of them. And this is not just some minor fear, we’re talking about. It’s so intense, in fact, that it disrupts the sufferer’s life.

Anyone who has ever tried to conquer the irrational fear like triskaidekaphobia knows just how difficult the effort can be. Indeed, the seeming impossibility of it all leads many a sufferer to give up, allowing their phobic tendencies to take over their lives.

The good news for these individuals is that triskaidekaphobia can be overcome if it is approached in the right way. Following are five effective strategies for putting this unwanted fear to rest once and for all so that those afflicted with it can reclaim their lives.

Strategy #1

Strategy #1 for Overcoming Triskaidekaphobia or the Fear of The Number 13: Face your fear head on. – Realize that there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Thousands of others face what you are facing every single day. You are not alone in this triskaidekaphobia battle. For this strategy to be most effective, it is best to gradually build up your exposure. Then spend some time in the presence of the very thing that fuels your triskaidekaphobia. Start slow and small and gradually work your way up. Practice and repetition are the keys to this strategy working.

Strategy #2

Strategy #2 for Overcoming Triskaidekaphobia or the Fear of The Number 13: Don’t let panic or setbacks paralyze you. – Everyone has a bad day now and then. The important thing is not to let yours debilitate you from moving forward. Although such days may make it feel like you’re not making any progress, they’re deceitful. On such occasions, step back and assess how far you’ve come with your triskaidekaphobia. If you’re being honest with yourself, chances are you’ll see some real results. Eliminate all doubt and keep telling yourself, “If I’ve come this far, I can keep going. I will prevail.” And then go, go, go starting now, or at the very latest tomorrow.

Strategy #3

Strategy #3 for Overcoming Triskaidekaphobia or the Fear of The Number 13: Keep a big picture perspective. – As Entrepreneur magazine points out, this strategy is all about understanding “what opportunities you have to lose.” You’re afraid of the number 13 but what is allowing your fear of the number 13 to have a stranglehold over you causing you to miss out on? Don’t live with regrets or put off embracing major changes until it’s too late.

Strategy #4

Strategy #4 for Overcoming Triskaidekaphobia or the Fear of The Number 13: “Treat fear as a call to action.” – As an extension of strategy #3, Inc. magazine recommends reframing your notion of your fear of the number 13. Rather than thinking of it as a crippling aspect of your personality that you just have to keep living with, consider it a wake-up call—as a motivator to start claiming the life you’ve always wanted. “Write down a specific plan of the exact steps that you’ll take,” the publication recommends.

Strategy #5

Strategy #5 for Overcoming Triskaidekaphobia or the Fear of The Number 13: “Rewire your brain.”Entrepreneur magazine offers this directive as “one of the surest ways to overcome your fears and develop the courage that is needed to get to where you want to go.” Easier said than done though. That’s where the assistance of a professional can come in handy. But one-on-one counseling sessions are so expensive, you’re telling yourself. Fortunately, there are affordable alternatives. Hypnotherapy has proven itself to be a very effective means of permanently rewiring the brain against triskaidekaphobia. And the good news is that thanks to today’s technology, hypnosis can be performed extremely cost-effectively from the comfort and convenience of your own home.

The Bottom Line

Hypnotism just happens to be an effective solution for all types of phobias. The key is understanding you are not the only person struggling and solutions are always at your finger tips.

Our Recommendation

I have found the best programs for overcoming your phobia are at Hypnosis Downloads. They have many programs that can provide you a solution. Just click here to learn more.

Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13.

Table of Contents

Triskaidekaphobia Symptoms

Phobias should never be taken very lightly. Because, all phobias can to some degree limit a persons daily activities and are in some cases the root cause that make someone experience anxiety and leading up all the way to depression.

The People that are suffering from phobias, are most of the times purposely avoid coming into contact with what it is that triggers them to experience fear or anxiety. For example people that suffer from Triskaidekaphobia, which is a Specific phobia, try to avoid not only the exact objects or situations that trigger it but sometimes in severe cases the thought of those thing all together.

There have been a lot of cases in which an individual has develop a phobia from the number 13 where they become fearful of experiencing anxiety itself because it would make them feel very uncomfortable.

A person doesn’t necessarily need to be in a situation exposed to the number 13 to experience Triskaidekaphobia. The brain doesn’t have to be in that situation to experience the symptoms of panic. A persons brain is capable of creating a reaction to fearsome situations even when the subject is not actually in that situation.

People are different and so are all the types of phobias someone might suffer from. So the symptoms also vary strongly on the severity in which an individual is experiencing these fears. But generally speaking, Specific phobias and fears such as Triskaidekaphobia fall under the category of anxiety disorders. Meaning that a person can experience any if not all of the below mentioned physical and/or psychological symptoms.

Physical Symptoms

People with fear of the number 13 often experience panic attacks. These panic attacks can be extremely frightening and distressing for the person suffering from those. These symptoms most of the time happen suddenly and without any prior signs or warnings. No matter how overwhelming feelings of anxiety, a panic attack can cause real physical symptoms, such as but not limited to the ones below:

  • sweating
  • trembling
  • hot flushes or chills
  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • a choking sensation
  • rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • pain or tightness in the chest
  • a sensation of butterflies in the stomach
  • nausea
  • headaches and dizziness
  • feeling faint
  • numbness or pins and needles
  • dry mouth
  • a need to go to the toilet
  • ringing in your ears
  • confusion or disorientation
  • hyperventilation
  • tightness in the chest/chest pain and difficulty breathing
  • rise in blood pressure

Psychological Symptoms

In some very severe cases, a person suffering a panic attack triggered from Triskaidekaphobia. Usually when exposed to its triggers such as the number 13. Can have one/or all of the following symptoms.

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

On some very special cases, there may be people experiencing intertwined phobias. Or what may be called complex phobias. These can often have a detrimental effect on a person’s everyday life and mental wellbeing. Because they may limit someones life so much that they become uncap-able of leading a normal personal and social life. Hence triggering a chain reaction of the above mentioned symptoms and lastly depression.

Treatment of Triskaidekaphobia

For many individual who are suffering from the number 13 – Triskaidekaphobia. Don’t always feel the need of treatment because they can just avoid the object of their fear. This gives people suffering from Triskaidekaphobia a feeling of control on the problem. But sometimes avoiding the number 13 might not be possible or enough.

It is important for someone to always seek professional help when possible. This way you don’t lose time and do a better job and understanding what is happening. With understanding you can next move on to overcoming your fear of the number 13.

While most phobias are curable, there is no single treatment available for all of them, or guaranteed to work. It strongly depends on the person suffering and severity in which that person is experiencing Triskaidekaphobia. There are cases that a combination of treatments might be more effective.

Talking Treatments for Triskaidekaphobia

Talking treatments or talking therapies, which include counselling, might be very effective at treating fear of the number 13 or Triskaidekaphobia. Talking therapies are very laid back treatments and physically non intrusive which involve talking to a highly trained and proficient professional about your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. There are many different types of talking therapy, but they all aim to:

  • help you recognise unhelpful patterns in the way you think or act, and find ways to change them (if you want to).
  • help you resolve complicated feelings, or find ways to live with them
  • help you make sense of things and understand yourself better
  • give you a safe time and place to talk to someone who won’t judge you

Talking therapies are in most cases the same as counselling, therapy, psychotherapy, psychological therapy, talking treatment. There is usually a very little difference between what’s meant when talking about any of these.

(CBT) Cognitive behavioural therapy

CBT treatments stand on the concept that what we thing and perceive are constantly influencing our behaviour. Experiencing anxiety and distress are in some cases distorting and bending ones perception over reality. Cognitive behavioural therapy aims to identify if they are an accurate depiction of reality, and, if they are not, employ strategies to challenge and overcome them.

For example when someone is experiencing Triskaidekaphobia. Through the help of Cognitive behavioural therapy you could identify if the fear and anxiety experienced from the number 13 is an accurate depiction of reality. And if not working on ways to change that.

Medication

Medication should be never taken without asking a doctor first. In general medication is not recommended for overcoming phobias. Therapies have resulted to be a definitive way to overcome fears. However some types of medication are prescribe as short term solutions to the side effects of phobias. Which include anxiety or depression. There are three general types of medication recommended for treating anxieties.

  1. antidepressants
  2. tranquillisers
  3. beta-blockers

Self-help with Triskaidekaphobia

One of the best ways to overcome any difficulty or be prepare if any might arise in life, is to take good care of oneself. Being able to know how to help yourself is vital not to just be able to control your fear of the number 13, but also other phobias and anxieties before they get more severe.

Daniel B. Block, MD, is an award-winning, board-certified psychiatrist who operates a private practice in Pennsylvania.

How to overcome triskaidekaphobia the fear of 13

Nikolai Mitov / EyeEm / Getty Images

Triskaidekaphobia, or fear of the number 13, does not fit neatly into a clinical definition of a specific phobia. The number 13 is not an object or a situation, and it can be impossible for the sufferer to avoid. Moreover, in order for a phobia to be diagnosed, it must significantly impact the sufferer’s life. Most people with triskaidekaphobia find that their fear only arises in certain situations, and does not significantly impair their lives. But could this phobia just be linked to superstition?

Experts have long debated the scientific validity of triskaidekaphobia. Some feel that it should be classified as superstition or even taken as a sign of magical thinking, which in conjunction with other symptoms, could point to a delusional disorder.

Origins

Regardless of its scientific classification, triskaidekaphobia is an age-old and pervasive fear. It is commonly linked to the early Christians, as the number 13 appears in certain Biblical traditions. For example, there were 13 people present at the Last Supper, Jesus and his 12 Apostles. Some say that betrayer Judas was the 13th to join the table. This may be the origin of the superstition that states that when 13 dine; one will die within the year. However, the number 13 is also presented positively in the Bible. For example, the book of Exodus speaks of the 13 attributes of God, so this association is unfounded, despite the persistent correlation being made.

Additionally, evidence for this phobia can be found in some pre-Christian traditions. For example, in Viking mythology, Loki is believed to be the 13th god. He is also said to have intruded on the Banquet of Valhalla, to which 12 gods were invited. The god Baldr was soon killed accidentally by his brother, using a spear given to him by Loki.

The oldest known reference to the fear of the number 13 can be found in the Mesopotamian Code of Hammurabi, a Babylonian code of law that dates to approximately 1760 BC. The laws are numbered, but number 13 is omitted (along with numbers 66 through 99). Therefore, it is possible that triskaidekaphobia was widespread even among the ancient peoples.

Modern Culture

Today, triskaidekaphobia is widely accepted among Western cultures. Most Western hotels omit the 13th floor. Many airlines omit the 13th row in seating. Even some cities and towns skip over 13th Street. Friday the 13th is considered a particularly unlucky day and there has been a movie franchise that has profited from the superstition surrounding it. Fear of Friday the 13th is known as paraskevidekatriaphobia. The origins of this fear are unknown but may be connected to the arrest of the Knights Templar on Friday, October 13, 1307.

Many cultures have traditions of unlucky numbers other than 13. These beliefs, like our fear of 13, are typically rooted in ancient events that were somehow connected with the number in question. Regardless of its scientific classification, triskaidekaphobia is a very real fear for many people and a folklore legend to others. It appears to be an ancient and widespread phobia whose origins may never be fully understood.

How to overcome triskaidekaphobia the fear of 13

Triskaidekaphobia is persistent, irrational and unwarranted fear of the number 13. This number has always been associated with something negative or evil: Jesus’ famous Last supper had 13 guests, the 13 th being the same one who betrayed Him. People with Triskaidekaphobia are called Triskaidekaphobes. They tend to experience severe anxiety at the thought or sight of this number. As a result, they might refuse to step out of their homes on the 13 th day of each month or avoid anything that has to do with it. In many cases, this fear can be deeply debilitating.

How to overcome triskaidekaphobia the fear of 13

Even more common is the fear of number 13 that arrives on a Friday. This fear or phobia associated with Friday the 13 th is termed as Paraskevidekatriaphobia. . In France, King Philip IV was known to have conducted raids, arrested and tried the templar knights on charges of blasphemy, homosexuality etc on October 13 th 1307, which happened to be a Friday. Friday the 13 th has hence been known to be associated with many urban legends.

There are many superstitious beliefs associated with Friday as well: it is believed that evil arises on this day, especially because Lord Jesus’ crucifixion took place on a Friday. People are hence known to avoid gambling or buying lottery tickets on this day. (However, contrary evidence has actually shown that many lucky winners have won millions of dollars playing the lottery on Friday the 13 th and children born on Friday the 13 th are actually considered blessed in some cultures). Hence, in many cultures, people host Friday the 13 th parties to celebrate the day. In Brazil however, Friday the 13 th in August is considered very ‘harmful or dangerous’ since August rhymes with ‘desgosto’ or sorrow.

Thus, across the world, there are many beliefs and associations with the number 13 and Friday, and not all of them are good or positive.

Causes of Triskaidekaphobia

Whatever is the source or trigger of fear of the number 13, it is now known that logical and systematic thought has limits. The phobic often knows his fear is irrational and unwarranted, yet he is powerless to control it.

  • As stated above, the fear of the number 13 is deeply rooted in humans due to traditions as well as its Biblical association. Judas, who betrayed Jesus ultimately and led to His subsequent death, was believed to have been the 13 th Apostle present at the Last Supper.
  • In modern culture, the fear of the number 13 might be instigated further by airlines and hotels since many refuse to use this number while numbering their aisles, floors, rooms etc.
  • A negative or traumatic event occurring in someone’s life on the 13 th day of the month might also trigger Triskaidekaphobia.
  • Movies, news reports, and books on this topic can all enhance this fear.
  • The phobia might also be associated with other phobias like Thanatophobia, Agoraphobia etc. People already suffering from anxiety or panic disorders are more likely to experience Triskaidekaphobia

Symptoms of fear of the number 13 phobia

Symptoms of this phobia may be emotional, mental or physical. There is a constant movie or negative stills playing in the phobic’s mind.

  1. The Triskaidekaphobe will try to avoid anything that has to do with this number.
  2. S/he experiences deep anxiety or dread at the thought or sight of number 13
  3. Often, one is unable to function normally due to the fear.
  4. S/he might experience one or more of the following: rapid heart rate, shallow breathing, chest pains, fainting spells, shaking, trembling, urge to cry or scream or hide etc.
  5. The phobic is scared of having a panic attack that may cause him/her to lose control and embarrass oneself.

Treatment for Triskaidekaphobia

To overcome any phobia, it is important to find out how the mind creates the fear of a certain object or situation.

  • Hypnosis is a great way of finding the root of the fear. Once the phobic understands the roots, s/he is in a better position to overcome it.
  • Writing down one’s fearful thoughts and changing them to positive or happy thoughts is another way of overcoming anxiety associated with the number 13.
  • Meditation, deep breathing, yoga and other powerful mind-body techniques can also help relieve anxiety.
  • Drugs and medicines may be used but these are not long term solutions and they also have harmful side effects and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Creating new neural pathways in the brain is an important technique to overcome phobia or fear of the number 13. This is done through a therapy called NLP which stands for neuro linguistic programming. It can help recode the mind with new feelings and situations so that the brain does not evoke the same response each time it encounters the number 13.

Thus, a number of methods can be used for overcoming Triskaidekaphobia but it is best to seek expert help to learn techniques that can help one ‘rewire’ the mind and overcome the fear of number 13 once and for all.

What is Triskaidekaphobia or Fear of Number 13?

Triskaidekaphobia is an unusual phobia in which a person develops fear of the numeric number 13. The person suffering from this type of fear tends to associate number 13 with something evil or threatening. People who develop triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13 are referred as Triskaidekaphobes. A mere sight of this number is enough to trigger panic in a person suffering from Triskaidekaphobia. Some people can even develop anxiety by just thinking about this number. The people suffering from this phobia try to avoid going out of the house to school or office on every 13th day of the month as they fear that something bad may happen.

There is another severe form of this fear where triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13 combines with the fear of Friday. It makes the fear worse. This type of fear is termed as Paraskevidekatriaphobia and the people facing this phobia are called as Paraskevidekatriaphobic. Any Friday with a date of 13 can develop an intense fear and panic in such people. The fear seems to have derived from the event of October 13th 1307 which was a Friday. On this day, King Philip IV carried out raids and arrested templar knights on charges of homosexuality and blasphemy. Several urban legends are also associated with the Friday that falls on 13th.

Some people also associate the fear of Friday with superstition as they believe that certain evils come out specifically on Friday as Lord Jesus’ crucifixion happened on the same day. People try to avoid activities such as buying lottery and gambling on this day as they believe that it is an unlucky day. The facts and figures suggest that the triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13 is absurd as there are numerous incidents of people winning millions of dollars in lottery and gambling on the same day.

Moreover, there are some cultures in the world where children born on 13th are considered to have good fortune. Moreover, there are many festivals and celebrations associated with same day in various cultures. Brazil is probably the only country where Friday the 13th is thought to be unlucky and harmful for some reasons. Thus, we have seen that there are all types of thoughts (positive as well as negative) are popular among the world about the triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13.

Causes of Triskaidekaphobia or Fear of Number 13

Although, there is a large segment of people who are very well aware of their condition but still finds in very difficult to overcome their triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13. Experts have proved that systematic and logical thinking is limited and sometimes it is not enough to overcome this unusual fear.

  • One of the main causes of people developing triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13 is the events mentioned in bible that occurred on this specific date. One such event is the betrayal of Judas to Lord Jesus that led to his death.
  • In the modern world, some airlines and hotels seem to increase the triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13 in the minds of the people by avoiding this number while assigning numbers to rooms or floors.
  • Any traumatic event occurred on 13th day of the month can also cause a permanent fear of this number in the mind.
  • Watching news on television or reading in newspapers about any traumatic event on 13th day of the month can also trigger this change in the normal behavior.
  • People suffering from some other phobias such as Thanatophobia, Agoraphobia etc… can also gradually develop this fear of number 13.

Symptoms of Triskaidekaphobia or Fear of Number 13

Triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13 can result into all types of symptoms including physical, mental and emotional. The thoughts of the event keep repeating in the mind of the person.

  • Tendency to avoid anything and everything that is associated to number 13 in any way.
  • Feeling of anxiety or fear when exposed to a sight or even thought of number 13.
  • Abnormal behavior surrounded by fear all the time without any reason.
  • Some other symptoms of triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13 include pain in chest, increased heart rate, trembling, shaking, nervousness etc…

Treatment for Triskaidekaphobia or Fear of Number 13

The triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13 basically resides in the mind of the person. Thus, all the treatment options focus on getting rid of the fear from the mind of the person.

  • Some counselors use hypnotism to get into the subconscious mind of the person to find out about any event that possibly resulted into triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13. This gives him a chance to get rid of the negative memories of that event.
  • Another way to treat triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13 is by asking the patients to confront their fear by discussing about it and writing the same.
  • There are certain effective techniques such as Yoga, deep breathing and meditation that are very helpful is getting rid of the beliefs of triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13.
  • Drugs and other medications can also be used to suppress the symptoms of triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13 temporarily but does not serve as the permanent solution. Also, the use of medications on long term can cause certain side-effects.
  • Neuro linguistic programming (NLP) is an advanced way of treating triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13. In this method, some new neural pathways are created in the brain to manipulate the ugly memories of an event that has triggered the fear of number 13. Thus, when the person is exposed to the same situation in the future, there are no memories to trigger any fear or trauma.

Risk Factors for Triskaidekaphobia or Fear of Number 13

The following factors can increase the risk of developing triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13:

  • Children who are less than 10 years old have higher risk of developing triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13.
  • If you watch someone behaving abnormally to a situation of object again and again, there are chances that you can also develop the same fear in your behavior. Thus, there is a high risk of developing triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13 if you have someone in the family suffering from this phobia.
  • Your attitude and your sensitivity to situations can also make you an easy candidate of triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13.
  • Confronting a traumatic situation can sometimes result into the fear to those situations or objects involved in the scene.

Prevention of Triskaidekaphobia or Fear of Number 13

If there are children in your home, they can easily develop the same fear of triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13 by looking at your behavior. Thus, it becomes essential to get treated for your fears as soon as possible to prevent the fear from spreading into your child’s belief. You can seek psychological help from a counselor to get rid of the fear out of your mind and learn to face your fears. However, triskaidekaphobia or fear of number 13 is not transferred genetically from parents into the children.

Daniel B. Block, MD, is an award-winning, board-certified psychiatrist who operates a private practice in Pennsylvania.

How to overcome triskaidekaphobia the fear of 13

Nikolai Mitov / EyeEm / Getty Images

Triskaidekaphobia, or fear of the number 13, does not fit neatly into a clinical definition of a specific phobia. The number 13 is not an object or a situation, and it can be impossible for the sufferer to avoid. Moreover, in order for a phobia to be diagnosed, it must significantly impact the sufferer’s life. Most people with triskaidekaphobia find that their fear only arises in certain situations, and does not significantly impair their lives. But could this phobia just be linked to superstition?

Experts have long debated the scientific validity of triskaidekaphobia. Some feel that it should be classified as superstition or even taken as a sign of magical thinking, which in conjunction with other symptoms, could point to a delusional disorder.

Origins

Regardless of its scientific classification, triskaidekaphobia is an age-old and pervasive fear. It is commonly linked to the early Christians, as the number 13 appears in certain Biblical traditions. For example, there were 13 people present at the Last Supper, Jesus and his 12 Apostles. Some say that betrayer Judas was the 13th to join the table. This may be the origin of the superstition that states that when 13 dine; one will die within the year. However, the number 13 is also presented positively in the Bible. For example, the book of Exodus speaks of the 13 attributes of God, so this association is unfounded, despite the persistent correlation being made.

Additionally, evidence for this phobia can be found in some pre-Christian traditions. For example, in Viking mythology, Loki is believed to be the 13th god. He is also said to have intruded on the Banquet of Valhalla, to which 12 gods were invited. The god Baldr was soon killed accidentally by his brother, using a spear given to him by Loki.

The oldest known reference to the fear of the number 13 can be found in the Mesopotamian Code of Hammurabi, a Babylonian code of law that dates to approximately 1760 BC. The laws are numbered, but number 13 is omitted (along with numbers 66 through 99). Therefore, it is possible that triskaidekaphobia was widespread even among the ancient peoples.

Modern Culture

Today, triskaidekaphobia is widely accepted among Western cultures. Most Western hotels omit the 13th floor. Many airlines omit the 13th row in seating. Even some cities and towns skip over 13th Street. Friday the 13th is considered a particularly unlucky day and there has been a movie franchise that has profited from the superstition surrounding it. Fear of Friday the 13th is known as paraskevidekatriaphobia. The origins of this fear are unknown but may be connected to the arrest of the Knights Templar on Friday, October 13, 1307.

Many cultures have traditions of unlucky numbers other than 13. These beliefs, like our fear of 13, are typically rooted in ancient events that were somehow connected with the number in question. Regardless of its scientific classification, triskaidekaphobia is a very real fear for many people and a folklore legend to others. It appears to be an ancient and widespread phobia whose origins may never be fully understood.

Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number 13. The fear or the phobia of number 13 has existed for many centuries. It was not influenced by pop culture or movies depicting Friday the 13th as an inauspicious day.

Triskaidekaphobia is a term that originates from four Greek words: tris which means 3, kai which means and, deka which means 10 and phobos which means fear. The fear of Friday the 13th is a subtype of triskaidekaphobia where the number 13 may not be the sole cause of fear but the combined factor of a Friday being the 13th. This condition or fear of the number 13 on a Friday is known as paraskevidekatriaphobia and friggatriskaidekaphobia.

Is fear of the number 13 real or is it just a superstition or a false belief that people have harbored through the centuries?

The truth is very simple but yet it is unacceptable to most people who suffer from triskaidekaphobia or the fear of the number 13. There have been numerous arguments and counterarguments in favor and against of the phobia. Those who propagate the authenticity or legitimacy of the fear try to reference numerous instances in history wherein the number 13 has been held to be unlucky, a vice and evil. But there are as many counterarguments if not more that debunk all the arguments and state facts to substantiate that the number 13 doesn’t actually reflect anything evil or unlucky. It is purely a manifestation of some people which have influenced the psyche or thoughts of generations thereafter.

There are biblical references drawn by the believers, almost all of which have been debunked. From Judas being the 13th person to sit at the table during the last supper to the numerous translations of the Code of Hammurabi leading to contrarian views, there are many historical artifacts and evidences which compel one to believe that the fear of the number 13 is unfounded.

In recent history, the Apollo 13 incident and some minor incidents in certain regions around the world have reinforced the belief of some people. But largely, most people look at the technical realities and rationales instead of fuelling triskaidekaphobia.

Whoever is suffering from the fear of the number 13 can easily avoid using that number and all mentions of it if that makes him or her comfortable, lucky, safe and at ease. Truth is often not what the reality is; there is more than one perspective of truth.

The term triskaidekaphobia describes a specific phobia associated with the number 13. The link has arisen because so many unlucky events in history have become connected with this number. Triskaidekaphobia affects millions of Americans and Europeans (but not Asians). In Asian cultures, the number 13 is considered lucky and so they are not afflicted by this irrational fear.

The word triskaidekaphobia can be broken down into three Greek words. In translation, the term means “the number three” plus “the number ten” equals “fear”.

The origin of this fear of misfortune arising around the number 13 is thought to date from at least Babylonian times, circa 1780 BC. Archaeological excavations have unearthed numbered lists from this era which miss out item number 13. However, this may just have been a contemporary clerical error. Most explanations of this superstition (or phobia) use much later events to illustrate its possible origins.

One common theory is that relating to Jesus Christ and the Last Supper. Christians believe that Judas (who betrayed Jesus to the authorities) was the thirteenth person to attend the Last Supper. However, no references to this theory have been found in any documents prior to the 12th century. Where the number 13 and Friday coincide, many people consider this to be an especially inauspicious day. This is because the crucifixion of Christ took place on a Friday.

There is the very practical theory that having 13 guests to dinner makes for an uncomfortable and difficult seating plan. If you only have 12 guests, the invited party divides easily into twos (for matchmaking purposes), into threes (for having small intimate discussions) or even into fours (ideal for playing card games like bridge).

Research published in the British Medical Journal in 1993 links Friday the 13th to an increase in car accidents. The study by Scanlon et al. showed that “the risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52%. Staying at home is recommended.”

John Roach writing for the National Geographic in 2004, interviewed Donald Dossey, founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina. Mr Dossey estimated that between $800 and $900 million is loss to American businesses whenever Friday 13th occurs. These losses are due to people staying at home rather than going to work, or delaying completing business deals.

Richard Wiseman, a British psychologist who specializes in research on lucky and unlucky people, has questioned people in relation to their superstitious beliefs and Friday the 13th. He was testing his theory that people make their own luck. In a study of 4000 people, he first asked participants to state whether they considered themselves to be lucky or unlucky people. He then asked whether they dreaded the number 13 and/or Friday.

The study found that of those who considered themselves to be lucky only 22% of them dreaded Friday and/or the number 13. This compared to 55% of those who considered themselves to be unlucky.

Triskaidekaphobia may be a superstitious belief rather than a true phobia. However, for those who suffer from it the symptoms and beliefs are very real. The symptoms can range from mild nervousness through to a full-blown panic attack.