What is Triskaidekaphobia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Some people are fearful of specific numbers like the number 13. Today, we’ll discuss what is triskaidekaphobia; its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Triskaidekaphobia?

Triskaidekaphobia is the irrational fear of number 13, and it doesn’t fall under the clinical definition of specific phobia. It’s nearly impossible for the patients to avoid the number 13 because it’s not the situation or object. For the diagnosis of a specific phobia, the fear should significantly impact the life of the person.

Many people with triskaidekaphobic conditions experience that their fear arises in particular situations and it doesn’t impair their lives. Many psychological experts are discussing the scientific validation of triskaidekaphobic conditions. However, some experts say that the fear of number 13 falls under the category of superstition, and magical thinking, and it points toward delusional disorder with some symptoms.


The fear of the number 13 has a long association with early Christian history, and the number 13 emerges repetitively in the particular biblical traditions. Some of them are as follows;

  • The book of Exodus outlines the 13 characteristics of God
  • Various superstitions like when 13 have a feast, one person would die within the year
  • Jesus and his 12 apostles, and 13 people were in the last supper

Whether it’s true or not, many people have made a correlation with it. However, some evidence they have found in the Viking mythology, the pre-Christian era, and they’re as follows;

  • Many believe that the Loki was the 13th God
  • Loki interrupted the banquet of Valhalla, where the 12 Gods were invited
  • The accidental murder of God Baldr by his brother, using the spear of Loki given to him

You can find the reference to the number in the earliest history of the Mesopotamian Code of Hammurabi, the code law of Babylonian dates back to roundabout 1760 BC. The laws have got numbering, but the numbers 13, 66, and 99 have been omitted. It implies that the triskaidekaphobic condition was there among the ancient civilizations.

Modern Culture

Triskaidekaphobia or the fear of the number 13 is widely popular and accepted in western culture; especially movie franchises generated a lot of profit around this superstitious belief. Some other instances are the 13th street in some cities, the unlucky day Friday the 13th, the 13th-row seating of many airlines, and the 13th-floor building like omitting this number in many western buildings.

The number 13th is an unlucky number in the western culture, and many other cultures follow the tradition of unlucky numbers. The number is different in different cultures, and they all date back to some or series of ancient events. Regardless of many scientific classifications, the triskaidekaphobic condition is real for many people based on their ancient beliefs. Researchers don’t know and fully understand such ancient widespread phobias.

Symptoms of Triskaidekaphobia 

Triskaidekaphobia is like any other type of specific phobia, and the fear persists in regard to the situation or object. The specific phobia happens along with the episode of anxiety disorder. Some of the main symptoms of specific phobia are as follows;

  • Fainting, dizzy, and nauseated feelings around blood, injury, or other situation
  • Physical sensations and reactions comprising difficult breathing, tight chest, rapid heartbeat, and sweating
  • Trouble performing various functions due to the fear
  • Avoiding every situation or object that would cause anxiety or fear
  • Aggravated anxiety when you come closer to the particular situation
  • Immediate feelings of fear, panic, or anxiety attack when thinking about the particular thing or situation relevant to the number 13

Causes of Triskaidekaphobia 

Just like any other type of specific phobia, researchers don’t fully know the exact causes of specific phobias like triskaidekaphobia. Some of the main possible causes of specific phobia are as follows;

  • Brain Function: the change in the brain structure and brain function play a significant role in the development of a specific phobia
  • Environment & Genetics: there is a link and association between your own specific phobia and the anxiety or phobia of your parent, it may be learned from their behavior, genetic, or hereditary
  • Negative Experiences: many people develop specific phobia based on their bad or negative experiences about a particular thing, situation, object, or number

Diagnosis of Triskaidekaphobia 

Your doctor would diagnose triskaidekaphobia based on the clinical interview, knowing your medical and psychiatric history. Since the triskaidekaphobic condition doesn’t originally fall under the category of specific phobia, your therapist would examine you thoroughly to remove the possibility of other conditions. 

Treatment of Triskaidekaphobia 

The treatment plan for triskaidekaphobia comprises of following;


CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is a very effective therapeutic approach, and it comprises learning about fear and knowing why it is causing it. Your therapist would desensitize you through alternative beliefs. The focus of CBT is to build up your confidence and self-esteem and make you capable to deal with fears by yourself rather than getting overwhelmed by them.


Psychotherapy is a very effective treatment method for triskaidekaphobia. Your doctor would prescribe medicine to treat the symptoms of a panic attack or anxiety caused by the fear of number 13. Some of the medicines they suggest are as follows;

  • Sedatives
  • Beta-blockers

Conclusion: What is Triskaidekaphobia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is triskaidekaphobia; its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment; we have realized that a triskaidekaphobic condition could negatively impact your life. If you’re experiencing its symptoms, then you should consult with the therapist as soon as you can.