The fear of buttons on clothing, known as button phobia or koumpounophobia, is an irrational phobia which is, perhaps surprisingly, a fairly common fear.
Most people who suffer from this phobia are convinced that they are the only ones in the world to suffer from such a strange fear, and they are often teased or taunted by others who do not understand or believe that they are telling the truth.
Irrational fears may be evoked due to traumatic happenings in early childhood, however, most people who do suffer from button phobia seem to admit that they have been afraid of buttons for as long as they can remember. For some people, the fear can also extend to all button-like objects, such as small coins, sequins and other small discs.
Types of buttons
Some people find that plastic buttons are worse than metal ones (like the ones on jeans) or that buttons with four holes are more fear or panic-inducing than those with two.
Degrees of severity
There are several degrees of severity to the phobia, ranging from cringing when others wear buttons and chosing not to wear buttons yourself to not wanting to breathe next to buttons in fear of inhaling one or washing your hands with soap for an extended period of time after any (accidental) contact with buttons. In some people, the sight of buttons may induce vomiting.
Some patients have found that hypnotherapy has been of help to overcome or make their button-suffering less severe.