Many fears impact people’s lives. Chromophobia — also known as chromatophobia — is a fear of colors. The meaning of chromophobia derives from the Greek words “chromos” (color) and  phobos” (fear).

Phobias of specific colors have individual names:

  • Cyanophobia: Fear of blue
  • Xanthophobia: Fear of yellow
  • Prasinophobia: Fear of green
  • Chrysophobia: Fear of orange
  • Rhodophobia: Fear of pink
  • Kastanophobia: Fear of brown
  • Leukophobia: Fear of white
  • Melanophobia: Fear of black

Causes of Chromatophobia

One prominent cause of chromophobia is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Traumatic events during childhood or adolescence can train a victim’s mind to associate a neutral stimulus with the event. With chromophobia, the mind associates the traumatic event with a particular color, which then causes a reaction when the person sees that hue.

Other causes of chromatophobia include conditioning. Some people feel an intense fear toward a color because they witness a traumatic event without experiencing it themselves. Cultural conditioning labels certain colors as unfavorable, and this can lead people to fear those hues. People with phobias do not respond to logic, as they suffer from a conditioned behavior not based on fact.

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Symptoms of Chromophobia

Symptoms of chromophobia can vary between individuals. The symptoms correlate with the fear’s severity. A mild case of chromophobia could appear as chronic anxiety unless the victim notes the correlation of the fear with the color.

Some symptoms include:

  • Extreme anxiety or panic attacks.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Nervousness or shaking.
  • Exaggerated sweating.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Nausea.
  • Inability to speak.

The resulting conditions from this phobia can have lasting impacts on people’s lives. Individuals may experience depression and a lack of interest in relationships due to their limitations. Living with this phobia makes it difficult to leave one’s home without fear.

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Treatment for the Fear of Colors

As with other phobias, there is an available treatment for chromophobia. Treating chromophobia may not eliminate the fear, but it can help people learn to cope and live with it.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common treatment system for anxiety and fear-based conditions. CBT challenges distorted beliefs, regulates emotions and provides coping mechanisms for patients. The overarching goal is reworking the way individuals think to help them overcome their fear.


Hypnosis is another available treatment plan. By experiencing hypnosis, the patient becomes open to new ideas and scenarios. The hypnotist can then encourage a positive outlook about the color or traumatic event.

Exposure Therapy

General exposure goes along with CBT, but therapists can use it alone to help an individual work with their fear. Gradual exposure to the color(s) can help relax the patient and give them a safe space to practice relaxation techniques.

With proper treatment, people with chromophobia can learn to manage their fear healthily and live a less stressful life.

Learn More From HunterLab

Discover more about how color influences the world by working with HunterLab. HunterLab has over 65 years of experience in color compliance. We supply color spectrophotometers and other tools to measure color. To learn more about our color products and services, contact us online and speak to a professional.