Fear of the Number 666 (Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia)

Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS

What is hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia?

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia is a big word. The first part of the word is Greek for six hundred sixty-six. The second part of the word, phobia, is Greek for fear or aversion. So, hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia translates to fear of the number 666.

Phobias are types of anxiety disorders, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Phobias are an excessive, irrational fear of something that poses little or no danger in reality. The focus of the phobia can be just about anything, including an animal, person, object, activity or situation. In this case, it is the idea of the number 666.

Fear of the number 666 is a simple phobia. Simple phobias have a specific trigger or stimulus. So, another name for them is specific phobias. They are the most common kind of phobia. The APA estimates that about 9% of people have a simple phobia.

Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia causes an overwhelming and persistent fear of the number 666. It likely relates to a reference in a New Testament verse talking about the number of the beast and 666. There are various interpretations of the verse, some of which imply the number signifies the Antichrist or Satan. Some people fear the number so much, they avoid dates and even store receipts with sixes. Because the fear is so closely related to religion, people may not recognize that the fear is irrational.

What are the symptoms of hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia?

Simple phobias cause a combination of physical and psychological symptoms. The physical symptoms are very real and aren’t something the person imagines. They are the result of the body releasing adrenaline in response to fear or perceived danger. Common physical hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia symptoms include:

  • Shakiness or trembling

Common psychological hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia symptoms include:

  • Avoidance of anything relating to the number 666, including specific dates and labels
  • Intense distress or panic when confronted with the number 666
  • Lack of control over the fear of the number 666
  • Sense of impending doom or dread about the number 666

Symptoms can range from mild to severe. In some cases, they can become disabling. If phobia symptoms are disrupting your life, see your doctor. Early intervention can help regain control over your life and your ability to function normally.

What causes hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia?

Everyone has fears, but most people can keep them in perspective. Simple phobias most likely develop due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It’s possible that some people are more prone to phobias due to their genetics. Inherited traits like personality and temperament could play a role. With hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, the basic fear is rooted in religious beliefs. So, it is a learned behavior or attitude. However, some people may be unable to deal with the fear rationally and develop a full-blown phobia.

Sometimes, people with simple phobias can link their fear to a specific past experience. So, it is also possible that fear of the number 666 could be connected to a very scary event in the past. If this is the case, an area of the brain called the amygdala remembers the reaction. It reminds you of the distress when you encounter the number 666 again.

What are the treatments for hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia?

If you have hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, you should know you don’t have to live with it. When it interferes with your ability to function normally, it’s time to seek treatment. Doctors usually recommend treatment if a phobia is affecting your work, school, social or personal relationships. The most effective hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia treatments are forms of talk therapy including:

  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which helps you identify their fear and learn new beliefs about their fear. A therapist guides you through the process of building confidence in yourself, so you can face your fear. CBT works best in combination with exposure therapy.
  • Exposure therapy, which is also known as desensitization therapy. It uses repeated exposures to your fear that gradually get more intense. A therapist will guide you through controlled situations using anxiety reduction techniques. Once you master your anxiety in a situation, you move to a more intense exposure. The goal is to learn to control your reaction to your fear.

Medications are sometimes useful on a short-term basis. They can help people calm down enough to start talk therapy. Medications can also be helpful if other mood disorders, such as depression, are present. However, long-term management of phobias is most successful with talk therapy.

In general, untreated simple phobias can lead to other problems and complications. This includes:

  • Social isolation, loneliness, and problems with work, school and social relationships
  • Substance abuse with alcohol or drugs as a way to self-medicate and deal with the phobia
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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2020 Sep 21
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