Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Nothing’s Sacred

Balloon phobia

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 05 November 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6652
  1. Colin Brewer, writer, researcher, and former psychiatrist, London
  1. brewerismo{at}

Phobia of balloons (the party, not hot air, variety) may seem a reason for mirth rather than serious attention but can need surprisingly urgent intervention. Its prevalence is not easy to discover but, among cases of which I’ve heard, the presenting circumstances were identical.

After being sensitised in childhood by exploding balloons, patients tend to avoid proximity to balloons. For most that’s not difficult. Many with flying phobia simply don’t fly, but, just as this can become a big problem when a job or relationship is at stake, so fear of balloons (globophobia) can also cause crises. This is because balloon-phobics usually …

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