Phobias are scientifically verified to be true even though they seem irrational. They can be challenging to deal with, especially when a child has it, it becomes even difficult to handle them. One of the most common phobias in the world is zoophobia. As the name suggests, you might be able to determine that it is the fear of animals. It is a fairly common anxiety disorder but once it is identified, it should be treated immediately.
Zoophobia can be problematic at times especially when you have a pet at home. Are you wondering if you have zoophobia-the fear of animals? This article will help you out in knowing so.
Read on to find more out about this phobia of animals!
Zoophobia: Meaning and symptoms
Have you ever been so scared of an animal that you were shivering or felt anxious for hours? It might be a sign you have zoophobia. So, what actually is zoophobia?
In simple words, zoophobia is a severe, hysterical fear of animals which can cause severe stress or anxiety and lead to diminished quality of life. Animals are beautiful and a part of nature but as humans have evolved with animals, zoophobia has become common, so the most common reason it happens is evolution.
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It is the fear of animals or anxiety disorder where a person gets anxiety or fear by seeing or thinking about animals. Many people have a phobia of some particular animals, for example,
- Apiphobia (fear of bees)
- Arachnophobia (fear of spiders)
- Cynophobia (fear of dogs)
- Entomophobia (fear of insects)
- Musophobia (fear of mice and rats)
- Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes)
- Entomophobia (fear of insects)
And so many more! Zoophobia is one of the many types of specific phobias, as mentioned above. Are you wondering or confused if you have a phobia of animals? Well, here are the symptoms to discern if you actually have the fear of animals!
Symptoms of zoophobia
As you are aware of zoophobia meaning, it’s time to know about some common symptoms of zoophobia. Symptoms of zoophobia can range from mild to severe. You may or may not have it. Here are the symptoms of zoophobia for your knowledge:
Emotional symptoms may include:
- The feeling of hysterical fear or anxiety while seeing or thinking about the animal which provokes a phobic reaction.
- Avoiding seeing or thinking about the source of fear at all costs.
- Knowing the fear is excessive compared to the actual threat but still not able to control the feeling of terror.
- Incapability to do routinely work because of the fear or anxiety of the animal that provokes the anxiety.
Physical symptoms may include:
- Increased heart rate
- Heavy breathing
- Dry mouth
Children may also express anxiety and fear with actions like crying, screaming, hiding behind a person or object, becoming still or silent. These symptoms may be an indication that you have zoophobia if your symptoms are severe, please consult talking to the doctor. Zoophobia may be treated when recognised early.
Causes of zoophobia
The fear of animals is very common and exists all around the world and if you think you are alone, well you aren’t, phobia of animals is pretty common and can arise due to many reasons. It cAn be due to frightening experiences or may be hereditary. Here are some causes of zoophobia you should know:
Most of the phobias can happen this way and zoophobia can also be a cause of the past traumatic experience. For example, a person with zoophobia might be chased by a dog or pack of dogs in childhood or maybe they were shocked by some traumatic incident involving an animal which led them to irrational fear. Although, it varies from person to person.
Negative thinking pattern
This is a thinking process where a person could’ve seen a traumatic incident which made them believe that all animals would act violently and terrorise them. This thinking pattern could be a result of a single traumatic event. Having this negative thought process might be a reason a person could fear an animal or a wide group of animals.
Genetics or learned behaviours
Hereditary factors can also be a cause you may develop zoophobia. This happens simply because of brain chemistry and genetic information. Just like genetics, a person can also learn to fear animals from someone close to us such as a sibling or a parent. You may naturally learn the behaviours and get used to that behaviour since childhood or after even growing old.
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How is zoophobia treated?
For treating zoophobia, you need to remember that you are not alone and you shouldn’t be embarrassed by it. Fortunately, there are options available to treat zoophobia. Here are some treatment options that may help treat or cure phobias like zoophobia.
Exposure therapy with relaxation techniques
This is one of the most effective ways to handle and treat phobias like the feat of animals. In this therapy, the person needs to overcome the fearful situation which involves the animals or their images. The therapist might also suggest relaxation techniques. These techniques focus on building forbearance against fear.
Cognitive behaviour therapy
This is another type of treatment option for the fear of animals. It focuses on recognizing and shifting the negative thoughts or beliefs into positive ones. This can help the patient in managing the irrational beliefs and negative behaviour pattern.
Also read: Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For You?
Other options may include medications like antidepressants, beta-blockers or tranquillizers like benzodiazepine. The treatment plans are personalised according to the person’s symptoms and lifestyle.
Zoophobia can be traumatic or worst for some people and coping with it can be very stressful and even aggravating. However, you can try limiting certain activities like going to places which can worsen your phobia, eating a good healthy diet, trying stress-reducing activities and connecting with others, it can be your close friends, your family or your colleagues. Remember, you are not alone!