Zoophobia (Fear Of Animals)

Zoophobia is a word that includes the fear of specific kinds of animals, for example spiders (arachnophobia), bees (apiphobia), birds (ornithophobia), and so on. Zoophobia is not all dread of animals though, as it is normal and healthy even to fear some types of animals.

Overview

Zoophobia is a human psychological disorder which leads to an unreasonable fear of all organisms in the world except people. It’s one of the most painful phobias as it’s marked by the inexplicable and irrational fear of animals.

From the usual animals reared as pets to tigers and lions in the zoo, people with Zoophobia (Zoophobes) can’t stand being in front of animals and can experience panic attacks when facing any animal. Zoophobes get a sudden rush of fear and adrenaline when they are in front of animals and even insects sometimes.

The effect of Zoophobia greatly depends on things like the gender and mental state of the victim. Almost everyone is phobic to different types of insects and animals but when it gets so serious that it can trigger panic attacks or even heart disease, it’s certainly a symptom of a psychological condition.

The list of fears which zoophobes have is quite long. Here are some examples of Zoophobia.

  • Cynophobia (fear of dogs)
  • Chiroptophobia (fear of bats)
  • Arachnophobia (fear of arachnids)
  • Ailurophobia (fear of cats)
  • Batrachophobia (fear of amphibians)
  • Ranidaphobia (fear of frogs)
  • Ornithophobia (fear of birds)
  • Entomophobia (fear of insects)
  • Hippophobia/Equinophobia (fear of horses)
  • Herpetophobia (fear of reptiles or amphibians)
  • Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes)
  • Musophobia (fear of mice or rats)
  • Scoleciphobia (fear of worms)
  • Ichthyophobia (fear of fish)

Symptoms of Zoophobia

Zoophobes may suffer intense anxiety and dread. Some people may suffer panic attacks when they think, see, or come into contact with an animal. Panic attacks often have very unpleasant and uncomfortable symptoms.

Sufferers may feel like they urgently need to wriggle out of the scene, they may feel nervous, uneasy, nauseous, sick, faint, dizzy, and experience shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, palpitations, shaking, and trembling.

For some people, Zoophobia can be extremely upsetting and distressing. Many Zoophobes will avoid trips to the zoo, safari parks, or circus. For those with a phobia for domestic animals, at worst they may avoid visiting other people’s homes with pets, and even avoid leaving home due to the risk of sighting a domestic animal like a dog or cat.

Zoophobia symptoms originate from an irrational dread of animals. It is normal, even healthy, to be afraid of wild animals, including tigers, lions, crocodiles, alligators, or snakes as they can cause harm to humans. The fear becomes phobic when it is channeled towards creatures that aren’t naturally threatening, or when it worsens such that one changes their usual activities due to fear.

If the symptoms above have been happening persistently for more than 6 months, then you’ll need to consult a doctor. Furthermore, if your everyday chores involve animals and pets and worrying about them has changed your behavior, it’d be ideal to get treated.

Causes of Zoophobia

Zoophobia is quite common and exists all over the planet. Usually, it stems from an unpleasant childhood experience involving some animal(s). In certain cases, the fear disappears by itself without any particular treatment. In other severe cases, the fear persists for life.

The most common reason for developing this phobia is the intense stress or anxiety that develops in one’s mind. This emotion is filed away deep in the brain and is recalled every time one finds themselves in a difficult situation. This usually includes being in the company of the animal that the person fears.

It’s vital to remember that Zoophobia is a persistent, inexplicable, and irrational dread of animals regardless of how harmless or non-threatening they are. In many cases, the fear of spiders and snakes can be regarded as quite normal and necessary.

Zoophobia treatment

Zoophobia may be treated with medicines and psychotherapies under the supervision of a mental health specialist.

Relaxation technique with exposure therapy

This is arguably one of the best psychotherapies for treating certain phobias. When it comes to exposure therapy, one needs to resist fearful situations involving images of animals or the animals themselves.

Also, the therapist teaches relaxation techniques like controlling breathing, meditation, and mental visualization to deal with the anxiety while exposed to animals. Exposure therapy mainly aims to slowly build tolerance in the individual towards their fear.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is concerned with modifying the thoughts and behavior of an individual. The therapist will regularly hold counseling sessions with patients suffering from Zoophobia and will attempt to find out and understand the fear in order to replace it with positive reactions. The ultimate aim is to let go of the anxiety and stress, and have more confidence to deal with Zoophobia.

With CBT, you can learn:

  • How to overcome and deal with symptoms of anxiety
  • What factors can cause a panic attack or related symptoms and what worsens them
  • Specific methods to overcome your worries directly, like the possibility of bad things that can occur in social situations
  • How to change unwanted or unhealthy behaviors with desensitization so as to safely deal with situations and places that cause anxiety and fear
  • That anxiety gradually eases if you stay in situations

Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy can also be useful for treating Zoophobia. The victim is gradually exposed to animal images and/or animals in a controlled manner in order to control feelings of panic that occur and slowly gain confidence to positively deal with the situation. This eventually desensitizes the individual.

Energy psychology

Energy psychological is an excellent treatment for many fears and phobias. This is because in many studies it’s been proven to be safe, rapid, long-lasting, and effective. It’s based on a practice and theory that’s been around for more than 2,000 thousand years. Energy psychology can lead to:

  • Change of thought patterns, often very quickly
  • Quick and easy change of behavior
  • Development of techniques and skills which are essential for life in all situations

Neuro-linguistic program

NLP is primarily the procedure of how one creates their own reality. From the viewpoint of neuro-linguistic programming, a fear (phobia) is the product of the programs (constructs) that you’ve made that do not work that well. With this therapy, these constructs are exposed and ‘reprogrammed’ in order to minimize and even get rid of Zoophobia. The interventions are usually quite fast and effective.

Medicines

In serious cases, medications may also help with managing the anxiety and fear. Commonly used medications are anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs which balance out brain chemicals like Serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical that determines the temperament and mood of a person.

The choice of medicine and the right dosage depends on factors like one’s personal needs, comorbidities, safety, efficacy, as well as frequency and severity of symptoms.

Home remedies

Practicing the guidelines or lessons provided by the therapist during psychotherapy treatments is the most effective home remedy for animal phobia or Zoophobia. You can control Zoophobia by taking some measures such as overcoming the anxiety, fear, and shattering mental ties. Your family and friends psychologically support you to reduce phobia and emotional distress.

Prevention of Zoophobia

Zoophobia may be prevented early on with the assistance of a health professional or with self-care. Reprogramming your mind with good thoughts about animals can be a great way to keep Zoophobia at bay.

People with Zoophobia can deal with fear by refraining from stressful situations, creating mental visualization, and acting positively.

Under the supervision of a qualified mental health expert, you can proactively deal with Zoophobia by facing your worries. It’s vital to inform your family that you’ve got Zoophobia so they can help you to cope with such situations better.