Vidhi holds a Masters in Education, B.A. in Spanish Literature from Rutgers University. Vidhi has experience working in academic affairs and staff management.
What Is Ophidiophobia?
Ophidiophobia is the extreme fear of snakes. The fear of snakes is one of the most common phobias in adults. The word ends in phobia which indicates that this is not a common, everyday dislike and slight disgust regarding snakes. When something ends in 'phobia,' it means that it is an irrational fear and can result in anxiety.
People with ophidiophobia may have varied fears. Not all sufferers have the same exact fear. Some may fear small snakes, some may fear large snakes, and others may fear both. In extreme cases, sufferers may be afraid of locations in which snakes might be, such as the woods or pet stores. They may refuse to visit friends' homes if they have pet snakes. They might even start fearing things that resemble snakes, like rope.
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Some symptoms people with ophidiophobia exhibit include:
- Fear of snake encounters
- Fear of snake photos
- Fear of snakes on television
- Fear of locations where snakes may be present
Any of these fears might result in:
- Anxiety attacks
- Difficulty breathing
- Increased heart rate
In general, psychologists believe that phobias result from traumatic experiences surrounding the feared item. There are times that phobias arise without being connected to past experiences.
Consider this example:
At six years old, Jenny and Roxy are playing in the backyard. Roxy jumps on a pile of leaves and suddenly screams out in pain. Jenny sees a snake's mouth around Roxy's leg, and blood streaming down her leg. Roxy goes to the hospital and has to stay for an extended period of time. After the incident, she never wanted to play in the yard. She became scared of going near a pile of leaves and refused to play outside in the fall season. At age 20, Jenny is diagnosed with ophidiophobia because she never got over her fear of snakes. She finally goes into counseling.
It is important to remember that phobias can be treated and people can live a normal, healthy lifestyle even if they suffered from extreme fear at one point. Some treatment options include individual counseling. Sometimes, simply talking to a professional can help overcome irrational fears. Counseling can serve as a way to release negative feelings as well as learn coping strategies. Another treatment involves cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Counselors may use CBT to help patients come up with strategies to align their thoughts and feelings with reality. They may teach techniques to manage fears.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is another type of treatment option. For ophidiophobia, EMDR can address past fears, traumatic experiences, present fears, and more. The goal of EMDR is to help the sufferer cope with the past so that he or she can move forward. This is a type of exposure therapy, which would require things like looking at pictures of snakes or even handling small snakes. Hypnosis can also help. This can help promote relaxation. The effectiveness of hypnosis in overcoming phobias varies from person to person. Another option is antianxiety medicine. If the phobia causes anxiety, medication used to treat symptoms of anxiety can help. There is no specific medicine for ophidiophobia.
Ophidiophobia is the extreme fear of snakes, which could involve being frightened of snake encounters, snake pictures or snake lairs. People with ophidiophobia might become anxious, scream, cry or tremble. They might also have difficulty breaking or exhibit an increased heart rate. Some treatment options include counseling, anti-anxiety medication, hypnosis, cognitive behavioral therapy or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.
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Ophidiophobia: Definition, Facts & Treatment
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