Ophidiophobia: Definition, Facts & Treatment

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  • 0:05 What Is Ophidiophobia?
  • 0:53 Symptoms
  • 1:16 Causes
  • 2:03 Treatment Options
  • 3:26 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Vidhi Desai
Remember when you were a child and things like the dark and monsters were scary? You probably outgrew those fears with time. There are times that people don't outgrow fears, and actually develop longstanding, debilitating fears called phobias. Learn about the phobia of snakes in this lesson.

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.

Symptoms

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
  • Screaming
  • Crying
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Trembling
  • Increased heart rate

Causes

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.

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