Do you know what a phobia is? It’s about a disorder of the anxiety which is very frequent in humanity, because the irrational fear it can be presented in front of any object or situation, thus being infinite. There are the rarest phobias, such as scopophobia (fear of being watched) or philophobia (fear of love) But, within the most common phobias around the world, we find the fear of snakes. Although ophidiophobia is common, few know why it occurs.
The fear of snakes is latent, we probably think that if we live in an industrialized society, we will never suffer from the phobia of snakes, but we are wrong.
Then, Why do we feel this insurmountable terror when we think of his presence? The researchers of Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences They have done an extensive study on it and have concluded that the fear of snakes is of evolutionary origin. In Supercurioso we tell you everything about this common phobia.
So what is ophidiophobia?
Ophidiophobia is defined as the irrational fear of snakes. this fear can seriously limit a person’s life.This phobia belongs to a group of specific phobias called zoophobia or fear of animals.
In developed countries, 5% of the population suffers from this phobia which, in some cases, is so disabling that it prevents the affected person from entering a dark room, because harmful thoughts are created that a snake may appear there.
This fear of snakes is largely expressed not only when people with ophidiophobia encounter a real snake, they also often suffer when contemplating toy snakes or imitations of their skin.
People who have a phobia of snakes fear the sounds emitted by the animal, its movements, its shape, and do not focus so much on the disgust and disgust that it causes them.
On the other hand, women tend to suffer more frequently from this phobia with a percentage of 7% and 4% in the male population.
1. What is the origin of ophidiophobia?
Scientists until recently doubted the origin of the fear of snakes, as they raised possible hypotheses of this phobia. It was said that it could be learned unconsciously in childhood., perhaps due to some bad time related to this animal. But, on the other hand, they related it to an evolutionary origin.
The baby experiment
The scientists of Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, in collaboration with the University of Uppsala in Sweden, they have carried out an investigation in which babies have been included. In it they observed that they have a stress reaction when they see a snake.
At 6 months, babies have not yet learned that these animals are potentially dangerous. But still, they have a negative reaction when they come into direct or indirect contact with snakes.
The babies were also shown pictures of fish and flowers, alternating them with pictures of snakes. The images were the same size and color, but surprisingly children’s pupils dilated only when snakes appeared.
According to Dr. Stefanie Hoelhl, a neuroscientist at the University of Vienna, if the change in pupil size occurs under constant light conditions, It is a sign that the brain’s noradrenergic system has been activated.which is directly responsible for the stress reactions of individuals and their possible suffering from ophidiophobia.
The conclusion of these scientists, is that the fear of snakes is of evolutionary origin.
Like the primates, We are prepared to quickly identify and react to these types of animals that can represent a danger. As we can see, knowing what ophidiophobia is is also knowing in depth what its origin is.
2. Symptoms of fear of snakes
Like all phobias, ophidiophobia manifests itself as an anxiety disorder. Therefore, people who suffer from this phobia express various symptoms physically and psychologically when they are in a situation of exposure.
On the other hand, the experts decide to divide the symptoms into three groups:
- In the first instance are the physical symptoms, which generate certain reactions in the body such as alterations and changes. Among these changes, there is the acceleration of the heart rate, the sensation of vertigo and dizziness, nausea, uncontrollable tremors, a feeling of suffocation, excessive sweating, pressure and even fainting.
- On the other hand, there are the cognitive symptoms, these they are associated with the ideas and thoughts that arise when a situation with the snake can occur. People with ophidiophobia may experience intrusive thoughts, unpleasant mental images, obsessive speculation, and a sense of unreality.
- Lastly, behavioral symptoms are presented. presented for not being able to drive anxiety control and fear. These acts occur thanks to behaviors such as escape or avoidance, which are behaviors to avoid a “dangerous” situation. These avoidance behaviors are reflected when going to a zoo or open field, where these animals can possibly be found.
3. How to overcome the fear of snakes?
Before telling you which are the most effective treatments to combat ophidiophobia, we need to clarify that any type of method used must be supervised by a specialist. Well, each case presents different pathologies that must be known before starting any treatment.
Now yes, let’s talk about the possible treatments for the fear of snakes. A specific phobia like ophidiophobia needs to use a therapeutic plan, where live exposure techniques are used complemented with breathing techniques and anxiety control.
- The psychotherapy technique is used to deal with the feared situation. In the case of ophidiophobia, the patient must have direct contact with snakes. In this situation, you are encouraged to behave naturally and to think about the benefits that you will obtain if you do so.
- On the other hand, there is cognitive-behavioral therapy in which through cognitive restructuring, the patient’s distorted thoughts are modified. As well as systematic desensitization or in vivo exposure combined with a relaxation treatment.
Both treatments turn out to be a good alternative to treat the fear of snakes, however, in terms of time, it has been established, according to some studies, that the recovery of patients with ophidiophobia is more accelerated in direct exposure therapy.
Ophidiophobia is an irrational fear that must be treated with the help of specialists in the field, also remember that to be diagnosed you need a series of psychological tests that you can’t find on the web. Do you know someone who suffers from ophidiophobia? Tell us! we read you And if you want to know more, we recommend you read some celebrities with phobias.
Beyond ophidiophobia, other phobias that may interest you
Now that we have concluded our article on the phobia of snakes or vipers, we want to leave you with this selection of phobias. Do you have any of them?
- What is sophophobia, fear of studying
- What is crematophobia, the fear of money
- What is turofobia, the fear of cheese.
- What is Eisoptrophobia, the fear of mirrors.
- What is arachnophobia, the fear of spiders.
- What is glossophobia, the fear of speaking in public.
- What is acrophobia, the fear of heights.
- What is haphephobia, the fear of being touched.
- What is decidophobia, the fear of making decisions.
- What is tanotophobia, the fear of death.
- What is aerophobia, the fear of flying by plane.
- What is ophidiophobia, the fear of snakes.
- What is hemophobia, the fear of blood.
- What is clautrophobia, the fear of closed spaces.
- What is coulrophobia, the fear of clowns.