Alektorophobia, also known as the fear of chickens, is derived from the Greek word Alektor which translates into rooster and phobos meaning fear.
As the name implies, this phobia causes an irrational, illogical and deep fear of chickens (or other feathered creatures and aves as well as their eggs) in the victims. Typically, direct and personal visual contact causes a panic attack in the individual; other times, the mere images or thoughts of chickens are enough to elicit such reactions from phobics.
Causes of Alektorophobia
Alektorophobia is not a common phobia, and it’s victims tend to have had a traumatic experience involving feathered fowls or other birds.
Naturally, most phobic individuals are never born with the fear; they just learn it owing to certain experiences at social events or during ones school days or while growing up at a domestic farm or at any place inhabited by feathered fowls.
Although most of these feared fowls are domesticated, phobics believe that it might attack them. Usually, this fear is mainly targeted towards the live birds (not their meat). This type of phobia is hence found to be more common in individuals living on farms or in areas dominated with live birds.
Often, people suffering from the fear of chickens do not even remember how it began in the first place.
Evolutionary psychologists believe that it is a part of the brain that recognizes the flight or fight response on seeing the feathered beings.
And In majority of these cases, the fear just continues to intensify with age : from early childhood into late adulthood.
Typical to most phobias, the why is not as important as the how- what this means is that, instead of trying to evaluate or understand where or why the fear is rooted in the phobic, it is paramount to understand how the mind creates this fear (does it create images, what are the thoughts one gets and so on).
This is highly influential when making choices on the appropriate line of treatment in the case of alektorophobia.
Symptoms of the fear of chickens
The symptoms of alektorophobia are both physical and psychological and they include;
* Individuals might display signs of anxiety prior to visiting a farm. For others, even the mental image of a feathered bird is enough to cause a full blown panic attack.
* Most victims of Alektorophobia will go to great lengths to avert confrontations with chickens.
* Irritability or restlessness upon direct or indirect contact with chickens is another symptom of the fear of chickens.
* Dry mouth, sweating and trembling, cardiovascular symptoms like tightness in the chest or difficulty to breathe or increased heart rate are few other physical symptoms of the fear of chickens.
* Nausea and other gastrointestinal distress as well as poor cognisance to form words and articulate thoughts when in contact with chickens.
Treatment of Alektorophobia
Psychologists who have studied alektorophobia and other anxiety phobias affecting individuals worldwide have prescribed some tested and trusted methods and therapies for overcoming the fear of chickens phobia. They are;
* Medications like benzodiazepines may be prescribed but they should be considered as the last line of treatment owing to their severe withdrawal symptoms. Moreover, these drugs do not cure the fear but only treat the anxiety symptoms associated with it on a short term basis. These drugs should not be abused or taken without the prescription of a medical physician.
* Hypnotherapy or hypnoanalysis is useful in helping the individual discover the root cause of the fear and develop new patterns, methods and ideas along with positive suggestions for overcoming it. This line of treatment has been approved by the American Medical Association since 1958 for overcoming many phobias.
* Neuro Linguistic programming is another method used for curing Alektorophobia. “This science is based on the principle that an individual creates words related to his/her phobia and continues to use and think them over and over causing the fear in the first place”.
* Cognitive behavior and behavior therapies that involve exposure and gradual desensitization can be useful to learn to tolerate the anxiety experienced in such cases and with time aid in total desensitization from the phobia. However, the disadvantage of this approach is that it consumes a large amount of time and dedication to completely cure the phobic of alektorophobia.
* Energy therapies like meditation, Tai Chi, Qi Gong techniques and positive visualization, deep controlled breathing etc are self help techniques that are known to help cure many types of phobias. Energy psychology deals with positively morphing the Chi or life force energy so that fear of chickens is eliminated completely as if it was never present in the first place.
As can be seen, there are various methods for overcoming one’s fear of chickens. But it is essential to choose the right cure that gives permanent results rather than temporarily masking the symptoms of Alektorophobia.
And this can only be achieved by the direction of a medical physician.