About 1/3rd of the world’s population have shown a deep fear of snakes or aversion to snakes otherwise known as ophidiophobia. This fear although popular is not commonly confrontable.
Zoophobia is a general name for the fear of animals, ophidiophobia is a branch of this.
People suffering from ophidiophobia can lead normal lives because they do not get confronted with snakes everyday but for the severe or extreme phobics, mere mentions, images, thoughts or confrontation with snakes can trigger a full blown anxiety attack, heart attacks and even death.
CAUSES OF FEAR OF SNAKES:
Snakes are an ancient and amazing creatures which have been most associated to myths and legends. These is probably the main cause of fear or reverence of them.
Some snakes are also venomous and poisonous and can cause fatal symptoms if not properly take care of.
Ophidiophobia can be caused by:
* traumatic experience by a loved one or to oneself.
* Genetics and hereditary traits.
* Media, TV shows and others portray snakes as dangerous and deadly animals which unintentionally creates a phobia in young and old viewers.
* Ignorance and lack of proper education on snakes.
SYMPTOMS OF OPHIDIOPHOBIA:
According to the descriptions of ophidiophobia, The American Psychiatric Association relates the symptoms of which can be categorized as mental, physical or emotional:
1. Uncontrollable anxiety especially when one is about to be exposed to snakes
2. Feeling that one must do anything to avoid snakes
3. Screaming, crying or experiencing the difficulty to breathe, or trembling or shaking violently when one encounters snakes, their pictures or images on TV etc.
4. Feeling anxious or experiencing increased heart rate when taken to locations where snakes may be present
This phobia can make it’s sufferers unable to enjoy the outdoor life and socially awkward.
TREATMENT OF OPHIDIOPHOBIA:
The best treatment for the fear of snakes is a combination therapy of drug therapy, meditation and counselling.
Other methods include;
* Individual or group therapy;
Phobics are requested to sit and talk with other phobics and non-phobics, in order to, know what they’re doing differently.
* CBT or cognitive behavioural therapy:
It involves the patient being asked to write down the wrong perceptions and thoughts about snakes and asked to go through it later to correct the word affirmations he fore-wrote.
* Relaxation techniques such as meditative yoga, meditation, controlled breathing, counting and positive reaffirmations when confronted with a snake.