Perhaps not as well known as some of the other phobias, Anthophobia is an intense fear of flowers that poses little or no actual danger. While flowers might seem to be a strange thing to fear for non-sufferers, part of being diagnosed with a phobia is that the fear is irrational and persistent. Though sufferers realize that they truthfully are under no threat from flowers, they cannot shake the phobia.
Symptoms of Anthophobia
Symptoms of Anthophobia tend to follow along the lines of the symptoms of other similar phobias and anxiety disorders. When in the presence of flowers, or in some cases of simply thinking about flowers, sufferers may experience:
- Feelings of panic, fear or dread
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heart rate
- Panic attacks
- Inability to speak or think clearly
- Dry mouth
Causes of Anthophobia
Like all fears and phobias, flower fear is created by the unconscious mind as a protective mechanism. At some point in your past, there was likely an event linking flowers and emotional trauma. The original catalyst may have been a real life experience, or in other cases, the condition may have been triggered by movies, TV or negative conversation relating to flowers.
Though Anthophobia cannot be treated with medications, it is possible to treat the symptoms while undergoing therapy to cure or lessen the severity of it. Anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax, Lexapro or Zoloft can be handy to control the physical effects of panic attacks, helping the sufferer stop their racing heart or allowing them to feel as if they can breath normally while around flowers. Of course, anti-anxiety medications only treat symptoms. For those looking to control or cure their Anthophobia it is important to look beyond medication and attempt to treat the cause, generally with the help of a therapist. As no two cases of Anthophobia are alike, no two treatments will be akin to one another. Luckily, with the amount of treatment options available it is possible for the vast majority of cases to be brought under control with the help of a therapist.
Behavioral Therapy tends to be a very popular approach when looking to treat Anthophobia. Behavioral therapy attempts to dissipate the patient’s fears by “reprogramming” how they think. Rather than looking at emotional reactions as a separate entity, behavioral therapy sees emotions as connected to thought. When emotions take over they simply have control of these thoughts. By providing positive reinforcement for good thoughts – or, in some cases, negative reinforcement for negative thoughts – behavioral therapy helps patients regain control over their thoughts. Once they are able to train themselves to accept positive thought patterns, it is more likely that they will be able to control their reaction to their phobia. In other cases, some therapists will teach their patients types of relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing and meditation. Much like anti-anxiety pills, relaxation techniques help abate the symptoms of Anthophobia. Unlike anti-anxiety pills, however, relaxation techniques can help calm sufferers almost instantaneously, and don’t carry the risk of chemical dependence. By being able to control their physical reactions many patients feel more able to get in control of their mental ones.
With so many treatment options available, it is always possible to find a treatment that can help lessen if not cure phobias. If you or a loved one is suffering from Anthophobia it important to know that help is out there.