Apiphobia is the extreme and irrational fear of bees or bee stings. While it is normal for anyone to want to avoid being stung by a bee, for someone with apiphobia, that fear is much more pronounced and pervasive. Someone with this disorder reacts in a much more uncontrollable and frantic manner, becoming fearful at the mere sight or mention of bees. Furthermore, the apiphobic will change his or her plans in order to avoid any kind of exposure to bees.
Causes of Apiphobia
Like all phobias there is no universally specific explanation for apiphobia. Rather, it is the various unique experiences of each individual that leads to the development of such a disorder. Some examples of experiences that could have resulted in the development of apiphobia include early life traumatic events that involved bees, witnessing such events, or even upbringing by parents or caregivers that stressed a fear or aversion towards bees. Regardless, if left untreated, this phobia can only become worse and further hinder the freedom of the sufferer.
Symptoms of Apiphobia
If you believe that you or someone you know may have apiphobia, here are some symptoms to look for:
- Feelings of dread or panic when exposed to or thinking about bees
- Automatic or uncontrollable reactions when exposed to or thinking about bees
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Extreme avoidance of bees
Treatment of Apiphobia
Like many phobias, treatment for the disorder is usually best left to a mental health practitioner. The goal of any such expert is to first target the initial inciting factor that caused the person’s irrational and extreme fear. The patient and therapist talk about why the fear unfounded, how they can come to terms with any traumatic experiences that caused the phobia, as well as ways to deal with the symptoms of the condition. This type of therapy is usually very effective, with a vast majority of patients completely overcoming or successfully coping with apiphobia symptom-free for years, if not for the remainder of their lives.
Some therapists opt to use cognitive behavioral therapy. With this type of treatment, the patient meets with the therapist, and in a systematic and gradual progression, confronts the source of fear while learning to control the physical and mental reactions to it. By facing the phobia head on, the patient becomes accustomed to it and thus ultimately realizes that his or her initial fears were not grounded in real or imminent danger.
If you are searching for help with apiphobia, finding it is quite easy. There are plenty of therapists and peer groups willing to help not only with the disorder but also the psychological difficulties attendant with it. If self-help is not working, do not hesitate to reach out to these resources for support.
- American Psychiatric Association – info about phobias in general, causes, treatment.
- Wikipedia – general info on apiphobia including possible psychological causes.
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