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Chiroptophobia

Chiroptophobia is the fear of bats. Those who have this phobia experience intense fear and panic at the thought or sight of bats. Those with this phobia often go to extreme lengths to avoid any possibility of encountering bats or entering a situation where they may be exposed to bats. If they are put in a situation where there is a bat present, they are often unable to cope with the situation thus they feel extreme anxiety, fear and immediate danger.

Symptoms of Chiroptophobia

Signs of Chiroptophobia are often times instant in the sight or presence of bats. Symptoms include:

  • Hyperventilation
  • Heart palpitations
  • Screaming or crying
  • Feeling of danger
  • Panic
  • Anxiety

Causes of Chiroptophobia

In many cases, the fear of bats comes from misconceptions of bats. Bats are seen as ugly creatures with beady eyes and large leathery wings, yet they are not dangerous to humans. In medieval Europe, a bat entering a house was a sign that death was to come to that family in the near future, and people wished to avoid bats because of this. Bats were also associated with the devil in medieval Europe, as images displayed this notion. The devil was graphically represented in these times as having leathery bat wings. Today, many people associate bats with darkness, vampires and Halloween. In reality, there are only three kinds of bats that feed on blood, all of which live in Latin America. All of these notions associated with bats may contribute to those having extreme fear of bats.

Treatment of Chiroptophobia

Chiroptophobia is not life threatening and many do not seek out treatment. Those that have this phobia generally understand that they may never encounter a bat in their lifetime, so they choose to live and cope with the phobia on their own. Phobias, however, can be persistent and bring forth excessive fears that may cause avoidance and physical distress. If you have an extreme fear of bats that interferes with your daily life, it is suggested that you seek treatment by a healthcare professional. Counseling is a great start, as it will allow a trained professional to engage in a one-on-one discussion with you. The counselor will try to help you cope with your fear and come to terms with the misconceptions of bats. Systematic desensitization is also another treatment option. This form of treatment uses relaxation skills to help cope with situations. Self-hypnosis may also help, as this approach re-programs your mind through hypnosis. It targets the subconscious and will help you overcome the negative impressions that rest in your mind. If you suffer from chiroptophobia, it is up to you whether or not to seek help; however, it is suggested that you seek treatment if the phobia interferes with your daily life.

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