Whether it’s camping, hiking, running or going to the park, many people love to spend time outdoors. For some, however, their fears keep them inside. They feel trapped and maybe embarrassed at the fact that they are fearful of insects. Many people have entomophobia, as it is a real and persistent phobia that must not be ignored.
Entomophobia is the excessive and persistent fear of insects. Although most insects are not harmful to humans and pose no threat, those who suffer with this phobia experience extreme anxiety at the mere thought or sight of an insect. To avoid them, they may always be cleaning rooms, floors, doors and windows. Entomophobia includes the fear of mites, spiders and insects.
Symptoms of Entomophobia
Those who have entomophobia may experience one or all of the symptoms including:
- Feeling of terror
- Rapid heartbeat
- Increased pulse rate
- Extreme avoidance of situations with the possibility of encountering insects
- Shortness of breath
Causes of Entomophobia
Like many phobias, entomophobia is most likely caused by a traumatic incident in childhood. Most insects are not harmful to people, but many people are still fearful of them. If your parents are fearful of insects, then it is possible that you may adapt to the fear as well. Being stung by a bee may also contribute to the phobia or if you or someone you know is allergic to bees. Having an allergy to bees may lead to a traumatic event particularly because you may undergo a traumatic allergic reaction, which may result in a fear of bees or insects.
Treatment of Entomophobia
Like arachnophobia, entomophobia is most commonly treated by systematic desensitization. This behavior technique was founded on the principles of classical conditioning and was developed in the 1950s. This is a therapeutic intervention that reduces the link between anxiety and the objects or situations that produce the anxiety. The goal is to reduce or eliminate the phobia and to help the patient cope with the fear. The patient will undergo relaxation techniques that will help alleviate the tension that is in their daily life. Many other fears are treated with this technique, including the fear of flying and public speaking, elevator and driving phobias, and stage fright.
If you or someone you know suffers from entomophobia, seek help so that you may live a more relaxed and stress-free life. You can overcome entomophobia and the biggest step is getting help with learning to cope and eliminate the fear of insects.
- Medicine.Net – Gives the definition of entomophobia
- Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders – Provides information on systematic desensitization