Ophidiophobia is an irrational fear of snakes. This is a relatively common phobia, and can be rooted in childhood. A young person who was startled by a snake moving unexpectedly in the grass or who had a negative experience that involved having a snake placed near his or her face may grow up to have an unnatural fear of these animals.
Common Facts About Ophidiophobia
- A true phobia exists even when the person learns facts about snakes. The individual may be told that most snakes are not poisonous and that they only strike out when feeling threatened, but knowing this does not make the person feel any less threatened by them.
- The fear could stem from the fact that snakes can hide in cracks or under objects and not be seen until they move, which startles the person who is afraid of them.
- Legends about giant snakes or the Biblical account of the snake in the Garden of Eden can serve to confirm a person’s deep-seeded fear of these crawling reptiles.
- In some cases, the phobia is triggered by the idea that the snake’s skin is slimy. However, a snake’s skin is made up of dry scales.
- The fact that snakes don’t blink can also be a source of fear for a person with ophidiophobia.
- A person who has ophidiophobia may become fearful thinking about snakes, seeing an image of one (photograph or a video), or seeing a live one.
- The person may freeze or feel panicky and wish to leave the area immediately. In extreme cases, the individual may experience a panic attack.
Treatment of Ophidiophobia
When it comes to treating ophidiophobia, there are a number of approaches that will help the client conquer his or her fear of snakes. When the reaction to a triggering event is severe, medication may be prescribed to reduce or eliminate the physical symptoms while the client works on the psychological aspect of the phobia.
Hypnotherapy can be an option for some people. Working with a trained therapist gives the individual the opportunity to go back and reprogram his or her thinking about snakes. This is not always the best option, since it involves giving up some degree of control to the therapist while in a trance.
Another treatment option for people living with ophidiophobia is energy psychology. This approach to dealing with phobias has the advantage of providing results relatively quickly. The client learns how to change his or her current behaviors to more positive ones. The individual’s thought patterns also evolve through this process.
For some people, working with a therapist who can help them face their fear by being in a room with a snake in a cage and then working up to touching and eventually handling one is the way to beat the phobia.
Getting the right type of help for ophidiophobia means finding a therapist who has experience treating people with phobias. They have the knowledge and expertise needed to guide the client through the steps required to effectively deal with the phobia and learn not to overreact to thoughts, images or the presence of a real snake.
- Anapsid.org – Information about origin of ophidiophobia, learning to look at or handle snakes as therapy
- Way2Hope.org – Basic information about phobia
- Phobia-Fear-Release.com – Treatment options for ophidiophobia