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Musophobia is the fear of mice or rats. A person may develop this phobia because of a prior trauma involving the animals where he or she was startled by the sight of one. The phobia may also be linked to a fear of disease, since rats were responsible for spreading a number of diseases throughout history.
Common Facts About Musophobia
- A person who is living with musophobia may have his or her fear of these animals triggered by one or more events. Seeing a live one in the home or another location can start a reaction, for example.
- Some people feel very uncomfortable if they see an image of a mouse or a rat in a picture, on television or in a movie.
- For some musophobia sufferers, hearing someone make a joke with the word mouse or rat in it is enough to cause a reaction.
- The reaction can take the form of screaming, freezing in place, or having to leave the room or location quickly.
- Some people report a dry mouth or shaking when faced with seeing or hearing about a mouse or rat. They may also experience a rapid heartbeat, feel sweaty or have difficulty speaking.
- The individual will seek treatment for their phobia when the condition disrupts their everyday life to the extent that they are willing to face the fear and conquer it.
Treatment of Musophobia
Since people living with musophobia may be experiencing physical symptoms of the anxiety they feel about mice and rats, they may be prescribed medications to help them feel more physically comfortable while they deal with the source of their symptoms.
One way to reprogram the client’s brain to stop feeling physically threatened by mice or rats is to use hypnotherapy. Over a number of sessions with a trained therapist, the client is taught that the animals do not pose a threat and that he or she can think about, see, or even touch one without reacting inappropriately to the experience.
Another way to help a client cope with musophobia is by gradually exposing him or her to mice and rats. The process could start by educating the individual about normal rat or mouse behavior. Under the guidance and direction of a therapist, the client may be directed to look at images of rats and mice. Throughout the process, the client will be encouraged to acknowledge and describe his or her level of anxiety without walking away from the situation.
Over time, the client will be exposed to rats and mice for longer times and may work up to the point where he or she is in a room with a caged animal. From there, the client would be encouraged to touch or hold a tame animal to overcome his or her fear.
The key to getting help for musophobia is consulting with a therapist who has experience helping clients deal with phobias. Getting help from a musophobia therapist can help a client move past his or her irrational fear and live a normal life. Being embarrassed should not stand in the way of a person getting the help he or she needs.