Fear of insects can be called entomophobia. Entomophobia, also known as insectophobia (Insect Phobia), it is a specific phobia characterized by excessive and unrealistic fear of one type or several types of insects.
In general, older persons who have a phobia of something are aware of their irrationality for fear of something that poses no real danger.
However, the idea of simply being near an insect or any object that causes a phobia can trigger severe mental and physical symptoms.
Although most insects are harmless to humans and do not show any threat, people with entomophobia experience quite extreme anxiety when looking at them. To prevent the appearance of insects, people with entomophobia usually always clean rooms, floors, doors, and windows.
Types of Insect Phobia
Entomophobia comes from two Greek words, “entomo”, and φββος (Phobos). Thus, entomophobia is an excessive fear when looking at insects, even though the feared insect is not dangerous at all.
Categorized as one of the specific phobias in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5)” manual issued by the American Psychological Association, entomophobia has several dominant groupings such as:
- Apiphobia (fear of bees);
- Myrmecophobia (fear of ants);
- Lepidopterophobia (fear of butterflies or moths);
- Katsaridaphobia (fear of cockroaches); and
- Arachnophobia (fear of spiders).
Insect Phobia Symptoms
Unlike fear or dislike of insects, a person with entomophobia has an irrational fear of themselves.
Older persons with phobias actually understand the irrationality in themselves of excessive fear that actually poses no real danger.
Physically, usually people with entomophobia will experience symptoms.
- Panic attacks
- Fast heart rate
- Tightness in the chest
- Dry mouth
- Crying, usually in children
- Feeling threatened.
- Extreme avoid situations that allow meeting insects.
- Shortness of breath.
Insect Phobia Causes
Like other phobias, entomophobia is usually caused by traumatic events in childhood. Most insects are harmless to humans, but most humans are still afraid of insects.
Fear of insects can also be caused by mimicking the old man’s fear of insects. In addition, allergies to bees or seeing others allergic to bees can also cause trauma.
Other possible causes of entomophobia include:
Traumatic or negative experiences can trigger the development of specific phobias. For example, you may be stung by wasps when you are children or surprised by insects on your arms.
Children may be able to learn phobias from parents or other family members. For example, the child learns to fear insects from the mother who has a tendency to scream when looking at spiders in the house.
A study suggests that genetic factors may play a role in phobias and anxiety disorders.
Traumatic brain injury.
Brain injuries, such as concussions, have been linked to the development of anxiety disorders. Brain injury seems to increase the condition of fear and make the brain afraid to learn during stressful events experienced after injury.
How do we know we have entomophobia or just the usual fear?
Good question! Before deciding on a consultation with a psychiatrist or psychologist, you can fill out a questionnaire that you can access from the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5)“. The list of questions includes:
- Is my fear getting more frequent or getting worse over the next six months or so?;
- Do I feel too wary of situations involving insects, such as gardening?;
- Do I feel panicked when close together or touching insects?;
- Am I aware that fear of insects may not make sense?;
- Do I avoid situations that force me to be close together or touch insects?
If most of these questions are “yes” answers, you might need help from an expert!
There is no specific prevention against entomophobia.
The most effective way to overcome entomophobia is with psychotherapy. Depending on the symptoms, the doctor may recommend medication to help reduce anxiety and other symptoms of entomophobia.
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