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What is Ophidiophobia

What is Ophidiophobia

Do you know what is ophidiophobia? Well, this nasty phobia is related to the fear of snakes. Talking to a counselor often helps reveal what may have triggered a particular phobia and how it can be brought under control.
PsycholoGenie Staff
The word ophidiophobia comes from the Greek word, 'ophis' which means the serpent or snake, while the term 'phobia' meaning to feel fear. While herpetophobia is the fear of reptile, ophidiophobia is its subcategory and is the unnatural and extreme fear of snakes. This type of phobia, sometimes affects individuals in such harsh ways that it makes it almost impossible for them to face their fears on their own. They often need therapy and a lot of love and support to gradually overcome their phobia.

It may take several years before a phobic actually musters the strength to come in safe proximity to a snake. Their fears are often rooted to childhood traumas, wherein, the child tends to remember the incident in great detail. Children tend to have a deeper attachment to their memories of traumatic events, which may continue to trouble them even as they grow older.

What is Ophidiophobia
Ophidiophobia or the paranoid fear of snakes, probably evolves from the fear of death. Most people associate snakes as dangerous and assume them to be poisonous. However, it is important to realize that not all snakes are deadly, and those that are venomous need not inhabit the area you live in. Most adults who suffer from ophidiophobia, realize this, and are often aware that their fears may be extreme and baseless, nonetheless, they struggle to control their fears. This conflict causes an upheaval of confusion among these people, and often makes it difficult to handle their own symptoms.

These people are always on the look out for snakes, which makes it very difficult for them to go out for adventure camps with friends and family. They check several times before entering rooms and dark corners. Often, they need to be accompanied, because they are so petrified of being attacked by a snake. Let us have a look at some of the common symptoms attached to this phobia.

Symptoms
The symptoms may vary from one individual to another. While some people are afraid of big, venomous snakes, some people fear small snakes as well. Some individuals can't even tolerate watching television or photos with snakes being shown. Some of the symptoms of this phobia may be:
  • Experiencing panic attacks
  • Feeling extreme fear of being bitten
  • Heart palpitations
  • Experiencing difficulty in breathing
  • Not being able to think clearly and not being able to act promptly
  • Fearing death and that no one will be able to save you before it is too late
  • Feeling nauseous and sweating profusely
  • Avoiding zoos, camps, bushy lands and all dark places
  • Some rare cases may include experiencing seizure and blackouts
Treatment
One of the most effective and proven techniques of treating ophidiophobia is through Cognitive Behavioral therapy, wherein the sufferer is made to feel comfortable enough to speak about his/her fears to a therapist, about past encounters, and discuss dreams about snakes. Then the phobic is introduced to pictures and photos of snakes and made to realize that a mere picture should not induce fear. Thereafter, the individual is made to learn about snakes and taught how to differentiate between the different types of snakes. He/she is encouraged to watch documentaries, learn about snakes that may be native to the area, and taught how to identify a venomous snake.

Slowly and gradually the individual will be exposed to a real snake. The therapist may encourage the patient to hold a non-dangerous snake. Though this is the toughest step of the therapy and those who pass this test usually overcome their phobia to a large extent. Sometimes, hypnosis may be suggested, to get to the root of the fear that has been tormenting the sufferer.

Fortunately, ophidiophobia is a curable phobia. It's better to start as soon as you realize that you may be suffering from this irrational fear. Do not hesitate or feel embarrassed about the fact, that you may need help and therapy.