What is Dendrophobia?
Dendrophobia is defined as an irrational fear of wood, forests, or trees.
Specific trees may afflict a person negatively and evoke strong and relentless anxiety.
Dendrophobia is considered a specific phobia, and is related to or referred to as Hylophobia (fear of forests) and Xylophobia (fear of wooden objects and/or forests). Another closely related fear is Nyctohylophobia, the specific fear of dark wooded areas or of forests at night (from 'nycto' meaning 'night').
The root word 'dendro' is Greek meaning 'tree' and the word 'phobia' comes from the Greek word ‘phóbos’ meaning 'fear.'
Symptoms of Dendrophobia
Extreme Anxiety, Dread
- Shortness of Breath
- Rapid Breathing
- Heart Palpitations
- Excessive Sweating
- Dry Mouth
- Confusion / Inability to Articulate Clearly
- Lack of Focus
- Feelings of Powerlessness
- Obsession with the Subject of the Phobia
- Fear or Feelings of Losing Control
- Avoidance Behavior
Causes of Dendrophobia
Dendrophobia is a specific (or “isolated”) phobia, centered on non-social key factors. Isolated phobias tend to have some previous trauma (often in childhood and often physically injurious) as a root cause; a fear of bees may stem from an injury in childhood, for instance.
Upbringing can also play a role, such as parental warnings about a direct threat (such as “snakes can bite and kill you”) which is especially notable in cases where a threat is more imminent. (An allergy to bees or peanut butter, for instance, would naturally reinforce a real medical concern.)
It is thought that genetics and hereditary factors may play a role in specific phobias, especially those related to a danger of injury. (A primal “fight or flight” reflex may be more easily triggered in those with a genetic predisposition, for instance.)
By contrast, social phobias (like a fear of body odor or touch) are less well-understood, are driven by social anxiety, and are broadly labeled as “social anxiety disorder”.
In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation, seeing something in the news, on TV, or in the movies.
Dendrophobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.
A fear of the unknown can contribute to this fear, especially for children. Tree branches during winter can provoke fearful imagery in low light, and shadows of dancing leaves or the sound of swaying branches might cause a sense of Gothic darkness or terror, which is reinforced in Halloween references.
Treatments for Dendrophobia
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
- Habit Strategies To Relax
- Cognitive Therapy (CT)
- In Vivo Exposure
- Response Prevention
- Group Therapy
- Energy Psychology