What is Doraphobia?

Doraphobia is an abnormal and persistent fear of fur or animal skins, especially touching them.

This fear can have wide-ranging roots and could be based, for instance, on concerns that animals carry rabies, traumatic experiences with animals, compassion for animals, fear of dangerous animals, etc. This fear naturally leads to fears of living animals as well as fear of hides, fur rugs, coats, etc.

Some related phobias are Agrizoophobia (fear of wild animals); Ailurophobia, Elurophobia, Felinophobia, Galeophobia, and Gatophobia (which all mean fear of cats); Cynophobia and Hydrophobia (fear of water or of rabies); Hydrophobophobia (fear of rabies); Kynophobia (fear of rabies); Lyssophobia (fear of rabies or of becoming mad); and Zoophobia (fear of animals).

The root word 'dora' is Greek meaning 'the hide' or 'skin' of an animal and the word 'phobia' comes from the Greek word ‘phóbos’ meaning 'fear.'

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Symptoms of Doraphobia

  • Extreme Anxiety, Dread

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dry Mouth
  • Confusion / Inability to Articulate Clearly
  • Lack of Focus
  • Irritability
  • Shaking
  • Feelings of Powerlessness
  • Obsession with the Subject of the Phobia
  • Fear or Feelings of Losing Control
  • Avoidance Behavior
  • Headaches

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Causes of Doraphobia

Doraphobia 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.

Doraphobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.

Some concern for furred animals is rational, as many furry animals can be dangerous or can be carriers of rabies. Such fears may form the underlying basis for Doraphobia.

Animal rights advocates can develop Doraphobia out of their initial concerns, fear of wild animals, etc.

Learn more about the causes of phobias ›

Treatments for Doraphobia

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

  • Habit Strategies To Relax
  • Cognitive Therapy (CT)
  • In Vivo Exposure
  • Response Prevention
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Energy Psychology
  • Medication
  • Meditation

Learn more about phobia treatments ›

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