What is Ophidiophobia?
Ophidiophobia, also spelled “Ophiophobia”, and also referred to simply as Snakephobia, is the abnormal and persistent fear of snakes. It is also sometimes referred to by the more general term "Herpetophobia”, which is a fear of all reptiles and/or amphibians.
The fear of snakes is the second most commonly reported phobia worldwide. It is believed that as many as one-third of adult humans have an intense fear of snakes.
The root word 'ophis' is Latin meaning 'snake' and and the word 'phobia' comes from the Greek word ‘phóbos’ meaning 'fear.'
Symptoms of Ophidiophobia
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 Ophidiophobia
Ophidiophobia 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.
Ophidiophobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.
A primal fear of the unknown in the form of possible physical threat from animals is always a consideration, and this fear may readily be associated with a generalized fears of animals or other particular kinds of animals.
Treatments for Ophidiophobia
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
- Habit Strategies To Relax
- Cognitive Therapy (CT)
- In Vivo Exposure
- Response Prevention
- Group Therapy
- Energy Psychology