What You Need To Know About Fear of Snake and How To Overcome It
As humans, we fear a lot of things; some of us fear being in small spaces, some fear heights while others fear other humans; in all these, most children and adults have fear of snakes. In fact, research shows that 9 out of every 10 person have unexplained fear about snakes – this condition is referred to as Ophidiophobia or in layman’s language, fear of snakes. Research has also shown that fear of snake is the second most common phobia in the world. Almost one third of adult humans are believed to have an intense fear of snakes.
Most people fear snakes but they don’t feel that they need to seek out professional help. People with this condition can live a normal live as they do not have to confront snakes under normal circumstances. In fact, if you are staying in place such as Chicago, where snakes are very rare, you may not have any trouble at all with having Ophidiophobia.
However, some people with fear of snake may have this condition interfering with their lifestyle. A man or woman with a partner who loves hiking in the forest preserves or other places where snake may be present may have their fun limited due to avoidance of such places. Parents with fear of snake will dread the day their children pick up books with pictures of snakes or ask to visit the reptile house of the local zoo. Additionally, there are some people with severe fear of snake that simply seeing a movie like “Anaconda” or television ads that shows snakes can really spoil their day. In such people, an encounter with a live snake can elicit a strong emotional reaction they may find embarrassing.
What Causes Fear of Snakes?
Most people have unexplained fear of snakes. This could be related to the fact that snakes are fascinating creatures with a lot of myths around them. In most cases, these myths are the reason why people fear them. Another major reason is the fact that most snakes are known to be deadly and venomous and can eventually cause death with their venomous bites.
Other reasons for fear of snakes include:
- Traumatic episode in the past that involves snake such as seeing someone got bitten by snake or accidentally stepping on a snake.
- Movies and media reports that made one to believe that snake are really dangerous and must be avoided at all cost.
- Family history or genetic traits
- Ignorance about the true nature of snakes
How To Know You Have Ophidiophobia
According to the American Psychiatric Association, you have fear of snake if you exhibit the following symptoms which can be categorized as mental, emotional or physical:
- Too much and often uncontrollable anxiety when you are about to be exposed to snakes
- Experiencing a hike in heart rate when you are about to be taken to an area where snakes may be present.
- The feeling that you must do everything possible to avoid encountering snakes
- Screaming, crying or even exhibiting other physical symptoms like shaking or trembling violently when you encounter snakes.
How To Overcome Fear of Snakes
Fear of snakes can affect your normal life. It can as well interfere with your social life. You will need to consult with an expert when you have this problem.
In most cases, you will need to overcome this problem by being exposed to the feared object which in this case is snake. The treatment of Ophidiophobia will most likely involve exposure to an actual live snake.
Other methods for treating Ophidiophobia include;
- Desensitization and Reprocessing
This is a therapy that is use to address past traumatic experiences you’ve had with snakes that might have caused the Ophidiophobia. This process involves a patient looking at images of snake and eventually holding a small live snake. The process is designed to help the patient overcome fear for snakes.
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy
CBT is another therapy that is designed to help patients overcome their fear of snakes by identifying thought patterns that lie behind the fear of snakes. In this therapy, a patient is asked to write down thoughts as to why one fears snakes. Writing down these thoughts and identifying these thoughts can help one identify patterns that lead to fear, stress and anxiety over snake. The patient is then encouraged to replace these negative associations with positive beliefs to help him reduce his fear of snakes.
- Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques involve controlled breathing, meditation, counting and positive reaffirmations when you are exposed to images of snakes. This technique enables you to find your own solution and overcome the fear of snake.
- Individual or Group Counseling
Talking about your fear of snake to an expert or with group of people with the same problem can also help you overcome your fear of snakes.