Zoophobia is an irrational and persistent fear of animals. This phobia is different to the relatively common phobias of specific types of animals such as apiphobia, a fear of wasps and bees or arachnophobia, a fear of spiders. Instead it’s a more diverse fear of animals in general.
Zoophobia is more, very much more than any normal fear. Let’s face it, we all have a certain degree of fear for particular animals. For example, none of us would go for a swim in a river full of giant crocodiles! We’d be wary and alert walking through an area populated by snakes. And we’d think twice before taking on a guard dog! These fears are completely normal and rational. They’re fears born more out of respect for predatory, powerful or perhaps just scary looking creatures who could do us harm. But, whilst these fears would keep us respectful and alert, they wouldn’t take over our lives.
Zoophobia is different. It’s an irrational fear of all sorts of animals … even the soft, cuddly pet kittens, puppies and rabbits who would do us absolutely no harm whatsoever. And, being an irrational fear (a phobia) it’s persistent too. This means that a zoophobic will go out of their way to avoid being in a situation of being confronted with an animal. Think about it … that’s a huge issue which is going to affect quality of life! No walks in the countryside, no swimming in the ocean, no visits to the zoo and no visits to friends who have pets.
Because animals are absolutely everywhere, it’s going to affect every part of life. Even a walk to the local store or a journey to work is likely to result in some sort of encounter with an animal.
This phobia is fairly common in young children who usually grow out of it. But, for some it persists into adulthood and this is when it can really impact life in a negative way. For those suffering from zoophobia the only solution may appear to be avoidance but because animals are literally everywhere that’s impossible to do.
It gets worse too – the fears will not just manifest themselves when an animal is encountered. Just the possibility of such an encounter can be enough to set off extreme anxiety or even a panic attack. That’s why it’s important to seek active treatment for the condition before it starts to disturb every facet of daily life.
Zoophobia can develop due to many causes. For some individuals it can be a traumatic incident relating to an animal during their childhood. In others it could be lack of information or even wrong information that causes the fear. The good news though – it CAN be overcome. No one need fear animals as there are treatments that really do work.
A sufferer of zoophobia fears every animal in sight, however big or small. Even the harmless squirrels running about in the backyard, the chickens in the coop, the dogs being walked on leads … any animal can set it off. This results in anxiety (often severe) when around animals, when there’s a chance of an encounter or even when just thinking about them. This anxiety can become incredibly intense and easily develop into full blown panic and panic attacks.
These mental effects caused by the fear of animals makes the sufferer want to take action and the only action that seems to be available is avoidance. And this is when day to day life starts to become incredibly difficult because avoiding animals is impossible to do. Therefore anxiety can worsen, depression can set in and a feeling of not wanting to leave the security of one’s home and to isolate themselves becomes overwhelming.
Of course Zoophobia doesn’t just result in these inner feelings of extreme anxiety and panic. As with any phobia, common physical symptoms can manifest themselves too. Symptoms such as increased heart rate, changes in blood pressure, nausea, dizziness, trouble in breathing, hyperventilation, dry mouth, profuse sweating, vomiting, panic attacks … amongst others.
According to Wikipedia, whilst specific ani,al phobias are relatively common, Zoophobia, the fear of animals in general, is actually rare.
Studies reported in Science Direct suggest that animal phobias top the list of common categories of phobias and affect up to 12.1% of the population at some stage in their lives. But these numbers represent any animal related fears – specific forms of Zoophobia if you like. This could be a fear or rodents, fear of dogs, fear of birds etc. Zoophobia is a fear of all animals and not limited to any specific type. So, even in the absence of accurate measured data, this is why we can assume numbers of zoophobics to be extremely low.
Whilst numbers of people suffering from a general fear of animals may be low the impact can be far greater than those suffering from more specific fears. As with any phobia it CAN be treated but it may take time.
You didn’t burst forth into this world as someone who was afraid of animals. Somehow you’ve picked it up along the way. Usually it can be traced back to some event or influence that formed the trigger. So, quite simply, if you can re-set the minds natural reacxtion to animals back to the way it reacted prior to this event you’ve resolved the issue! And that’s what hypnotherapy is all about. Re-setting the mind to produce the rational response to the sight or thought of an animal that you had before the phobia was initially triggered off. Find Out More >
Neuro-linguistic programming or NLP combines neurology and linguistics and forma a treatment that helps people change their thinking habits to help them deal with a fear of animals. It sounds complicated but it basically means making you look at your experience of animal encounters in a different, more positive way and hence preventing any irrational response. Find Out More >
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is, by far, the most popular treatment for any phobia including the fear of animals. It’s proven, time and time again, to be highly effective. It’s basically a one to one talking therapy which takes your fear of animals and analyses your thoughts, beliefs, reactions and attitudes to the fear and how they affect your behaviour and feelings. Thoughts (cognition) creates emotions which, in turn, controls our reactions (behaviour) so if you can change negative thoughts of animals into positive ones you’re going produce positive feelings and rational behaviour. We’ve written a simple guide to CBT to explain it fully – Find Out More >
If the mere thought or sight of any animal fills you with fear and terror then take a look at one of our recommended, self-help treatment programs that are all guaranteed, proven and effective.