Ornithophobia is the fear of birds. It’s an obsessive and insurmountable fear that an individual experiences at just the sight of birds. And the direct tactile contact with these animals is the most significant cause of stress for an ornithphobic.
According to The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), over 12 percent of adults in the United States at least once in a lifetime experience some type of phobia. Ornithophobia is relatively uncommon. However, it still affects around 0.9% of the population.
At first glance, Ornithophobia may seem like a “funny” disorder that does not cause much concern to those who suffer from it. When you think about it a fear of birds can prove really difficult to live with. Birds are everywhere and completely unpredictable, often appearing out of nowhere.
You can find them in parks, squares, stores (chicken and turkey). Commercials and movies use the sound of birds singing. Some of us are only afraid of birds of prey. But some people have a fear of all birds, including their household pets. Sometimes even the mere sound of a pigeon’s wings flying overhead can cause a panic attack. So let’s learn more about this phobia.
Causes Of A Fear Of Birds
Unfortunately, scientists do not have an answer to the question of what exactly causes the fear of birds which is also known as bird phobia. Fears can develop at any age. However, most often, they develop during childhood.
The most credible theories that explain bird phobia are as follows:
- A negative early childhood experience related to birds can cause this phobia. In this case, the individual may not even remember the specific moment that is the reason for fear. Since the baby’s psyche is not fully formed, a sharp noise can leave an indelible mark on his life.
- At a more mature age, the child may face the aggressive behavior of some birds. The bite of a goose or parrot can also cause Ornithophobia.
- Sometimes, feathers or a dead body of a bird cause fear and panic. According to psychologists, the reason may be the fact that the kid realized what death is, when he found, for example, a dead pigeon. Even a frozen bird in the snow can cause Ornithophobia.
- According to another well-known version, the cause of Ornithophobia is the traumatic experience gained by a person while watching a movie where birds were brutal killers.
- Other studies have shown that, in some cases, the fear of birds is associated with a congenital defect of the vestibular apparatus of the individual. Such a person cannot watch the birds in the sky, as it causes nausea and severe dizziness.
- Another cause of fear of birds can be genetics. People process anxiety and fear differently. Some of us may tend to be more anxious than others.
- Moreover, you may learn that fear from your parents or someone else close to you who has Ornithophobia.
- Also, hearing or reading about a dangerous or negative situation involving birds, as well as watching such movies, are often the reason for fear.
Symptoms Of Ornithophobia
Experts determine the following symptoms of Ornithophobia:
- a fast heart rate that occurs in an individual at the sight of a bird;
- loss of consciousness or dizziness when the person has a tactile contact with feathered animals;
- severe, uncontrolled nausea, caused by the dead body of the bird or its parts;
- breathing problems, tremors throughout the whole body that occurs when an individual has to interact with birds;
- obsessive-compulsive disorder, especially in the open air;
- a person continually looks at the sky, trying to prevent the possible appearance of birds;
- an unusual feeling of fear or anxiety;
- a person feels a need to run away;
- an individual understands that this anxiety or fear is exaggerated, but he cannot control it;
- regular fear of losing control.
Physical symptoms of Ornithophobia include:
- trembling or shaking;
- racing heartbeat;
- feeling short of breath;
- dry mouth;
- tightness in the chest;
The manifestation of these symptoms largely depends on the severity of phobia and the behavior of the individual. Ornithophobia varies from mild anxiety at the sight of a flying bird to a panic attack.
Psychologists know some cases when a person chose complete isolation from society, trying to minimize the risk of contact with birds.
Treatment For Fear Of Birds
Although not one of the most common phobias the fear of birds can be one of the ones which affects standard of life the most. That’s for the simple reason that, unlike other fears which can be avoided, you can’t hide from ornithophobia! Birds are literally everywhere (as I write this I’m listening to them singing away outside), towns, cities, gardens, countryside … even in peoples houses as pets. Then, of course, there’s the chickens, ducks and turkeys in the supermarkets and grocery stores … even these oven ready birds can be a source of fear to some sufferers.
That’s why the condition needs to be treated. And the good news is that it can! The usual methods are relevent here – therapy, NLP but perhaps Cognitive Bevavioural Therapy is the most recognised treatment option.
CBT works well but usually involves (often costly) face to face interaction with a trained therapist. For that reason we suggest you check out a self hypnosis option which can prove a highly cost effective option which you can follow in your own time and at a pace that suits. The program we recommend is aptly called Overcome Fear Of Birds and comes in the form of an audio download which costs just a few $s (or £s) depending on where in the world you live. Check it out – it may be the best $15 you’ve ever spent!