Phobia of Snakes | Ophidiophobia

December 10, 2018

Among the top phobias reported, ophidiophobia is one of the most common. According to the phobia dictionary, ophidiophobia is a specific fear of snakes. This phobia is considered a subcategory of herpetophobia which is the fear of reptiles. Approximately 1/3 of all adults identify with having this fear. This makes ophidiophobia the number one reported phobia in the world.

This fear is considered an abnormal fear and must be differentiated from people who do not like snakes or fear them because their venomous. The inherent danger involved when dealing with venomous snakes is different from ophidiophobia. The fear of snakes because of their venomous nature is in natural survival instinct embedded in all human beings.

However, people with ophidiophobia experience anxiety and feelings of dread when faced with even pictures of common variety garden snake. Thinking about them, seeing a picture, or seeing them on television can send the sufferer into a state of panic. A person that suffers from ophidiophobia will have specific symptoms of anxiety or panic attack when confronted with their fear. Symptoms including shaking, heart palpitations, or difficulty breathing are common. A person who suffers from ophidiophobia may even cry or run away from the snake if they happen to come across it in nature.

Ophidiophobia can get worse as a person grows older. Instead of fearing just the snakes themselves, a person who suffers from this phobia may also begin to dread areas in which they’ve seen snakes or that are related to them. Going to places like the zoo for pet stores that sell snakes may become difficult. People who suffer from ophidiophobia may even avoid going to nature preserves, camping, or on hiking trips just to avoid contact with snakes.

It can be difficult to diagnose ophidiophobia. This is because most people are innately afraid of snakes on a basic level. Most people fear snakes for their venomous quality and would prefer to avoid snakes in general out of the fear of being bitten. A normal person who is not normally afraid of snakes may have a heightened awareness when out in the woods or during the warmer months. This is not make this person ophidiophobic. A person who suffers from ophidiophobia will have a fear that is out of proportion to someone who has a normal nervousness around animals that they are unfamiliar with. Most people who had never handled a snake before or do not know a lot about snakes would be nervous or fearful around them for the first time.

There is treatment for ophidiophobia. The most reliable and common treatment for this fear is cognitive behavior therapy. Phobia dictionary classifies cognitive behavior therapy as techniques that you learn to change her behavior around certain things. It’s a entirely new way of thinking and reacting that you have to learn. With the help of a psychotherapist, you may be encouraged to talk about your fear and why you are afraid of snakes. Your therapist will help you to find new ways to combat that fear. Some of it will be simply speaking to yourself in a positive manner when confronted with a snake. Over time, you may be exposed to actual snakes beginning with photographs and gradually working your way up to a real live snake. During this exposure, you will learn techniques to help relax and calm yourself in the face of your fear.

Many famous people are afraid of snakes. Some of these people include:

Johnny Cash
Ainsley Harriott
Chevy Chase
Matt Damon
Probably one of the most famous people who suffer from ophidiophobia isn’t even a real person. The famed character and adventure Indiana Jones is well-known for his fear of snakes.

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