Ophidiophobia is the fear of snakes, and it’s one of the most common phobias there is – and the most common of all herpetophobias (fear of reptiles). Though most have a healthy respect for the creatures and keep their distance, those who are living with ophidiophobia have violent and overwhelming physical and psychological reactions to snakes – sometimes even caused by the thought of a snake.
If you or someone you care about feel that ophidiophobia or another phobia is stopping you from functioning at home, work or school, we can help you find a the best ophidiophobia treatment program that can help. Contact one of our counselors at the phone number listed above today.
Is Ophidiophobia an Evolutionary Trait?
No one knows why we struggle with phobias. Some researchers theorize that our fears are there to protect us. Specifically, many snakes are dangerous so the theory is that some people are scared of them so they will avoid them and thus avoid getting bitten and die as a result. Others argue that this theory is flawed because predatory animals like tigers and bears are far more dangerous than most snakes yet phobias about these creatures is far less common than ophidiophobia.
*Signs of Ophidiophobia
- Panic attack at the sight of a snake
- Freezing at the sight of a snake
- Being unable to stay in the same room or house as a snake
- Choosing to avoid activities that risk putting you in contact with a snake
The Intensity of Fear
Fear caused by a phobia is both physical and psychological. You may experience the same symptoms as you would with a panic attack – hyperventilating, crying, increased heart rate and body temperature, sweating, uncontrollable shaking – and be unable to function until someone removes the snake. Some with ophidiophobia will freeze when they see a snake, while others will scream and run from the room.
In some cases, it doesn’t have to be a live snake to trigger the phobia. A picture of a snake, talking about a snake, or even thinking of a snake can cause the same physical and psychological symptoms. As soon as the snake or snake reference is no longer an issue, your clarity and body function return to normal.
*Like Flipping a Switch
The effects of ophidiophobia are impossible for you to control when you are its victim, but for many people, as soon as the focus of the phobia is removed, everything goes back to normal – like a light switch.
For many people living with ophidiophobia, the fear of snakes is the primary fear but often the development of a secondary phobia – a fear of all reptiles – can occur. In this case, the treatment is the same but with an expanded focus to include all reptiles while maintaining a primary focus on snakes.
Diagnosing and Treating Ophidiophobia
Fear of snakes is not abnormal but the fear that happens with ophidiophobia is far more intense. Only a mental health professional can determine if your fear is of phobic proportions and help you determine the correct treatment plan to aid you in mitigating the symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy are the best options for treatment, because they both directly address your fear by slowly helping you to change your perception, actions and response to snakes.