There are so many different types of insects, and many of them evoke dark emotions in human beings. While a select few may be intrigued by bugs and their appearance and behavior, many other people have a phobia about them. A generalized fear of bugs is known as entomophobia, and it afflicts a great number of people.
Why Do People Fear Bugs?
Bugs are something Americans spend millions of dollars per year trying to eradicate from their lives. From exterminators for cockroaches, to cans of Raid for camping trips, to special candles that repel mosquitoes, great effort is made to keep our distance from annoying and potentially dangerous bugs. Disorders like Lyme disease, which is carried by arachnids known as deer ticks, leave us frightened and wary. Bugs can be slimy, ugly, and their bites can even be fatal for some unlucky people.
For example, some people who are highly allergic to bee stings can die if they are stung and don’t receive immediate medical attention. These people need to carry epi-pens in order to guard against fatal bee stings. This can be a potent, and understandable, trigger for this phobia.
In tropical climes, diseases like malaria are carried through mosquitoes. This disease has terrible symptoms such as fever, enlarged liver and spleen, fatigue and malaise. Malaria can develop long after an insect bite occurs. It is resistant to some anti-malarial drugs, and can develop even though the person has tried to protect themselves. Powerful insecticides are needed to try and avoid this parasitic infection.
Bugs were the primary carrier for the Black Plague. Rats carried fleas upon their bodies as they moved into densely populated villages and cities. Their bites spread the contagion far and wide. Europe was devastated by the Black Death, which was a product of tiny insects who transmitted infected blood into human beings.
Bugs also carry other diseases, such as sleeping sickness, enteric diseases, and Arboviruses.
Of course, some insects also carry venom that can cause nasty results in human beings. The Fire Ant is one such bug, and it is suprisingly common. The Fire Ant is poisonous, and its relative, the Harvester Ant, also packs a venous punch.
Symptoms Of Fear Of Bugs
When this phobia develops, the people who fears bugs may take excessive take to avoid any creepy-crawly creatures. They will find it hard to enjoy activities that take place out of doors. As well, they will turn their homes into fortresses where the act of keeping insects out is first and foremost in their minds. They may use large quantities of unhealthy insecticides to ease their fears.
When a phobic person does encounter an insect, they may panic. When they do, they will experience nervousness, racing heart, dizziness, and a feeling of terror or doom. They will do anything necessary to get away from the insects they fear. They may cry or hyperventilate when they are forced to be around bugs. It is not uncommon for a person with Entomophobia to scream when a bug is around them. They may feel unable to kill the offending insect themselves, because they cannot bring themselves to touch it. They may need help from others in order to remove the insect from their environment.
Some people have suffered painful and traumatic bites or stings from bugs, and they carry these memories with them as they live their daily lives. This is a form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Each new interaction with an insect will trigger painful and upsetting memories of their past suffering. Children can be especially susceptible to this phobia if they have been bitten or stung. They do not have the coping skills of an adult, and they will perceive insects as monstrous or dangerous. But this phobia does not discriminate. It afflicts men, women, and children.
Overcoming The Fear Of Bugs
Redirecting the conscious mind to ease the fear of bugs is possible. A phobic person must seek out therapy that is cognitive. Cognitive therapy will help to re-train the brain and it will resolve some terror in people with Entomophobia.
Other treatment also work with varying degrees is success. Hypnotherapy and tapping therapies are alternative treatments that have been used to ease the phobia.