National Geographic names the fear of cockroaches Katsaridaphobia. This fear can be enhanced by multiple factors not the least of which is their quickness and prolific nature.
It may be possible that individuals fear the potential of disease or filth with cockroaches, but more likely it is simply the fear of insects in general or Entomophobia.
The Causes for Katsaridaphobia
MedicineNet.com indicates this fear may be characterized by, “An abnormal and persistent fear of insects [cockroaches]. Sufferers of this fear experience undue anxiety even though they realize that most insects pose no threat. To avoid insects, they may frequently clean rooms and carpets, sweep hallways, spray insect-killer or seal off doors and windows.”
One of the primary causes for this phobia can often be traced by to a previous incident involving cockroaches. It could be a family member had previously suffered a traumatic experience involving cockroaches and instilled a fear simply by recounting negative thoughts about the roach. It might have also been reinforced at a time when the adult spotted a cockroach and expressed incredible fear. This scenario can take childish fear and amplify it many times over.
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There may be other causes and many individuals can’t pinpoint the exact moment the fear started. They simply remain acutely aware that the fear is extreme. It is generally a profound negative first impression and then the desire to never have the same experience that contributes to the ongoing fear.
Symptoms of Katsaridaphobia
No individual wishes to be embarrassed and it is the personal fear that causes all phobics to conclude that they have to avoid whatever it is they fear most in an effort to avoid embarrassing themselves.
AnxietyCare.org provides the following list of additional symptoms.
- Heart palpitations
- Feeling sick
- Chest pains
- Difficulty breathing
- ‘jelly legs’
- Feeling ‘unreal’
- Intense sweating
- Feeling faint
- Dry throat
- Restricted or ‘fuzzy’ vision or hearing
Any fear can seem like a life altering burden. Most phobics do not embrace their fear, but seem helpless to stop it. This is why they need caring assistance to manage the fear.
Ways to Overcome Katsaridaphobia
Because this fear is often caused by observing others who also had the fear there is a conditioned response in most katsaridaphobics. The greatest tool in managing the fear is reconditioning the mind to accept that the fear is unjustified. This can be accomplished through education and a caring therapist or friend willing to help draw the individual back to a place where they are kindly, but firmly reminded of the facts about the things they fear most – in this case the cockroach.
Since there is no harm that can come being in the same location as a cockroach there care be desensitization or brain retraining while in the presence of cockroaches in a controlled environment.
Newscaster Anderson Cooper has a fear of cockroaches. He did a piece on this fear and we supply the video below. The video shows another type of therapy that is somewhat controversial even among therapists. The video contains a sense of humor while showing that even those who have high profile jobs may experience some of the same phobias others share.
The Fear of Roaches