What Is Zoophobia?

Zoophobia is an extreme, uncontrollable, and irrational fear of animals. The person can fear from one type of animal or he may fear from many or all types of animals.
Zoophobia is composed of two words. Zoo means animals and the word phobia means fear.

Zoophobia is a type of anxiety disorder. The patient suffering from zoophobia experiences fear and anxiety when he/ she hears about or sees animals.
Phobias are characterized as anxiety disorders and they are very commonly seen in young adults and children, even they can be found in all age groups.

A person can experience phobia not only related to animals but it can be related to any situation, object, human being, or animal-like some people fear heights, blood, pointed tools, etc.

Phobias have a few types which are:

Agoraphobia: In this, a person fears those situations or environments in which there are chances of being stuck.
Social Phobia: In this, a person fears social gatherings and avoids going on social activities.
Specific Phobia: In this, a person fears specific objects situations, or animals. Zoophobia comes in this category.

Examples of Zoophobia

These are some examples of Zoophobia
1. Murophobia: The patients fear rats and mice
2. Arachnophobia: The patients fear spiders
3. Ornithophobia: The patients fear birds
4. Ophidiophobia: The patients fear snakes
5. Apiphobia: The patients fear bees
6. Entomophobia: The patients fear insects
7. Cynophobia: The patients fear dogs
8. Ichthyophobia: The patients fear fishes
9. Helminthophobia: The patients fear worms
10. Ailurophobia: The patients fear cats
11. Chiroptophobia: The patients fear bats
12. Equinophobia: The patients fear horses
13. Herpetophobia: The patients fear reptiles
14. Ranidophobia: The patients fear toads and frogs

In all types of phobias, zoophobia and social phobia are most commonly reported.
Sigmund Freud addressed that zoophobia is the most common disorder among children

Symptoms of Zoophobia

These are some symptoms and physiological responses that the body gives during the panic attack of zoophobia.

Symptoms of zoophobia

  • An uncontrollable fear while thinking about animals
  • Intense phobia or panic attacks when you are near animals
  • Acknowledging that, the fear of animals is greater than the risk of animals but still unable to control the fear.
  • You are unable to focus on normal activities when you are near animals.
  • Completely avoiding any place that has a risk of animals coming in
  • You keep avoiding the thoughts of animals.
  • Panic attacks become frequent
  • Thoughts come to mind like being attacked by animals

Physiological Responses of the Body

  • Tachycardia (increase heart rate)
  • Trembling
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Shallow breathing
  • Fast breathing
  • Chills
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Numbness
  • Freezing up

Physiological Responses in Children

  • Trying to hide from the animals
  • Trying to hide behind their parents or caretakers
  • Crying
  • Screaming
  • Becoming numb
  • Becoming silent

Causes of Zoophobia

The causes of zoophobia are poorly understood but research studies are still being conducted

Evolution of Human beings:
Human evolution can play a role in causing zoophobia in them. In the early days, it was believed that animals are dangerous creatures, and we should keep ourselves safe from them. They considered them a threat to human beings. This thought has developed a fear in human beings towards animals. Fear is a defense mechanism but when it goes overboard, phobia develops.

Stressful Traumatic Experience:
It is possible that in past someone has been hurt by animals or has seen someone getting hurt by them. The memories of traumatic experiences can exaggerate the fear against animals and can turn the fear into a phobia. For example, if someone fears dogs (has cynophobia), it is possible that he has sustained a dog bite in his childhood.

It has been seen that females develop phobias like zoophobia more commonly than males.
Childhood is a very sensitive part of life. Most phobias and personality disorders are developed in this part of life.

How to cope with Zoophobia

Try not to avoid those places where animals are present:
Going out and repeatedly seeing and being in contact with animals can somehow decrease your phobias at a gradual pace.

Getting enough sleep and keep yourself Healthy:
Eating a healthy diet, keeping yourself fit, and having enough sleep can reduce these symptoms over time.

Share with Trusted Ones:

Discuss your fears and phobia with the people that you trust or join a community of the same people as you. This will help you to connect with them and share your problems

Try Relaxing Techniques:
Find the techniques that help you reduce stress and help you to cope up with the situations. Techniques like yoga, meditation, exercises, and breathing techniques can help you reduce stress to some extent.

Note: Contact a health care specialist when the zoophobia has started disturbing some important aspects of your life like daily activities, work, school, and studies. A health care professional knows what therapy or medicine one should take at what time.