Zoophobia is among the most widespread forms of abnormal fear. A 2021 study completed by the Association for the Study of Fear, Behavior, and Phobia graded zoophobia as one of the more prevalent forms of phobia across all three major categories of anxiety disorders. It found that zoophobia is consistently one of the more prevalent forms of fear. The reasons for this vary from one person to the next. In this article I’ll examine some potential causes and how to deal with them.
Linked to Genetics
One cause of zoophobia has been linked to genetics. Specifically, studies have shown that there is a genetic link between some people being more likely to be exposed to things that cause anxiety. In an interesting twist, this also suggests that some people could have been exposed to things in their environment that cause similar anxiety disorders. For example, researchers have found links to asthma and obsessive-compulsive disorders. So, if your family has a history of one or the other it’s not out of the realm of possibility that you might have picked up these traits as well.
Exposure To Certain Situations
Another potential cause of zoophobia is exposure to certain objects or situations. This type of course can stem from a few different factors. First, a phobic response to objects or situations could stem from a past experience. As an adult, you may be afraid of stairs. As a child you might be terrified of animals running into the house. The link here is that your response to objects or situations differs from your overall perception of them.
A different possible cause of zoophobia is your anxiety symptoms. As an adult, your generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) may have caused you to be hyper-sensitive to things around you like stairs or animals. This generalized anxiety symptoms can be generalized, meaning they are felt all over your body and not just at one area such as the foot of your bed. This can make treatment options for general anxiety disorders difficult.
Cure to Zoophobia
Because the causes of zoophobia can be so varied, there are also a lot of different treatments for it. One of the more common treatment options for this condition is cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy works by changing how you process information regarding your phobic trigger events. By doing this, you can usually reduce your symptoms to a point where you don’t have any symptoms at all. However, some people find that these cognitive behavioral therapies aren’t working and need to seek medical attention.
There are also a variety of medications that can help treat some of these specific phobias. Anti-anxiety medications like Xanax and Klonopin have been known to help patients with some phobias. In addition, prescription medications that target the central nervous system like Depakote and Valium have been known to help people with mild forms of zoophobia.
Since zoophobia is caused by an irrational fear of animals, the treatments for it tend to focus on removing the source of the fear. Therefore, anti-anxiety drugs, like Xanax or Klonopin, are often used to treat this specific phobia because it is associated with fear of animals. Medications that target the central nervous system, such as Depakote and Valium, are often used to treat the underlying cause of the fear of animals. For people who still have problems getting relief from their phobias, medication to treat their underlying fears of animals may be recommended in order to provide long term relief.
Fortunately, many people with zoophobia find that it is only a short term condition. Over time, they tend to get over their fears of animals and live happy, fulfilled lives without a fear of animals. So if you have zoophobia, you should know that it is treatable. Your anxiety disorder may even be linked to other anxiety disorders, which can be treated, too.