Excessive Fear of Amphibians
Did you pretend to be sick when your science class was scheduled to dissect a frog? Do you refuse to explore certain sections of the zoo during family trips? Are you scared of going near ponds and other small bodies of water in case you might catch a glimpse of an amphibian?
Does the mere sight of toads immediately make you sick to your stomach? Have you ever had one jump on you? Are you a fan of nature documentaries, but avoid watching videos that feature slimy animals?
If all of these feel familiar, you might be experiencing Batrachophobia or the phobia of amphibians.
But don’t fret: Batrachophobia is not as unusual as you think.
What Is Batrachopohobia?
Batrachophobia is the phobia of amphibians such as frogs, salamanders, toads, and newts. It could affect persons of any age group, with symptoms varying for every person. Most synonymously and interchangeably used with the term fear of frogs or ranidaphobia, Batrachophobia was first recorded in a 1953 dictionary of psychiatry.
People with an extreme phobia of frogs experience severe discomfort and panic at the prospect of interacting with amphibians directly. Even looking at an image or video clip may cause a reaction. Phobias are often the result of both external and internal trauma, coupled with genetics in some cases.
Most people who fear amphibians develop this fear because of incidents from their childhoods like pranks involving these animals. It could also be the result of a school experiment gone wrong.
Brain chemistry also holds significance in the development of phobias. Since this fear can be deemed irrational due to the harmless nature of these animals, people with Batrachophobia could develop secondary anxiety around the mockery of their fear.
What Are the Symptoms of Batrachophobia?
The symptoms of Batrachophobia are not constant across the chart. As each individual has a unique way of thinking and processing the world, this phobia can manifest itself in different ways. However, some manifestations may be common in quite a few cases.
Fear is a physical response. Just the thought of being around amphibians without it happening is enough to stir and trigger a reaction from the brain. The most common emotions surrounding these episodes are predominantly anger, guilt, and paranoia. Anxiety and fear levels can be base levels or fly through the roof and can range from feelings of mild panic to full-blown panic attacks.
Most Batrachophobia sufferers experience the following when they see a real amphibian or a representation (image) of one. Take note that they may not happen all at the same time.
● Heart palpitations
● Shortness of breath
● Losing the ability to speak
● Excessive sweating
● Numbness or loss of sensation
● Dizziness or vertigo
● Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
● Fear of fainting
● Social isolation and isolation from oneself
● Anticipatory anxiety
● Panic attack
People with a fear of amphibians may have a difficult time communicating their discomfort, so it is important to always be aware of others and pay attention to the symptoms.
Self-Help Methods to Cope With Batrachophobia
People may not understand why you’re afraid of amphibians, but Batrachophobia (or any phobia) can have a negative effect on your mental health. That’s why it is important to know how to overcome this fear.
Before jumping straight into professional treatment, find ways to deal with your phobia at the ground level. It helps to recognize unhealthy practices and unlearn them. Have a friendly morning check-in with yourself and your feelings.
When it comes to phobias, the mind is in a constant state of panic. Breathing exercises and meditation help calm the senses and find rationality. Find a meditation class you like online. Or, you could shut your eyes and focus on a song that soothes you. A self-help podcast also makes for a great listen.
Find a hobby that helps distract you. Be it painting, baking, or weightlifting, find something that occupies your mind and keeps irrational thoughts at bay. If you keep thinking about something, your brain is sure to internalize it and cause you mental anguish.
A great number of self-help books are available both online and in stores. With these tips, you can take concrete steps to deal with your phobia healthily.
But what if these self-help strategies are not enough to overcome your fear?
Getting Professional Help
Professional treatment for Batrachophobia focuses on the root of the subject. For a more long-term or permanent fix, address your concerns to a certified health care professional.
When you visit a professional for your first consultation, they will not slap a frog into your palm and leave it there until you stop reacting. Treatment is a long process and involves several options to choose from.
Medicines can be used to control short-term responses. However, there may be severe side effects when using pharmaceuticals. Remember that these are only meant as temporary suppressants or antidepressants and will not cure your phobia completely.
Counselling and Group Therapy
Personal counseling and support groups for those who share the same phobia is also a viable treatment method. Sharing your concerns with a trained professional will help you discover the cause of your phobia and explore ways to manage the symptoms. Communication and honesty are key to successful therapy sessions.
Virtual Reality Therapy or VRT
VRT is a modern high-tech treatment based on cognitive behavioral therapy. It can be used for children and adults alike. These virtual reality simulators let you face your fears while in the controlled setting of a doctor’s office.
It subjects you to various scenarios and helps alter your reaction during the sessions by creating situations unique to your phobia. VRT regulates these situations by making adjustments or repetitions until the trigger and emotional saturation points are reached. Hence, you are quite literally facing your fears.
Hypnotherapy or Hypnoanalysis
This method of treatment involves diving into the subconscious of the patient using hypnosis. A trained professional speaks to your subconscious and tries to trace the ingrained trauma and resulting patterns of behavior.
A therapist then reroutes these thoughts and tries to attach happier, more comfortable feelings to them. In doing so, they change the narrative entirely and rewire your thoughts concerning your phobia. This treatment method may take less time than others.
How to Overcome Batrachophobia
Whether you choose to seek professional help or power through it yourself, expect to spend tremendous amounts of time and energy. And it does not guarantee total instant relief. However, with every step toward helping yourself, a part of your phobia is dealt with and stripped away. And before you know it, you’ve got through it entirely.
The most important thing to remember is that you have to keep going. Some people tend to give up because they feel like they don’t have the willpower to get through it. Remember, you can do anything you set your mind to. And where there is a will, there is a way.
Remember to go easy on yourself. Trust your instincts. There’s nobody who knows you better than yourself. Surround yourself with positive vibrations and trust the process. Your phobia is nothing compared to how powerful your mind is. Before you know it, you can stare at Kermit the Frog (or his real-life counterpart) with a straight face and absolutely no care in the world.