Fear of Mice and Rats, No Small Problem
Do you get chills down your spine when you see a rat scurrying across the street?
Does the mere thought of a mouse or rat make you queasy or nauseous? Do you often find yourself overwhelmed with a variety of emotions when people mention these rodents?
If so, then you may suffer from musophobia or the fear of mice and rats. This refers to extreme anxiety, stress, or fear in a person when they think of or see mice. That’s probably a lot to take in. Perhaps you can’t get a grip on what’s happening to you. But there are ways to get better.
Let’s have a look at the causes, symptoms, and ways to overcome this fear.
What is Musophobia?
Musophobia is the intense fear of rodents. People suffering from this fear often experience severe bouts of stress and anxiety when they see or come in contact with mice. If they happen to see a rodent in their home, their first instinct is to leave.
This phobia can get quite intense because people suffering from this condition often think that even looking at rodents is life-threatening.
Is it Normal to be Scared of Mice?
Musophobia may seem like an irrational fear to many, but humans and rodents have had a long history. Rodents have lived with humans for centuries because they seek human settlements in search of food and a habitat.
Rodents can cause multiple problems, like leaving waste all around your house. This waste is a harbinger of parasites and can set off a chain of problems like the bubonic plague. Rodents are also known for tearing clothes, ruining furniture, and stealing food.
Therefore, it isn’t unnatural or unusual to harbor a fear of rats because these rodents are quite troublesome.
Causes of Musophobia
It’s normal to ask yourself “why do I have a phobia of rats? There are various causes of Musophobia.
One of the main reasons why people have a fear of rats is because they’re known for spreading the bubonic plague which wiped out close to 75-200 million globally. As rats are primarily sewage dwellers, they carry germs and parasites that can be harmful to humans.
Also, like most phobias, Musophobia could have been triggered because of a past traumatic experience. Situations where a rat has bitten a child or someone they know can trigger the fear of mice in house.
Additionally, pop culture makes liberal use of depicting these creatures in a negative light. From cartoons like Tom and Jerry to movies and TV shows, rats have always been shown as creatures who induce fear amongst people.
Symptoms of Musophobia
Unsure if you have this phobia? Go through this list of the fear of rats symptoms.
● Feeling queasy or nauseous
● Fear of death
● Intense fear after looking or even thinking of a rat
● Obsessive thoughts about mice
● Unable to perform day-to-day activities
● Climbing on chairs or tables after looking at a rat
● Profuse sweating
● Gasping for breath
● Tight feeling in the chest
● Dry mouth
● Accelerated heartbeat
How to Overcome Fear of Mice
“How do I stop being scared of mice?” or “what do you do if you are scared of rats?” If these are questions that frequent your mind, then you’re already on your road to recovery. Once you acknowledge your phobia, you can apply multiple self-help strategies to systemically deal with this fear.
Keep in mind that all these steps require continuous practice and determination.
The first step in the self-help process is educating yourself about your phobia. There are multiple websites and books you can read to get all the information you require on rats and the fear of rats.
With the information you have accumulated, you can create a detailed structure on how you want to deal with Musophobia.
Talk to People You Trust
A major reason why the anxiety of mice in house gets so consuming is that sufferers tend to assume that they are alone on this journey. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Surrounding yourself with people you trust like friends and family members makes a strong impact on your road to recovery. Having a strong, reliable, and loving support system is extremely important.
People who love you unconditionally will always motivate and boost your self-esteem. The encouragement they shower will affect you positively and make this journey slightly more comfortable for you.
If you are not comfortable with confiding in your friends or family members, that’s alright. Try enlisting yourself in discussion groups on phobias. Very soon, you will realize that you aren’t the only one trying to overcome your phobia.
People who suffer from phobias often tend to overthink and experience intense bouts of stress. One of the easiest methods you can do to ease this is to express yourself. If you can’t talk to anyone, try writing down your thoughts, either in your diary, phone, or computer. This process will allow you to release any thoughts that are cluttering your mind.
Remember, overthinking can hamper the progress you’ve made. Worse, it can slowly reinforce your fears.
Exercising regularly helps in releasing stress and calms the mind. One of the most beneficial forms of exercise is cardiovascular training. Cardio is known for reducing stress and releasing more endorphins, also known as happy chemicals.
You don’t require any expensive or special equipment to do cardio, making it an accessible method of training. Some examples of cardio are running, skipping, cycling, and swimming.
Seeking Professional Help
What if these self-help strategies haven’t made a dent in your fear of mice? There’s nothing to worry about. All you need to do is consult a trained professional about receiving mouse phobia treatment.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This is a form of therapy where the therapist tries to alter the patient’s thought process to reach the desired goal. The therapist tries to remove all kinds of negative thoughts and improve mental health. CBT is a highly effective method and can have lasting effects on the patient.
However, CBT does not deal with resolving or addressing past trauma. Rather, it focuses more on the problems the patient is facing in the present and tries to resolve those.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Therapy or MBSR is a form of therapy that is used for patients suffering from extreme bouts of stress, anxiety, low self-confidence, and depression. This form of therapy mainly involves meditation and yoga.
The therapist tries to lessen the distractions and enables you to focus solely on your thoughts. This helps in increasing self-awareness. Being aware of your thoughts and fears can help you lessen the effects of your phobia.
For some individuals, exposure therapy works like magic. The theory is to help you overcome your phobia by bringing you face-to-face with it.
It is a slow process. At first, the therapist will start by simply asking you to think about rats. Once you’re able to think about these rodents without enduring any symptoms, you will move on to visually seeing rats.
You must remember that this treatment is monitored by a trained professional whose job is to track your reactions. Also, the therapist will only move forward if you give your consent.
How to Avoid Musophobia
The first step to avoid this phobia is to acknowledge that you suffer from this fear. Try and understand why you have this fear. Only then will you be able to move ahead. Try exercising, meditating, and expressing yourself. These activities reduce stress and help you remain calm.
Right now, you may feel like you’ll never get over this fear. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You have the capability of changing that. Have faith in yourself and the process. Soon, you’ll be immune to the effects rats have had on you in the past.