Fear is an inherent emotion of all animals, including humans. It is precisely because of this emotion that we can deal with danger and avoid danger.
But unlike other animals, animals may only be afraid of things that threaten their survival, but humans fear more than them, such as dense phobia-fear of dense objects, clown phobia- Fear of things with strange expressions like clowns, claustrophobia-fear of closed spaces, etc.
Almost every one of us has ever felt or still fears or dislikes such things, that is, certain animals. If the fear of certain animals cannot be overcome, it will eventually develop into diseases, that is-animal phobia.
Animal phobia is more common than expected
There are many types of phobias. Psychologists divide phobias into three categories: specific phobias, social phobias, and strange environment phobias. Specific phobias include animal phobias. According to statistics, animal phobia usually occurs in childhood. About 6% to 8% of people in Western countries suffer from this disease, and about 2% to 4% of patients in Latin America and Asia.
Speaking of this, you may be surprised. Is fear of animals a disease? Almost everyone is afraid of lions and tigers. Are we all sick? No, animal phobias are not only afraid of big beasts, they are also afraid of some mild and harmless animals, such as birds, insects, rats, cats, etc., and even some people are afraid of all animals. Their fear response is also much stronger. When encountering a scared animal, they will experience symptoms such as increased heart rate, dizziness, fainting, abdominal discomfort, and difficulty breathing. In more serious cases, they will be affected even when they see pictures of animals or hear their names. Scared to cry.
Animal phobia suffers more than this. The incomprehension and carelessness of other people is also the source of the patients’ pain. Most people, except patients, think that animals such as cats, dogs, rabbits, and goldfish are cute and harmless. Although spiders, mice, and moths are annoying, they shouldn’t be scared to cry, right? People who are afraid of small animals are really too timid!
Why are animals afraid?
Animal phobia has seriously affected the normal life of patients. How can we help them? First of all, we must understand why humans are afraid of animals?
Researchers from the Czech National Institute of Mental Health and Charles University studied people’s feelings of fear or disgust towards various animals by showing people pictures of animals, and explained and categorized them. They showed 24 kinds of animals including cats, dogs, cows, cockroaches, spiders, maggots, roundworms, mice, snakes (venomous snakes and non-poisonous grass snakes), and then collected the fear scores given by more than 2,000 participants on these photos to get Draw some conclusions.
Fear of dogs is a common type of animal phobia
Researchers divided animals into five categories according to people’s ratings: invertebrates with the highest overall fear scores, such as spiders and cockroaches; mice and bats with “thief-eyes” animals; strange-looking reptiles, such as snakes and lizards; Parasites inside and outside the human body, such as lice and maggots; farm animals and pets with the lowest scores, such as cats, dogs, and cows. The scoring results show that the most feared animals are spiders and venomous snakes, and the most disgusting animals are spiders, tapeworms, roundworms, lice and maggots, and farm animals and pets are at the bottom of this list.
From this result, the researchers summarized the causes of some animal phobias. The first is physiological reasons. When humans feel fear, the stress response system of the brain produces adrenaline. This hormone fills our muscles with energy and helps us escape. When we are out of danger, another area of the brain will reduce the production of related hormones, so that we can slowly calm down and no longer continue to feel fear. Otherwise, the emotion of fear will not be alleviated for a long time, and then the phobia will occur.
The second is genetic factors. If you search the news, you will find that in modern society, more people die in car accidents than those killed by beasts or snake venom. But even so, we rarely hear of car phobias or people who are afraid of beasts and snakes. It’s much more. Evolutionary psychology believes that this is precisely because in ancient times, our ancestors had been harmed by animals, so they began to fear and hate these animals that would cause harm. These animals’ genes were inherited to us, so we are born I feel fear and disgust with animals such as poisonous snakes and parasites. In contrast, cars appeared late, and we have not yet formed a natural fear of cars.
Spider’s “non-mainstream” appearance is one of the reasons people are afraid of it
The last type of cause is acquired experience and environmental impact.
In 1920, American psychologist Watson did such a famous experiment. Watson put a white rat next to a 9-month-old boy. At first he was not afraid at all. Then, Watson knocked a steel rail in his ear, and there was a loud noise, and the little boy showed an expression of fear. Later, this experiment was repeated every two months. After several times, the little boy developed a fearful response to the mouse. When Watson put the mouse next to him again, the little boy began to cry. This experiment shows that the process of experiencing learning produces fear, and repeated painful experiences can make us fear. This experiment by Watson is also extremely immoral. Maybe we were not afraid of kittens and puppies, but if we were bitten and scratched several times, we would have fear.
In addition, environmental influences are another cause of animal phobia. From an early age, the teachings of parents, the increase in knowledge, and the influence of literary works, can also cause animal phobia.
How to treat animal phobia
Knowing the cause of the disease, how can we prescribe the right medicine? Here is an example of spider phobia. Arachnophobia may be the most common type of animal phobia. According to reports, 5% of British people show obvious symptoms of fear of spiders. How can this be overcome?
First of all, if you feel that you are afraid of spiders “for no reason”, it may be due to genetic reasons or too sensitive neurological reactions, resulting in excessive “fear hormones”. In this case, you must seek medical treatment and psychological treatment. Drugs include antidepressants and sedatives. Antidepressants increase the content of the neurotransmitter serotonin, and sedatives reduce the excitatory effect of adrenaline, which can help patients reduce fear and settle down. Psychotherapy includes emotional counseling and hypnotherapy. This method is more effective for patients who have had the painful experience of being injured by animals.
Secondly, we must learn to recognize it correctly, spiders are not as dirty or poisonous as imagined. Spiders are very clean and picky eaters. They want to eat “clean” food. The Swiss biologist Hans Peter Riddle once fed urine to the spider during his experiment, but the spider was very “disgusted”. After drinking it, it repeatedly “wiped its mouth” and resolutely refused to take a second bite.
Spiders are not very venomous. Only 25 of the 50,000 species of spiders are known to be venomous, but even the most venomous spiders rarely cause death. Spiders also rarely bite people, unless they think they are life-threatening, otherwise they will not bite anything they cannot eat. Changed the view of spiders so that they don’t feel scared anymore.
If you are afraid of other animals or all animals, the above methods will also help. Find out the cause of fear, deepen your understanding of animals, change your misunderstanding of animals, seek help from other people, and become a braver yourself .
It is not ashamed to be afraid of animals, and it does not necessarily require “treatment”, “can not be offended but can be avoided”, just avoid it as much as possible. But if “fear” has seriously affected your life, you have to seek professional help. What do you fear, why are you fearing them? Only by understanding these problems can you overcome your fears.