Some people just don’t like snakes which don’t mean it’s a phobia because for it to be a phobia there has to be an instant consistent reaction of anxiety whenever they see a snake or in fact something that looks like a snake.
Though many people have never seen a snake in person, however, research shows that humans have developed an innate tendency to sense snakes and to learn to fear them. Psychologists found that humans can identify pictures of snakes among a variety of non-threatening objects. Moreover, they believe that this helps humans to survive in the wild.
The scientific name of the fear of snakes is Ophidiophobia or Ophiophobia. Also, sometimes it's called a herpetophobia which means fear of snakes.
Signs and Symptoms
If you have a profound dread of snakes, you may encounter at least one manifestation when you draw close to them, consider them, or connect with media containing snakes. For instance, if your associate talks about their pet ball python in the lounge, you may have at least one of the accompanying responses:
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Sweating, specifically in your extremities such as your palms
- expanded pulse
- trouble breathing or brevity of breath
- trembling and shaking
These indications may intensify as you get genuinely closer to a snake or as the hour of a proposed snake connection develops nearer to occurring. (Source)
Causes of the Fear of Snakes
Much like other explicit fears, a dread of snakes can emerge out of an assortment of causes. It might really have numerous components, each layered on the other, taking an idle (lacking) dread and transforming it into something tension inciting. A few reasons for ophidiophobia include:
- A negative encounter: An awful involvement in a snake, particularly at a youthful age, could leave you with a long haul fear of the animals. This could incorporate being in an alarming situation that noticeably included snakes and in which you felt caught or powerless.
- Learned practices: On the off chance that you grew up observing a parent or relative showing dread around snakes, at that point you may have learned they were something to fear. This is valid for some particular fears, including ophidiophobia.
- Depiction in media: Regularly we figure out how to fear something on the grounds that famous media or society discloses to us it is unnerving. On the off chance that you saw an excessive number of startling motion pictures or alarming pictures highlighting snakes over a significant stretch of time, you could figure out how to fear them.
- Finding out about negative encounters: Hearing somebody depicts an alarming involvement in a snake could be activating. Dread regularly originates from the desire for something making agony or inconvenience as restricted memory of really encountering it.
Treatment of the Fear of Snakes
The fear of snakes could have been a learned behavior, but it could also be from a sensitizing event. Now that sensitizing events with snakes interestingly isn't normally because snakes, particularly in western countries, tend to be fairly rare.
So, what's more, likely is that the sensitizing event could be you know some kind of bedtime story, or a movie. It's really important to think that in movies or in stories quite often snakes are used to represent the antagonist. This goes back even to biblical times when the devil was portrayed as a serpent type figure for example, in the Jungle Book.
Normally animated cartoons and movies will portray snakes as quite sinister, evil and cunning. Rarely snakes are seen as the heroes, so all it would take really is a child to see a movie or cartoon where the snake is portrayed as evil. Then see a snake in real life and that association has already been primed, that becomes consistent.
Moreover, you can use a strategy that most people use when they have a fear of snakes which is avoidance. They just don’t go to the reptile section of a zoo. Also, they avoid a friend who has a pet snake and isn't interested in seeing it.
So, avoidance is actually quite effective if you have a fear of snakes whereas it isn't effective if you have a fear of rats. This is because rats are always going to get into your home. There're certain animals that can kind of enter your space that doesn't particularly happen with snakes.
Societal and Cultural Impact of Fear of Snakes
There is a high chance that any specific phobia can first appear during your childhood. If not then it can occur later in life. Almost half of the people in a country can have the same phobia just like if someone in your family has a particular phobia you're going to have that too.
If you’re more sensitive, more inhibited or more negative, then your risk may increase as well. Suppose, one of your close friends has a pet snake, so your fear can cause a relationship problem with that friend.
How common is the Fear of Snakes?
The fear of snakes is the second most popular phobia, particularly when it comes to animals. It’s estimated that nearly about 1/3rd of adult humans have some kind of fear or phobia of snakes. It quite often comes from learned behavior. So, if as a child you had a family member or an older sibling perhaps who had a fear of snakes, then it's quite possible that you simply learned that fear from them.
Most things that we learn in this way are actually very useful. It's just that the way in which we learn phobias isn't particularly useful for us and that's what makes it a phobia. It's not necessarily an irrational fear but you can consider it a non-useful fear because of some of the fears that we've been in fact useful for example, not running in busy roads.
What should you do if you’ve Fear of Snakes?
Although the fear of snakes is quite common and we've suggested you do so many necessary things, but at the end of the day, the best way is to conquer your fear by naming them and facing them. The best thing to do if you've fear of snakes is to talk with a therapist and ask support from reliable friends and family members.
This way you’ll be able to find a path to minimize your anxiety and live a free from ophidiophobia.