Blatophobia is not the same as fear of common insects. People with this syndrome often experience extreme fear, disgust, and loss of control when they see or come into contact with cockroaches. Although the name sounds ordinary, Blatophobia profoundly affects every aspect of life.
What is the fear of cockroaches?
Most insects cause a little fear to humans. Usually, fear will be driven by the danger level and ugly appearance of each animal. For example, when seeing scorpions, most people will be more scared than when seeing worms or spiders.
Fear of seeing insects is a common human reaction. However, some people experience extreme fear, disgust and phobia when they see insects – such as cockroaches.
Blatophobia is a psychological syndrome in which patients feel terrible fear when they see cockroaches. The patient is completely unable to control his fear and sometimes faints just from seeing or touching this animal. Cockroaches cause fear for many people, but the level of fear is often negligible because cockroaches are harmless insects.
Cockroach fear syndrome has not been recognized in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, this syndrome will still receive examination and treatment when necessary.
Blatophobia is similar to other phobias and anxiety disorders. Therefore, in addition to feelings of fear and disgust, patients often tend to avoid the object of fear. Cockroaches are insects that are present everywhere, so many people choose to lock themselves in their homes to not have to see cockroaches. For this reason, most people with a fear of cockroaches will need treatment.
Manifestations of fear of cockroaches
Cockroach fear syndrome is similar to other phobias. In particular, typical symptoms are excessive, unreasonable fear and disgust when seeing cockroaches. Blatophobia will often lead to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Excessive fear of cockroaches will prompt the patient to clean the house and car constantly.
The constant fear leaves the patient in a state of insecurity, anxiety and stress. In addition, fear will also increase when seeing cockroaches. Similar to other phobias, the fear of cockroaches causes a variety of physical symptoms in addition to negative emotions.
Signs of fear of cockroaches:
- There is always the fear of seeing or touching cockroaches. This fear persists, is permanent, and increases in the face of this insect
- There are avoidance behaviors such as not going to damp places, caves, warehouses, etc. for fear of seeing cockroaches
- Clean the house, car regularly, use insect sprays, essential oils, … to repel cockroaches.
- There is always a feeling of stress and insecurity because of the fear of cockroaches appearing
- There is a thought that disaster will happen if you encounter cockroaches
When you see or come into contact with cockroaches, fear will increase and trigger physical symptoms to flare up. Possible symptoms of seeing or coming into contact with cockroaches:
- Extreme fear
- Feeling overwhelmed, disgusted
- Want to quickly get out of the current situation
- Thinking about an imminent disaster?
- Choking, difficulty breathing
- Headache, dizziness
- Dry mouth
- Heart beat fast
- Feeling out of control
The symptoms caused by the fear of cockroaches are usually not a threat to health. However, excessive fear can cause the patient to panic, lose control and lead to accidents at work or on the road. In addition, the unreasonable fear of cockroaches also increases the nuisance when studying and working.
Causes of fear of cockroaches (Blatophobia)
The cause of the fear of cockroaches has not been clearly studied. However, according to experts, the cause will be different in each case.
Fear is an emotion that is based on evolution. People will often be afraid of things that can be dangerous such as wild animals, natural disasters, etc. This emotion shows that the body must fight or flee to ensure its own safety.
However, some people may be overly fearful of objects or situations that are not really dangerous. This condition is collectively known as phobia. According to experts, an unreasonable fear of cockroaches can stem from the following reasons:
- Negative experiences associated with cockroaches: The excessive fear of seeing cockroaches is thought to be related to negative events in the past. For example, having an infection due to contact with cockroaches, being intimidated by friends with cockroaches, etc. These events inadvertently create an unconscious defensive reaction in the mind. Therefore, the brain will trigger feelings of extreme fear and disgust when seeing cockroaches.
- The result of evolution: As mentioned, fear is the result of evolution. Over time, genes mutate so that people are better adapted and detect hazards by inducing feelings of fear. Cockroaches are not inherently harmful insects. However, their ability to reproduce quickly and the foul smell from them can make some people feel their living space is threatened. Therefore, some people will experience extreme fear when facing this insect.
- Some other factors: Blatophobia is also related to factors such as young age, anxious personality, fear, overprotective family, etc.
The overwhelming feeling of fear at the sight of cockroaches will subside with adulthood. However, in some cases, the fear can persist for years if left untreated.
Effects of fear of cockroaches
The symptoms of the fear of cockroaches do not pose a direct threat to health. However, because of the constant fear of encountering cockroaches, the patient is often in a state of stress and insecurity. In addition, this syndrome also prompts compulsive behaviors such as cleaning cars, houses, spraying insects excessively.
Seeing cockroaches can cause panic attacks. If you are working at height or driving a vehicle, the possibility of an accident is very high. Compared with other phobia disorders such as fear of spiders, fear of airplanes, fear of cockroaches has a higher degree of influence. Because cockroaches are insects that appear everywhere. This makes the patient always stressed, locking himself in the house and refusing to go out.
Blatophobia can lead to psychological problems such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, depression, etc. The feeling of helplessness because of not being able to control fear makes many people abuse alcohol use and substance addiction. In addition, young children with this disease will have difficulty in learning well, retarded in physical and psychological development, and are often unstable.
How to overcome the fear of cockroaches
The fear of insects will usually not require treatment because it causes little trouble in life. However, with the fear of cockroaches, most require therapeutic intervention to normalize life and prevent long-term effects on health.
As mentioned, Blatophobia is not yet recognized as an official psychological syndrome. Therefore, doctors will use diagnostic criteria for phobia in this case. Basically, phobias have the same mechanism and manifestations. Therefore, psychotherapy and drug use will be considered to reduce fear, at the same time help patients reduce avoidance behaviors and learn to relieve anxiety and stress caused by agoraphobia. .
Methods to be considered in the treatment of roach phobia:
Psychotherapy is the most effective method of treating phobias, including the fear of cockroaches. This method is designed to learn about the causes of an unreasonable fear of cockroaches. Then, the specialist will choose an intervention direction to help the patient change the wrong thinking, thereby adjusting the behavior and emotions in a more positive direction.
There are quite a number of psychological methods applied to patients with fear of cockroaches. Among them, the commonly applied methods include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Currently, CBT is the most widely used psychotherapy method. CBT is applied to change wrong and negative thinking about cockroaches. Thereby helping the patient reduce the feeling of excessive fear when facing this insect. The further goal of CBT is to help reduce avoidance behaviors and control negative emotions caused by roach syndrome.
- Exposure therapy: Exposure therapy is often combined with CBT to increase effectiveness. This therapy exposes the patient to cockroaches starting with the mention in conversation, followed by visual and direct viewing. Currently, some places have applied virtual reality technology so that patients can face cockroaches without having to come into direct contact. Exposure therapy helps patients learn to deal with their fear and reduce irrational fear of cockroaches.
- Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP): NLP allows professionals to find the root cause of irrational fear. This therapy helps patients stay calm in the face of fear and learn to relax and avoid excessive stress. During therapy, therapists can combine multiple therapies to correct behavior and help patients reach their full potential.
Psychotherapy is highly effective in treating the fear of cockroaches. Treatment can last several weeks or longer. If treatment is persistent, most patients have a good response and overcome the fear of cockroaches.
2. Drug use
The use of drugs is rarely indicated in the treatment of the fear of cockroaches. However, because cockroaches can appear anytime and anywhere, many people become overly stressed, anxious and depressed. Therefore, medication can be used to reduce negative emotions and improve related physical symptoms.
Medications to be considered for people with roach phobia:
- Sedatives, anxiolytics
- Beta blockers
Using the drug brings quick results. However, the drug only helps to improve the symptoms, it cannot relieve the unreasonable fear of cockroaches. Therefore, using drugs is only considered as a supportive measure in the treatment of cockroach fear syndrome. Patients must undergo psychotherapy if they want to overcome their fears and acquire the necessary skills.
3. Support measures
Cockroach fear syndrome makes patients always stressed and insecure because they are afraid of facing cockroaches. Psychological stress can lead to many physical problems such as muscle tension, headaches, insomnia, high blood pressure, etc. To support the treatment process, patients should take some supportive measures besides Use of drugs and psychotherapy:
- Equipped with stress-reducing measures such as meditation, deep breathing, massage, herbal tea, etc. These measures help reduce the feeling of stress and anxiety caused by the fear of cockroaches.
- Learn information about cockroaches to change misconceptions about this animal. When the perception is changed, the irrational fear of cockroaches will be significantly reduced.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle to avoid physical weakness. Although a healthy body does not eliminate fear, it will help control negative emotions.
- Find friends and join groups of people with phobias to share, make friends and gain more treatment experiences.
- Talk to those around you about your health to avoid situations that can lead to accidents. In addition, this will also help the patient be more comfortable and not have to hide the condition.
- Keep a journal of your feelings and thoughts. Through expressing negative thoughts, experts will suggest the optimal intervention to bring more positive results.
Cockroach fear syndrome sounds normal, but it has a significant impact on health and quality of life. Although the cause is unknown, this syndrome can be managed through psychotherapy. Therefore, if the disease is suspected, it should be treated early to be able to study, work and develop in a healthy way.