Rats are the obsession of many people, but if you become panicky, extremely excited, your limbs shake to immobility, or even have difficulty breathing, nausea, then you are most likely suffering from the syndrome. Musophobia (fear of rats). This disease occurs in about 4.7% of the population, of which 75% are women. Most patients often choose to avoid this fear instead of facing it.
What is Musophobia?
Rats are one of the animals that are hated by many people because they often live in unclean places, so they look dirty, smelly and ugly. At the same time, they often “break into” the house to gnaw on furniture, clothes, shoes, causing unpleasant odors everywhere and damaged furniture. Therefore, people often find ways to destroy rats in places where traces of them are found.
In fact, most people feel scared or startled when they see a mouse, this is a pretty normal state. For example, when a person sees a mouse, he can scream and try to avoid it, and then no longer worry too much. However, if someone falls into a state of extreme panic, extreme arousal or becomes immobile, spastic, and sweaty at the sight of a mouse, then most likely these people have Musophobia. mouse.
Musophobia (or surifobia from the French word “souris”, which translates as “rat”) is a term derived from the subfamily “Murinae” which includes more than 500 species of rodents and “phobia” which means fear irrational obsession. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-V classifies the disease as an anxiety disorder with a specific obsession that is somewhat excessive, beyond the normal emotional and cognitive levels.
Some typical symptoms of Musophobia such as
- Feel extreme shaking, fear, panic if you see mice or see their movements
- Sweating, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, sweating, dilated pupils, dilated pupils make these people seem to fall into a state of immobility at the sight of mice.
- Always feel that rats are dangerous animals that can attack and harm themselves, not just plain hate
- Startle when you hear or feel mouse-like noises
- Always try to find a way to avoid all activities, roads, and situations where you may encounter obnoxious mice
- Heart beats fast, blood pressure increases, skin turns white if you see or hear a mouse
- It is possible to experience phobias and nightmares related to rats
These symptoms may have lasted for more than 6 months before becoming more and more severe. However, if you do not encounter mice, these symptoms will not be too obvious, so the patients do not notice. On the other hand, the patients themselves often just think that the fear is normal, not psychological, or also tend to avoid rats by all means, not choosing treatment.
In fact, the fear of rats does not affect too much to a person’s quality of life because rats are not always encountered, especially when you live and work in a clean environment. However, in some people, this phobia is so severe that just seeing the image or hearing the sound of a mouse can cause extreme panic. Therefore, the sooner these people are examined and treated, the better.
Causes of fear of rats
Musophobia has a high prevalence in children between the ages of 8-9, but it can develop into adulthood. The main causes of the disease are often related to events from the past caused by the rat to the person himself, or can also be related to genetic factors, influences from family. Understanding the cause of the disease will make treatment more effective and easier.
Specifically, some risk factors increase a person’s phobia of rats such as
- Family influence: genetic factors or if there is a person in the family who is afraid of rats, the people living with them are also very susceptible to this phobia. Especially if their parents are afraid of mice, always screaming in panic when they see mice, then when the child sees this image from the parents, it will certainly be more or less affected.
- Influence from negative information: The fact that parents often scare and tell their children about the dangers of rats gradually causes a psychological shadow that makes children always have the mentality that this is a scary animal that needs to be avoided. Or the fact that television, comic books, and movies often build images of scary, evil, destructive mice that make many people susceptible to this.
- Events from the past: A person with ratphobia may have experienced a frightening, phobic event that involved this rodent. For example, a person has been bitten by a rat to get sick, developed a fever, been attacked by a mouse when he was a child.. All this is deeply ingrained in that person’s subconscious, becoming an unforgettable phobia. Need to see a mouse or something like a mouse jumps and tries to get away.
Ratphobia can affect anyone, but children and women tend to have a higher incidence. Partly because the psychology of these target groups is quite weak and sensitive from the beginning, they are easily affected by these things. On the other hand, Musophobia also often occurs on mice and hamsters because they have a rather ugly appearance, have a foul smell, so these objects are also more prone to panic.
In addition, another group of people who are also more susceptible to the disease is people living in urban areas, especially children. Because urban areas will see less rats and most of them are exposed through media and books, they are always influenced by reviews, information and images from these channels.
Ways to overcome the fear of rats
If the symptoms of ratphobia have been present for more than 6 months with increasing severity, they will be diagnosed as disease. Patients should go to neurologists or psychotherapy centers for the most accurate examination. Experts will let patients do psychological tests, share and learn about past experiences to understand the cause of the disease, from which to offer appropriate treatment.
With that said, the fact that Musophobia symptoms often appear in situations where rats appear, do not arise spontaneously without impact. Therefore, if kept away from rats, this syndrome will not cause too much impact on the patient’s life or health. Of course in this life it is not always possible to absolutely avoid this animal, so it is necessary to find a way to overcome it as soon as possible.
Psychological care and rehabilitation is the leading measure aimed at patients with fear of rats to be able to prevent and eliminate these anxious emotions. The therapist will directly talk with the client to go deep into the psychology, understand why the person has this phobia. Once the triggers for mental disorders are understood, treatment is much more effective.
A number of therapeutic methods are commonly applied to patients with rat phobia such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT); cognitive behavior upon direct exposure (EV); exposure therapy. The common goal of these therapies is to help patients realize that their excessive fear is completely irrational and to replace it with more correct views.
By exposing a client to pictures of rats, watching rat movies, delving deeper into rats, looking at mice in a glass cage, or even trying to touch a mouse with their hands can induce feelings of emotional distress. The patient’s anxiety gradually subsided. The counselor will also provide the client with ways to deal with their own anxiety and fear when dealing with rats.
Patients can directly contact the mouse through gloves or directly with their hands, depending on the stage of treatment. Currently, some units also apply virtual reality technology to create the most realistic images of mice so that patients can see and face their fears.
The exposure to rats will be increased gradually with each level and should have support from experts to ensure the control of the patient’s hyperactivity. The release of stress and obsessions from the past related to the mouse also contributes to removing the dark shadow from the past so that the patient’s spirit is more comfortable, positive, and overcomes fear.
Pharmacological treatment of patients with ratphobia may not be necessary. However, if the patient’s living environment is not good or the stimuli from the disease can affect the patient’s mind, the doctor can also consider some suitable drugs to calm nerves and stabilize the mind. and help improve the quality of life and health every day.
Some drugs are often prescribed for patients with Musophobia such as anxiety relievers, sedatives. However, it should be noted that these drugs often come with a lot of side effects, so they should absolutely not be overused, only used when prescribed by a doctor.
Change your lifestyle
In fact, even though many people do not have a fear of rats, there are still many people who feel startled and alarmed when the presence of this rodent is present. This is also not a useful animal, so the more you can avoid it, the better, but even so, Musophobia patients should still be treated to minimize dangerous problems for themselves and those around them, if any. mouse appears.
Some necessary notes to make the treatment of rat fear syndrome more effective, such as:
- Learn, read books about mice to better understand this animal
- Watch cartoons or read comic books about mice to get a more interesting view of your fear
- Learn to control your breath to quickly calm down, control yourself if you see a mouse
- Find a way to deal with or destroy the rat
- Always keep your house or place clean and tidy to avoid the risk of rats appearing
- If you see a mouse in or around your home, you need to find a way to get rid of it as soon as possible
- Maintain the habit of exercising, going to bed early to improve mental health, more stable against fear.
- Share your fears with those around you so you can seek help when needed.
The fear of rats also has a high incidence, although it does not cause too many adverse effects on life or health, so it should be treated early, should not be ignored or tried to endure. Overcoming your own fear is also conquering yourself to be able to move forward to a happy and happy future ahead.