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Think of any subject and you can bet that someone out there has a phobia about it. With Ophidiophobia, it is one of those understandable phobias as it involves snakes.
From the Greek word: ‘Orphis’ (meaning serpent), this particular phobia is not at all uncommon. It is believed that around 10 out of every 100 people have this phobia to a lesser or greater degree.
In this post: Ophidiophobia – The Big Truth About Snake Phobia, I’ll be taking a look at this phobia in detail and seeing if there is help out there for people suffering from it.
I should also point out that many people ‘dislike’ snakes, but that isn’t the same as having Ophidiophobia. I’ll cover that distinction within this post.
I Dislike Snakes, So Do I Have Ophidiophobia?
The short answer is probably not. Some people dislike the taste of anchovies, but that doesn’t mean that they have a phobia of them. I know this because I don’t like the taste of anchovies and I don’t have an intense fear of them – so there you go.
So there is a clear distinction between disliking something and being scared out of your wits by something.
Apologies for anchovy lovers, but it’s just my little private problem.
If you merely dislike snakes, then you are a member of a massive club. But you need a different membership badge to join the Ophidiophobia Club.
The Ophidiophobia Fear Is A Very Intense Fear of Snakes
For this level of fear, forget anchovies and think of: A Ghost at The End of Your Bed, kind of fear.
For people living with this phobia, a mere picture of a snake, or even a thought about a snake, can reduce them to tears and a state of high anxiety. At this level of stress, treatment is very often recommended. I’ll look at the options for treatment a little farther down this page.
While Indiana Jones is a fictional character, his screen persona was portrayed as being a person who suffered from a fear of snakes. Source
The reason that I mention Indiana Jones is that it’s quite typical for people in real life to have immense bravery in many areas of their lives, but then to have an irrational fear of something that can be harmless. While Indiana Jones is undoubtedly fictional, that balance of bravery and fear is present in many people outside the world of acting.
I Have Ophidiophobia. Can I Get Help?
If your fear of snakes is intense and it disrupts your everyday life, then of course treatments are available. Speaking to your doctor would be the first logical step.
While your doctor is most likely not a specialist in the field of phobias, she can indeed refer you to someone who is.
Types of Treatment for Ophidiophobia
Hypnotherapy – For some people, hypnotherapy can be a very effective treatment. During the session, the therapist will allow you to re-explore your past to investigate where your intense fear of snakes originated. Once this information is known, it can then be possible to reprogram your mind to consider snakes in a more realistic and non-threatening way. A good therapist will be cautious to allow a real and sensible fear to exist for potentially dangerous situations involving snakes.
Exposure Therapy – This type of therapy exposes the sufferer to their phobia, but in a very controlled way. This kind of treatment is carried out in five stages:
1. Evaluation of The Phobia: At this stage you’ll describe your fear to your therapist and evaluate its level of seriousness and also try examine where the fear originated.
2. The Feedback Stage: Your therapist will give you feedback on how your treatment should be conducted.
3. Develop a Fear Ladder: You and your therapist will work together to construct a scale of situations from No Fear to Very Fearful. This scale will allow you to be exposed to your fear at a very gradual pace.
4. Exposure: You begin to be exposed to your fears starting with the least threatening ones. Each session is easy-going and you are expected to take time with each level of exposure. At the end of each level you’ll feel very comfortable with your progress.
5. The final stage is the Building Stage. This level see’s you progressing through all the levels that you determined at stage 3.
With this type of treatment, you’ll be guided through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This therapy involves analyzing the thought patterns that you have when thinking about snakes. Irrational fears are based on false beliefs, and CBT will help to uncover those misguided thought patterns. Once you discover the truth behind your irrational thinking, you are then in a position to see for yourself that your thought processes have not been correct. At this stage, you begin to build a revised belief-system based on your new knowledge about yourself.
My Conclusion for Ophidiophobia
Depending on where you live, coming across a snake may be an everyday situation for you or an event that will never really take place.
People who have Ophidiophobia have no boundaries when it comes to how likely it is that they’ll stumble across a snake. Even people who have never been within 100 miles of a snake can have Ophidiophobia. So always keep in mind that if you know someone who is suffering from Ophidiophobia, please take them seriously no matter where they live.