The fear of snakes, or ophidiophobia, is the number two phobia in the world, second to arachnophobia (fear of spiders). Both groups were able to identify the hidden snake faster than the other hidden objects. Regardless of the reason, this fear is the result of an individual having been "conditioned" to feel fear in the presence of snakes. There are many people who fear the snakes but this is the same way that the snakes do fear the people. Research shows that about five per cent of the population has a strong, paralyzing fear of snakes and spiders. "We also did a study with spiders and found the same effect," LoBue said. A therapist will help you to "unlearn" these fears. However, in the modern day, if you find you’re unable to function in your life or that you lose all control at the mere mention of a snake, you may be dealing with more than just the healthy respect a wild predator deserves. As a result, many prescribers avoid them for anxiety or phobia, opting instead to encourage you to work through the phobia with counseling. A 2013 study even found that our brain is evolutionarily conditioned to be afraid of snake-like forms. Since snakes are often depicted as threatening or dangerous, a fear of snakes is considered a given — who wouldn’t be afraid of something that can kill you with one bite? It’s natural to be a bit afraid of venomous snakes, I myself have a healthy respect for them, but that doesn’t make me like them any less. Then, together, you can talk through different possible diagnoses to see which feels the closest to your own personal experience. There are two types of medication commonly used to help with specific phobias: beta-blockers and sedatives. This phobia can interrupt daily life and functioning. "This feeling is really common," LoBue told LiveScience. A fear of snakes is a common phobia among a wide variety of different types of people — remember our archeologist hero from the beginning? But a snake not feeling affection doesn’t mean that your pet snake doesn’t like you, or that it doesn’t like living the way it does. Discover its causes and…. This may include exercising excessively, restricting food…. Beloved action hero Indiana Jones is known for fearlessly rushing into ancient ruins to rescue damsels and priceless artifacts, only to get the heebie-jeebies from a booby trap with snakes. Snakes do not bite humans unprovoked. Most of these fears generate during an individual's childhood. Biting is also the snake’s best way to catch its food, and so snake bites on humans often occur due to the snake confusing a hand for a meal. Atelophobia is the fear of being imperfect. Primates, including humans, see really well. Some causes of ophidiophobia include: Specific phobias can sometimes be delicate to diagnose, as not all of them are listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5). For instance, a snake will hiss if she feels threatened and a bearded dragon lizard will puff out his beard and change its color from light brown to black when he’s mad or stressed, explains Dr. Denish. Avoiding Snakes when Walking in the Great Outdoors Know when you're heading into snake territory. The only way to find out for sure is to take him/her to your vet. Previously, anthropologists have suggested the need to notice snakes in the wild may have led early primates to develop better vision and larger brains. The snakes are hunted mostly because of their skins. You react to them very early on.". Ophidiophobia is a partially irrational fear of snakes; refers to the subspecies of herpetophobia (fear of reptiles) which in turn belongs to the class of zoophobias – fears associated with animals. With beta-blockers, your heartbeat pumps a little slowly, so if you have a panic or fear response, this can help you to feel calm and relaxed instead of spiraling. Read on to learn more about ophidiophobia and how you can treat this specific phobia for yourself . Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Heliophobia is an intense fear of sunlight. The scientific community and the hobbyist community both agree that snakes experience fear. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer. Snakes certainly have large enough brains to experience fear and pleasure. In this case, your fear of snakes may be diagnosed as a specific phobia, which means an intense fear or anxiety in response to a specific trigger, such as an animal, environment, or situation. LoBue's collaborator, Judy DeLoache, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, happens to be petrified of snakes. Studies have shown that snakes can hear sounds in the 80-600 Hz range, with some species hearing sounds up to 1000 Hz. The researchers think this ability helped humans survive in the wild. Two of the most obvious emotions: fear and aggression. The reason we got into this research was because I've always been fascinated by how it is that people develop it. "Humans who detected the presence of snakes very quickly would have been more likely to pass on their genes.". Visit our corporate site. It is simply asking the snake to do something that, as far as we can tell, the snake … In extreme cases, photographs of snakes can be enough to trigger anxiety for a person with this disorder. It may also be a part of other conditions like autism spectrum disorder. Sadness is an emotion that involves the activation of various parts of the brain. Journal of Abnormal Psychology 98 (4): 448-459. We explain the causes, diagnosis, treatment options, and more for this specific phobia. If you’re someone struggling with ophidiophobia, the fear of snakes, then you know exactly how our adventurer feels. The brain processes images of snakes (bites, fangs, and venom) that leads to an unconscious, immediate fear reaction. While babies and very young children do not usually fear snakes, they are unusually skilled at detecting them and show a predisposition to learn to fear snakes if they have bad experiences or even if they are exposed to negative portrayals of them in the media, the scientists found. We explain what it is, symptoms, treatment, and more. Ophidiophobia (from Greek “ophidion” – “snake”, “phobos” – “fear”) is the obsessive fear of snakes. Then they showed them pictures of a frog or a flower surrounded by snakes. My intuition was that there was something that made me feel afraid of snakes early on. © So how is this fear generated? The narrow fellow in the grass: Human infants associate snakes and fear. It may actually have multiple factors, each layered on top of the other, taking a latent (undeveloped) fear and turning it into something anxiety inducing. The reason is probably because snakes are so misunderstood. 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