HEALTH AND WELLNESS
It's never too late to paws and breathe.
WHILE animal lovers melt at the sight of cute kittens and googly eyed dogs, others feel like melting, too, albeit in fear.
Animal phobia is real and comes in many forms. It is a psychological condition that prevents a human from co-existing peacefully with animals. There are remedies available to alleviate animal phobia under the supervision of medical experts, but the first step is acknowledging that fear of animals affects many people, which is neither their fault nor the animals.
Because it's best to face one's demons, here's a rundown of some of the most common forms of animal phobia and the well-known personalities who suffered from each.
The fear of cats. This phobia also goes by the name Elurophobia, Felinophobia, Galeophobia and Gatophobia. It is characterized by a person's persistent, irrational fear or loathing of cats. Their issues with cats range from the usually harmless purring and affectionate rubbing on one's legs that cats do, to the possibility of being scratched or bitten (amychophobia is the fear of scratches or being scratched). Some are scared of seeing a cat in real life, especially black cats, and may even avoid any object that resembles a cat. Although cat phobics know that the animal they dread are not really dangerous, their fear overwhelms logic especially if they or someone they know have had a bad experience with a cat as a child.
Known cat phobics are Adolf Hitler and the Jackson siblings Michael and La Toya.
The fear of dogs or rabies. Cynophobia is another protective mechanism created by the unconscious mind. As in any phobia, it could develop at an early age triggered by a traumatizing experience a person or someone he or she knew had with a dog. A study done in South Africa by Drs. Willem A. Hoffmann and Lourens H. Human, however, claims that cynophobia could develop even as late as age 20.
Cynophobia, like ailurophobia, can be particularly hard on people living in places where lots of dogs and cats are kept as pets as it could emotionally stress them to no end and clip their social lives as a result.
Michael Jackson was a dog phobic.
A Study of Anxiety Disorders at the University of Texas by Dr. Timothy O. Rentz said animal phobia is high among the most common phobia that afflict people. Fear of snakes and spiders are common types of animal phobia but many have absolute fear of dogs and cats, too. Doctors say these debilitating animal phobia start developing between the ages of five and nine and are more common in females than males.
Showing dislike for a specific creature at an early age should serve as a clue about the onset of possible phobia as caused by direct personal experience, observational experience, and informational experience. Here are a few more types of animal phobia to help you know what you or someone you know is dealing with:
Alektorophobia - Fear of chickens
Arachnephobia or Arachnophobia - Fear of spiders (Johnny Depp and Justin Timberlake are apparently afraid of spiders).
Batrachophobia - Fear of amphibians, such as frogs, newts, salamanders, etc
Doraphobia - Fear of fur or skins of animals
Equinophobia (a.k.a. Hippophobia) - Fear of horses (Actress Kristen Stewart from the Twilight series has a fear of horses that began when she was 9.)
Herpetophobia - Fear of reptiles or creepy, crawly things
Ichthyophobia - Fear of fish
Ophidiophobia - Fear of snakes. (Matt Daemon and Justin Timberlake have this type of phobia)
Ranidaphobia - Fear of frogs
Suriphobia - Fear of mice
Zemmiphobia - Fear of the great mole rat.
Zoophobia - Fear of animals
Agrizoophobia - Fear of wild animals
* Veterinarians concerned about rising pet obesity cases