What Is Entomophobia? A Psychologist Reveals


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A phobia, outlined as a deep-rooted worry of one thing, can disrupt your on a regular basis life and total well-being—much more so when the factor that you simply’re frightened of is in all places, akin to bugs. This is called entomophobia, “an extreme and irrational worry or phobia of bugs,” says neuropsychologist Sanam Hafeez, PsyD. “This worry can lengthen to numerous kinds of bugs, together with frequent ones like ants, spiders, bees, cockroaches, and flies, in addition to much less threatening or innocent bugs.”  

Moreover, bedbugs, specifically, may be fairly triggering for folks with entomophobia, sufficient to maintain them up at night time. Under, Dr. Hafeez explains why that’s in addition to the signs and coverings of entomophobia. 

Signs of entomophobia

So how are you aware when you undergo from entomophobia vs. simply not being a fan of bugs? Dr. Hafeez notes that individuals who undergo from such a phobia will expertise an awesome sense of worry or panic when confronted with bugs and even simply the mere considered them that’s disproportionate to the precise risk posed by the bugs. “This may result in important anxiousness and misery, inflicting restlessness, irritability, and feeling uncontrolled,” she says. “Bodily reactions akin to speedy heartbeat, sweating, trembling, and shortness of breath are frequent, as are hyper-awareness and fixed scanning of the surroundings for bugs.” 

Due to this intense worry, Dr. Hafeez provides that folks with such a phobia typically develop avoidance behaviors. In different phrases, they exit of their strategy to avoid conditions or locations the place they could encounter bugs. Whereas within the second, this tactic might assist ease worry and anxiousness, doing so repeatedly means they miss out on issues and experiences. For example, a worry of bedbugs might forestall somebody from touring, even when that’s one thing they want to do. 

Triggers of entomophobia

In accordance with Dr. Hafeez, three principal issues can set off signs of entomophobia: coming in direct contact with an insect, fascinated with bugs, or observing different folks’s fears or misery in response to bugs, akin to by way of listening to tales or watching media portrayals that depict bugs in a threatening method. 

Furthermore, Dr. Hafeez explains that bedbugs may be notably triggering for folks with entomophobia as a result of they’re related to invading private area and feeding on human blood when you sleep. As you possibly can think about, this notion could make folks with entomophobia really feel weak and deeply violated. Additionally, “the resilience and problem in eradicating bedbug infestations can amplify emotions of helplessness and anxiousness, intensifying the worry response,” she says. “Moreover, the bodily proof of bedbug bites, akin to itching and welts, can reinforce the worry and function a continuing reminder of their presence, heightening misery for people with entomophobia.”

Therapy choices for entomophobia

If the worry of mattress bugs or different bugs retains you up at night time, there are issues you are able to do to beat the phobia. Notably, Dr. Hafeez factors to cognitive behavioral remedy (CBT), an efficient therapeutic remedy for phobias akin to entomophobia. “It entails figuring out and difficult irrational ideas and beliefs about bugs,” Dr. Hafeez explains. “By means of cognitive restructuring, people be taught to switch fearful and distorted ideas with extra rational and sensible ones.” 

Publicity remedy is one type of CBT, which, as its title suggests, entails progressively exposing your self to feared stimuli akin to bugs. “By means of systematic and managed publicity, people can confront their fears in a secure surroundings and be taught to handle their anxiousness responses,” Dr. Hafeez says. “This remedy may be carried out in varied methods, akin to digital actuality simulations, imaginal publicity—mentally imagining encounters with bugs—or in-vivo publicity, gradual, real-life publicity to bugs.”

All that mentioned, overcoming entomophobia (or another phobia, for that matter) requires endurance and dedication. When you’re within the thick of all of it, Dr. Hafeez says leaning on mindfulness-based strategies akin to meditation may assist handle the anxiousness and worry that comes with entomophobia. 


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