Phobia of bugs: Entomophobia

In day to day life we see people who are afraid of certain things. In this blogpost we will discuss an interesting condition called Phobia of bugs (Entomophobia).

Fear is a natural reaction that produces the action of flight. Fear is rational and it makes life possible keeping you away from dangerous things. Imagine if you are not afraid of fire and jump into fire. Sure, you will die or get burn injuries on your body.

What are phobias?

Phobias are conditions in which a person has excessive and irrational fear of some objects or situation. This irrational fear creates difficulties in day to day life. 

Phobia after exposure to a specific object or situation creates anxiety-like conditions in the affected person. So, a person may show anxiety when exposed to a condition he is phobic to.

Phobia of bugs (Entomophobia) is a mental disorder, a rare form of phobia.

What is Phobia of bugs (Entomophobia)?

Phobia of bugs (Entomophobia) is a type of phobia in which a person has excessive irrational fear of bugs and insects. The person is afraid of ants, giant ants, cockroaches, spiders and bugs around lights in the house.

In Phobia of bugs (Entomophobia), a person is afraid and thinks he will be injured by insects. That may create fear.

Some examples that can produce fear in persons with Phobia of bugs (Entomophobia) are:

  • Ants.
  • Giant ants.
  • Cockroaches.
  • Honey bees.
  • Spiders.
  • Butterflies.
  • Flies.
  • Bed bugs.

What are the symptoms of Phobia of bugs (Entomophobia)?

Phobias are disorders of anxiety. Phobia of bugs (Entomophobia) is fear of insects. The symptoms produced in phobia are because of anxiety reactions that appear after exposure to insects as insects come closer to the affected person. They include:

  • Shaking of limbs
  • Increased heart rate producing symptoms of palpitation
  • Excessive sweating
  • Feeling of hot air around air
  • Headache
  • Restlessness
  • Shortness of breath and rapid breathing
  • Not able to sleep (Insomnia)
  • Dizziness
  • Crying 
  • Panic
  • Abdominal pain
  • Some people may experience vomiting and loose motions.

What are the consequences of Phobia of bugs (Entomophobia)?

This condition affects day to day life. Life becomes difficult due to fear in the affected person. The consequences of Phobia of bugs (Entomophobia) are:

  • The person tries to avoid public places.
  • The person tries to avoid travel by vehicles.
  • Affected people may stop mixing with other people and friends.
  • The person may lose self confidence because of fear.
  • The affected person may try to avoid jobs where he/she comes in contact with large objects and machineries.

How to diagnose this condition?

Diagnosing this condition is a simple task. The person with Phobia of bugs (Entomophobia) is aware that he is fearful and thinks insects will attack him/her. He/she has insite of his/her own illness.

Simple history taking and physical examination is needed for the diagnosis of the condition.

How to treat Phobia of bugs (Entomophobia)?

Phobia of bugs is a mental illness like anxiety is. It is treatable and any psychiatrist can treat that condition.

For Phobia of bugs (Entomophobia) treatment strategy is as follows:

Cognitive behavioural therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a self help strategy. Phobia of bugs being anxiety disorder, this strategy works in this disorder. It is designed to control the way of thinking and behaviour on exposure to certain situations.

CBT helps to control the fear and anxiety in the mind of the person on exposure to large objects that make day to day life easier.

Aims of CBT is making yourself understand how the excessive irrational fear and anxiety is affecting your day to day functions and controlling your emotional response on exposure to large objects.

Along with CBT following strategies help in these conditions are as follows.

Exposure to insects and bogs

Treatment of any phobia is exposing the affected person to the object or situation he has. The phobia gets cured as people learn that fear is irrational and controls the reaction to exposure to insects.

Systematic desensitization 

This method of treatment of Phobia of bugs (Entomophobia) is more gentle than exposure to large objects. In this method the person with phobia is exposed to successively insects for a period of time.


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