Cockroaches are built to last. They can go days on end without eating and can withstand 2000 times the radiation levels humans can. A scary thought for those suffering from extreme cockroach phobia, known as Katsaridaphobia. Someone suffering from this mental disorder may experience excessive anxiety when they are near a cockroach, see a cockroach, or even think about a cockroach.
What is Katsaridaphobia?
Katsaridaphobia is a mental disorder that causes a person to have an unreasonable, excessive fear or anxiety of all things cockroaches.
Regardless if cockroaches actually pose a threat, a person suffering from Katsaridaphobia will often experience anxiety above and beyond what is normal for encountering a cockroach. In some cases, a person may even experience a full blown panic attack in which hospitalization is required. Unlike some other phobias, Katsaridaphobia is actually based on something potentially harmful.
Symptoms of Katsaridaphobia
The main symptoms of Katsaridaphobia a sufferer can expect to experience is an intense feeling of anxiety or panic. In addition, a person may experience shame or guilt because of their reaction to cockroaches, often caused by others reacting to their extreme fear reaction. In some cases, a person may develop generalized anxiety disorder or other phobias. Here are some common symptoms of Katsaridaphobia:
- Difficulty breathing
- High anxiety
- Excessive fear
- Panic attacks
- Excessive sweating
- Increased heart rate
- Choking sensation
- Screaming or crying
- Chest pains
DSM-5 Criteria for Specific Phobias, Such as Katsaridaphobia
According to the DSM-5, specific phobias, such as Katsaridaphobia, are diagnosed by a medical professional when someone meets the following criteria:
- Unreasonable, excessive fear: Marked fear or anxiety about a specific object or situation (e.g., flying, heights, animals, receiving an injection, seeing blood, or in this case, cockroaches).
- Immediate anxiety response: The phobic object or situation almost always provokes immediate fear or anxiety.
- Avoidance or extreme distress: The individual goes out of their way to avoid the object or situation, or endures it with extreme distress.
- Life-limiting: The fear, anxiety, or avoidance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
- Six months duration: The fear, anxiety, or avoidance is persistent, typically lasting for 6 months or more.
- Not caused by another disorder: The disturbance is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder, including fear, anxiety, and avoidance of situations associated with panic-like symptoms or other incapacitating symptoms (as in agoraphobia); objects or situations related to obsessions (as in obsessive-compulsive disorder); reminders of traumatic events (as in posttraumatic stress disorder); separation from home or attachment figures (as in separation anxiety disorder); or social situations (as in social anxiety disorder).
Treating Cockroach Phobia
Let’s review some common treatments of cockroach phobia:
The best treatment option for cockroach phobia is a form of psychotherapy called exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is a type of psychotherapy treatment that focuses on changing a person’s response to the object or thing they fear. Gradual, repeated exposure to pictures of cockroaches, talking about cockroaches, and eventually, exposing you to a real cockroach. This technique is excellent for treating phobias, such as those suffering from cockroach phobias, or Katsaridaphobia.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is another way mental health professionals treat phobias such as fearing cockroaches. CBT combines exposure therapy along with other techniques to teach a sufferer to learn ways to view and cope with cockroaches. CBT also teaches a sufferer new beliefs about their cockroach fear so that they can develop a mastery and confidence over their thoughts and feelings rather than feeling overwhelmed by cockroaches.
Typically psychotherapy such as exposure therapy and CBT are enough for most cockroach sufferers. However, sometimes medications can help reduce some of the side effects like anxiety or panic associated with a person’s cockroach phobia.
Some medications include:
- Antianxiety medications
Overcoming Cockroach Phobia
Thank you for reading our post on cockroach phobias. If you have a cockroach phobia, it may seem like a daunting task to overcome. But there is hope!
Many mental health professionals focus on treating phobias through exposure therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy.
If you’re searching for treatment, look no further than mental health professionals listed on TherapyByPro. Find mental health professionals that treat phobias.
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