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Katsaridaphobia: Fear and phobia of cockroaches

We all have fears deeply embedded into our minds and souls. Some have financial concerns, while others have social anxieties. Some of the phobias like katsaridaphobia or claustrophobia are severe enough that they are not considered normal anymore.

What is Katsaridaphobia? It is an extreme, unwanted, persistent, and debilitating fear of roaches! The fear of cockroaches is either the sense of danger or intense disgust and loathing from them. In extreme conditions, Katsaridophobia can sometimes be psychologically and physically debilitating.

We may confuse normal human responses of fear and disgust to cockroaches with katsaridaphobia. Therefore it is vital to get an overview of different aspects of katsaridaphobia. Consequently, I will discuss katsaridaphobia comprehensively in the blog below and cover various aspects to make the picture more apparent to the reader.

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Is Katsaridaphobia a disease?

Katsaridaphobia is categorized as a disease or mental disorder when the sufferer has a severely debilitating condition that interferes with daily routine activities. In severe cases, the extreme fear from cockroaches can produce psychological and physical symptoms and signs. This is the time when medical intervention is needed.

Symptoms of katsaridaphobia

Like any other extreme fear, katsaridaphobia produces symptoms of panic. The severity of the condition dictates the frequency and intensity of symptoms. I have enumerated some of them below,

Physical Symptoms

  1. Increased heart and respiratory rate
  2. Generalized sweating of body includings palms and soles
  3. Shivering and tremors
  4. Screaming and excessive crying
  5. Nausea and vommiting
  6. Muscles stiffing.

Psychological Symptoms

  1. Depressed mode and floathing
  2. Lack of Concentration
  3. Disturbed Sleep
  4. Confusion

To be diagnosed as a case of katsaridophobia according to DSM-5, the person should have at least three or more symptoms associated with the sight of the cockroach for at least six months (Source).

Causes of Katsaridaphobia

Mental disorders are often multifactorial; many factors play an essential role in developing disorders, including environmental factors.

In the majority of cases, Like other mental disorders, katsaridaphobia is often triggered by two main factors,

  1. Past unpleasent and frightening experience with roaches in the form of severe allergic reactions.
  2. Genitically susceptible indivdual who have a positive family history of phobias and panic disorders.

The two factors that cause katsaridophobia are often interlinked. For example, in a genetically susceptible individual, a traumatic encounter with a roach can often trigger katsaridaphobia. This is called vulnerability–stress model.

In the majority of individuals, often multiple encounters are necessary before the symptoms of katsaridaphobia are evident.

It is worth noting that females have a high propensity at developing katsaridaphobia because they are emotionally and psychologically more inclined toward the disgust and filth associated with cockroaches.

Why am I scared of cockroaches?

Social upbringing, norms, customs, and thought processes are the main reason why we fear cockroaches so much. For example, in certain societies like Chinese and Vietnamese cultures, cockroaches are considered a delicacy. So they do not fear cockroaches at all; instead, they eat them fondly.

To some people, cockroaches are filthy, brown greasy creatures with a foul smell that hide in dark places and come out at night, making you fear cockroaches so much.

We usually want to exterminate cockroaches out of our site, but on the other hand, we think that living creatures should not be killed without a genuine reason. I have written an article Should I kill a cockroach? for a clear view on this matter.

How to not be scared of cockroaches and overcome Katsaridaphobia?

The good news is that, like any other psychological disorder, katsaridaphbia is treatable with excellent results. Katsaridaphobia can be overcome by several therapies including,

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy (changing the thought pattern).
  2. Exposure or desensitization therapy (by slowly exposing individual to the casue of fear and renedring him fearless).
  3. Hypnotherapy (changing focus and thought process).
  4. Mindfulness based stress reduction (physcial workouts like yoga).
  5. Medical/drugs based therapy (prescribed medications from a psychatrists).

Katsaridophobia can also be overcome by general measures such as,

  1. Try self relaxing strategies including breathing excersises, listening to music and travelling.
  2. Slowly desensitize yourself in form of watching cockroach cartoons and 3d animations.
  3. In next phase buy a plastic replica of roach and try to touch it or make it your key chain.
  4. Draw your fear down in form of paintings and illustrations.
  5. Discuss your fears with closed friends and relatives and try to moderate yourself.
  6. Have a good sleep, diet and hydration.
  7. Adopt a realistic approach and try to change your thought process.

The choice of selecting appropriate therapy for an individual is based on severity and personal preference. In the majority of the cases, katsaridaphobia can effectively be overcome by psychological and reassuring treatments rather than the need for medications.

Sometimes the fear of cockroaches can haunt us in our dreams. I have written an article Cockroach In My Dream, Scientific Interpretation & Analysis. This article will also help you alleviate your katsaridaphobia to some extent.

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