Mini-Guide: What Is Ophidiophobia (Fear Of Snakes)?

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Snakes are one of the most dangerous reptiles, they can be harmful to people. We all have a fear of snakes but the fact is that fear outgrows with time. However, some people are not able to control the fear or threat. Excessive or extreme fear of snakes is called ophidiophobia or ophidiophobia. Ophidiophobia is one of the most common types of phobia which can interfere with a sense of safety and overall quality of life.

In some situations, ophidiophobia may also be associated with fear of reptiles (herpetophobia). People struggling with ophidiophobia often act strangely, avoid social situations (wherein snakes or snake-looking reptiles are involved, and experience intense anxiety or panic attacks when they see, hear, or think of snakes.

People struggling with fear of snakes are not able to control their emotions even after understanding the cause of their fear. People get triggered by Ophidiophobia when they:

Encounter a snake or snake-looking creatures
Hear a hiss or noise of a snake
Hear people talking about their experiences with snakes
See a picture or video of snakes
Think about snakes

Fact-Check: Fear of Snakes (Ophidiophobia)

Generalized fear of snakes is one of the most common phobias people struggle with.
People of any age can develop ophidiophobia.
Prevalence of Ophidiophobia can range from 3% to 12% of the general population.

Other Related Phobias to Ophidiophobia

Herpetophobia: Fear of reptiles
Ranidaphobia: Fear of frogs
Thanatophobia: Fear of death
Zoophobia: Fear of animals (snakes, reptiles, and others)
Batrachophobia: Fear of amphibians
Entomophobia: Fear of insects
Insectophobia:Fear of insects
Necrophobia:Fear of death or dead things

Symptoms of Ophidiophobia

Below listed are some of the common symptoms of Ophidiophobia:

Dry mouth
Extreme sweating
Extreme panicking
Extreme feeling of terror or dread right after encountering a snake
Fear of losing control
Feelings of helplessness
Hot flashes or chill
Uncontrollable breathing or heart rate
Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
Sense of disorientation and confusion
Shortness of breath (SOB)
Shaking and trembling

Causes of Ophidiophobia

There’s limited research on the exact cause of Ophidiophobia, however, researchers believe that Ophidiophobia can be caused due to the presence and combination of the below-mentioned factors:

Brain Chemistry

Chemical (dopamine or serotonin) changes within the brain can cause phobias or anxiety.

Genetics or heredity

People having a family history of anxiety disorder or phobias are prone to developing phobias such as ophidiophobia.

Learned behaviors

People who are friends or in relation with people who have an intense fear of snakes or reptiles are prone to developing ophidiophobia.

Media portrayals

Scary movies associated with snakes or frightening unreal videos of snakes may have a long-lasting impact on an individual’s mental health.

Superstitions or cultural preferences

In some countries, snakes are associated with temptation, evil, lies, or jealousy, and in some countries like India; snakes are symbolized as mortality, death, and rebirth. Such cultural preferences and superstitions might put individuals at risk of developing ophidiophobia

Traumatic exposure

Experiencing traumatic events or watching movies associated with snakes might put individuals at risk of developing ophidiophobia.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Ophidiophobia

If you think you or your loved one might be struggling with the symptoms of ophidiophobia, the first step is to connect with a mental health professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. During diagnosis, a mental health professional may conduct a deep evaluation of your:

Time length
Interrupted quality of life

A mental health professional is likely to make a diagnosis based on:

Symptoms must be present for more than 6 months and they must be interfering with the overall quality of life
Symptoms must trigger extreme anxiety right after thinking, seeing, listening, or encountering a snake
Symptoms must lead to significant stress or panic
Symptoms must be in proportion to the actual danger
The presence of symptoms must make individuals avoid situations associated with the presence of snakes

Coming forth to the treatment process, mild Ophidiophobia does not require any treatment and it can be effectively resolved with the help of self-help techniques.

In severe or extreme situations, a mental health professional usually takes the help of treatment options such as:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT helps in replacing negative thoughts and behaviors with positive ones. Additionally, this therapy also teaches effective coping techniques and strategies to control emotions and thoughts.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy is one of the effective therapy techniques for treating phobias. It helps in confronting your fears in a safe environment. This therapy technique takes the help of desensitization.


In some severe cases, mental health professionals might prescribe some anti-anxiety medication to manage physical symptoms of anxiety.

I hope this blog helps you understand the fear of snakes (ophidiophobia). For more such content, connect with us through all social media platforms.

Thanks for reading!

The post Mini-Guide: What Is Ophidiophobia (Fear Of Snakes)? appeared first on Calm Sage – Your Guide to Mental and Emotional Well-being.

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