Katsaridaphobia: The Fear of Cockroaches
Phobia is considered a psychological disorder. Having a phobia is different than simply being afraid of something. In most cases, you need to be clinically diagnosed to say you are a phobia. Common reactions towards having a phobia include shortness of breath, pain, panic attacks and even faint.
Katsaridaphobia is the phobia of cockroaches. When a patient sees a cockroach, he may uncontrollably scream, run away, finds himself close to fainting as a result of low blood sugar. He may even experience a breakdown. Some go to the extreme to prevent seeing any cockroaches insight. They may seal the doors and windows shut, or even more extreme measures that cause physical harm to themselves.
Having a phobia for cockroaches may sound silly to you, but it is a real phobia that bothers thousands of people and has a significant impact on their lives. It is an illness that most likely requires medical attention. People with Katsaridaphobia, just like all other phobias, may resort to irrational measures that ultimately harm themselves or others to get rid of their fear.
The cause of Katsaridaphobiavaries. An overwhelming amount of cases are due to childhood trauma, such as a cockroach crawling on the child's face and body. In some other cases, abused children were locked in a filthy room infested with cockroaches, connecting their psychology to cockroaches and abuse.
Why Human and Mostly Girls Are Afraid of the Icky Cockroaches
Cockroaches aren't at all good-looking, granted, but what is it about them that makes millions of girls scream as soon as they come across one? Are we designed to fear cockroaches?
To answer this question, we first need to understand where fear comes from. No one develops a fear for no reason at all. It always links back to something in your past that triggers fear and desperation. You don't just wake up one day and decide you will be scared of cockroaches from now on. So why are most children afraid of cockroaches, but not butterflies?
Our society puts in a lot of values for us, even values that we wouldn't have developed ourselves. Growing up, how often did you see on soap operas or movies that a silly, goofy girl is spooked by a cockroach and runs to her love for help? The fiction on-screen created a surreal belief embedded in most girls. We have to be afraid of cockroaches.
The effect of TV shows is often greater than you'd think. Our society instils beliefs in us. Someone watches a TV show and starts developing katsaridaphobia, a while after, so do you. It can all be a part of the society's fault, for shaping how we (mostly girls) should react in a less ideal situation. Girls are shaped to be more fragile and need protection. As we grew up, we believe it as well. We believe that we are no match even against something as small as a cockroach. The society has won the psychological game.
Another reason that fear for cockroaches is so common is because of how common cockroaches are, simple as that. You are probably 10 times more likely to have a cockroach crawling on you than a spider or a worm while you sleep. Cockroaches are the most common insects in people's homes. Having a cockroach chilling on your face while you sleep can be traumatizing, no doubt.
We are programmed to fear cockroaches also because of how we are trained to deal with cockroaches. Killing the cockroach always seems to be the only solution. You don't see your mum pick up the cockroach and throwing it out on the street. No, your mum kills it, with her flip-flops. Having to kill another being rings a bell in your brain that it's a battle, it's them or you. It triggers a fear in your mind that if you don't kill it, it will get to you.
It's always a fight when we encounter a cockroach. Rushing up all fear to our head. It's a natural response for us to fear something that we have to kill. And with peer-influence, you are easily scared of the same thing your friends are.
For some of the less unfortunate ones, they have experienced something far more horrific to develop their ultimate fear for cockroaches. In the more mild cases, kids have accidentally eaten food or soup that contained cockroaches in them, even if it's unintentional. Some kids never received good care. They are placed in an unhygienic environment that attracts rodents and cockroaches and is forced to grow up with them. Those painful memories cause the brain the associate pain with cockroaches. That's why the kid develops such a fear that it can be longlasting and devastating.
Every story is different than the other. Why most of us develop a fear for cockroaches is never the same. Some are just one factor, while most are a few factors combined. Our brain works in a meticulous way to protect us from harm's ways. The brain receives and analyses all the signals we get in a day and sometimes, it just decides that cockroaches are bad for us, even if nothing truly traumatic ever happened to us, or we don't think it's traumatic enough to cause a fear, but our defense mechanism has already made a decision for us.
Steps to Reduce or Overcome Your Fear of Cockroaches
1. Admitting you have the fear
It's nothing shameful or anything. Everyone has their own fear. Yours just happen to be cockroaches. Key to any self-help, admitting you have the problem. Can't solve any problems that you don't think exists, right?
2. Talk to a therapist
Same with dealing with all psychological traumas, seeking professional help is always advised. Only professionals can offer you valuable insight to analyze the deep-rooted, core issues of your fear that you didn't know was there. Talking to a therapist is usually the most efficient and effective way of overcoming your fear. You don't need to feel that you have to fight your fear alone. It's good to talk to a therapist, someone that wouldn't judge you.
A therapist will find the most suitable solution for your circumstances and guides you to overcome your fear. Check with local authorities if you are concerned about the pricy sessions. Many local authorities do offer free counseling for those in need.
3. Embracing the fact and talk to trusted friends and family members
It's hard to go through everything alone. Talk to trusted friends and family members to let them know your situation. They care about you a lot and will be there for you to help you overcome it. If any instances happened where you made family and friends uncomfortable with the way you reacted with a cockroach, apologize to them and tell them you're seeking help to get better.
One thing to avoid is to blame everything on the phobia. You do need to understand that you might have done something that put people in danger or fear due to your own fear. Don't just put everything on what you're going through and demand an understanding from them. Being upset or having a phobia doesn't give anyone a free pass to everything. Do apologize if your phobia has ever caused anyone pain. Mutual understanding is important on your way to recovery.
4. Face your fear and see how it goes!
You don't need to sleep with the lights on or shut your windows now! It's hard to actively look for a cockroach but now you don't have to do any preventive measures and see how well you sleep at night. If you can sleep through the night it means your fear is probably gone. Or at least you aren't scared of it enough to let it constantly hang in your mind.
The next and final step is to see how you react when you encounter a live one!!!
You don't have to hunt a cockroach comes. It will come when it comes when you're the least expected of it. See how you react. It's okay to still be scared of it, but now you shouldn't experience the same shortness of breath, light-headed and the burning sensation on your chest as you did before. Now you may just feel disgusted by the creature. Or better yet, you don't feel anything for the icky creature! Congratulations! Your treatment is completed. You are now free of the fear of cockroaches and can go back to living your normal life!
The fear of cockroaches is real, as much as you find it funny. Some people can't control how much they fear this little creature. If you are going through the struggle, this article should shed some light on your lesser-discussed fear. If you know anyone going through this, share with them this article and encourage them to seek the help they need!