What is anatidaephobia? Explanation, meaning, definition

Phobias come in a wide variety of forms. Anatidaephobia is a particularly rare but real phobia. It is the fear of being observed by ducks. There are quite a few animals that can cause anxiety in people. In this case, it’s not so much the duck itself, but the possibility that it can look at people, causing very uncomfortable feelings. Cartoonist Gary Larson has put anatidaephobia on paper in a very amusing way. For those affected, however, it is anything but ridiculous, because it sometimes significantly impairs the quality of life.

How does anatidaephobia develop?

Anatidaephobia belongs to the group of animal phobias (bird phobia). Often the phobia is related to unpleasant memories from childhood. An adult goose or a large duck suddenly running towards a small child can cause considerable fear. The child becomes frightened and will think back to the event with unpleasant feelings in the future. The bad experience can affect mental balance into adulthood. Animal phobias are also often adopted by close caregivers. If the mother jumps on the chair and screams at the sight of a mouse, the child automatically imitates it, internalizes the fear and displays it herself in a conspicuous manner. Since it is learned, it can also be untrained.

How does anatidaephobia manifest itself?

A person who suffers from anatidaephobia hardly spends any time in the great outdoors because he is always afraid of encountering ducks. In his imagination, ducks might appear everywhere. The disorder has parallels to persecution mania and thus has symptoms that resemble paranoia.

  • If the affected person encounters ducks, they scream, flinch or freeze.
  • If symptoms are severe, sweating, rapid heartbeat, and nausea may develop.
  • Panic attacks may occur.

How should the environment react to the phobic person?

Anatidaephobia sounds amusing, but making fun of the person with an anxiety disorder is disrespectful and hurts the feelings of the sufferer. It is important to know that this is a mental illness that can be accompanied by a severe crisis. Even though anatidaephobia is not a recognized anxiety disorder, loved ones should take it seriously and not minimize it.

Like all phobias, anatidaephobia can be treated with appropriate therapy. It takes a little tact to find the right measure in dealing with the phobic. He should not be packed in absorbent cotton and protected from every supposed risk. This only aggravates the phobia.

Anatidaephobia: When is there a need for therapy?

A phobia such as anatidaephobia appears completely irrational to outsiders. It can have different manifestations. For one person, even the thought of being watched by ducks can trigger a panic attack, while another person just feels a little uncomfortable at the idea. If the daily life of the affected person is severely restricted, for example, he hardly dares to go outdoors, psychotherapy is advisable.

However, therapy can only be effective if there is a high degree of suffering and the sufferer wants to fight his fear of his own accord. If, on the other hand, he is pushed into treatment, it may not be successful. He must be aware that he is suffering from an anxiety disorder that can and should be treated.

Signs that make treatment useful:

  • The sufferer hardly leaves the house for many weeks.
  • If he does, he constantly looks around anxiously.
  • If even pictures from newspapers and TV trigger irrational fears, there is definitely a need for action.

In psychotherapy, one gets to the bottom of the causes of the fearful thoughts and dissolves them step by step (confrontation therapy). The person affected is confronted with real animals or pictures of them. In this way, he gradually gets used to the ducks and slowly loses his fear. Another therapeutic approach is cognitive behavioral therapy. In therapy, irrational thought patterns are replaced with positive ones so that the fears can also be resolved. Therapy lasts many weeks or months. Medication may also be useful.

Anatidaephobia: How can those affected help themselves when encountering ducks?

In a real encounter with ducks, it is best to leave the place immediately. When doing so, avoid frantic movements, as they could startle the ducks and increase the fear. Calming strategies also help reduce anxiety. A good breathing technique assists in relaxing. Experience with yoga or autogenic training benefits sufferers. Positive thinking helps loosen up and distract oneself from anxiety. Those who think positively direct their thoughts to nicer things and thus gain more security. Those who can get over themselves should feed the ducks. In this way, anxiety can also be reduced (confrontation therapy).

Autor: Pierre von BedeutungOnline

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