Categories: Health & Fitness

Fear of mice: name, origin, get rid of it?

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At the sight of a mouse or rat, some people experience anxiety, apprehension or uncontrollable panic fear. They suffer from musophobia. Why are we afraid of these rodents and how to treat this phobia?

What is the name of the fear of mice?

Musophobia refers to an irrational, excessive and persistent fear rats, mice and other rodents. This word comes from the Latin “mus” (mouse, rat) and the ancient Greek “phobos” (fear). “Like other animal phobias, it is a specific or simple phobia, that is to say triggered by a concrete object. It differs from ”mere” fear“, emphasizes Maria Hejnar, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist. “Fear in itself is not a pathological phenomenon. Man needs to feel fear when faced with real danger. She protected him against the aggressions of nature, without her man would not have survived. It is useful in situations of real danger, because it serves as an alarm signal allowing us to prepare ourselves in order to control them.“, explains the psychotherapist.

Origin: why are some people afraid of mice?

The fear of rats and mice is linked to the reputation of the animal. In the West, it is often associated to dirt and disease. “We can think that having participated in propagating plague epidemics, the rat has become in the collective imagery the harbinger of a plague, the omen of a catastrophe. He lives near basements, he emerges from them in a furtive way and by this he can symbolize what can arise from the shadow zone of our unconscious and personifies the dark forces. Mice, rats symbolically refer to archaic parts of our psyche“, advances the clinical psychologist. In people with musophobia, the phobia testifies to the existence of increased anxiety. “Anxiety is at the root of any phobia. It can fixate on a situation or an object whose presence or evocation will provoke more or less intense anxiety symptoms. The formation of the symptom passes through the mechanism of displacement. One representation comes in place of another to hide conflicts or forbidden desires“, she continues. It is therefore not the animal in itself that directly causes the anguish but the idea of ​​danger that the phobic person attributes to him. “A mouse is scary only according to what it represents for the musophobic person. The phobic subject generally recognizes the unreasonable nature of his fear“, explains Maria Hejnar.

When the person with musophobia is in contact with the animal, she feels anxiety that can range from aversion to disgust to acute uncontrollable anxiety attack. “When he is in the presence of the phobic object (and even at the evocation or in anticipation of having to face it), the phobic will feel an unpleasant and strong emotion of fear. This anxiety is often accompanied by several neurovegetative symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, feeling tight or chokingchest pain, palpitations or rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating, tremors or muscle twitcheschills, nausea, dizziness or confusion“, lists Maria Hejnar. A person with a phobia of rats and mice also exhibits an anxious anticipation of feared situations, as the specialist explains.She apprehends, for example, walks in certain places where she could meet these animals“Excessive fear of rats and mice can thus become disabling.”She pushes to have irrational behaviors such as flight, avoidance or panic. The person who suffers from it abandons certain desires and restricts his activities in order to avoid the experience of discomfort, which reduces his freedom. She may, for example, never go down to the basement where she keeps her bike for fear of crossing a mouse there and therefore abandoning the bike.

For the psychologist, as for other animal phobias, if the phobic object is easy to avoid, the phobia is relatively well tolerated. “The partially unconscious avoidance defense mechanism reduces anxiety when it is impossible to avoid confrontation“, she explains. In terms of therapeutic approach, she recommends integrative psychotherapy which brings together the contributions of the different fields of psychotherapy. She details. “The choice of techniques used during this psychotherapy takes into account several aspects of the patient’s situation. It borrows from psychoanalysis the importance given to the inner world of the individual, to drive dynamics, inner conflicts, fantasy representations and emotions associated with them. The analysis of the subject’s unconscious associations provides access to repressed memories and representations that may be hiding behind the images of animals so terrifying for the subject.“. The integrative psychotherapist uses cognitive-behavioral techniques. “They attempt to modify unrealistic beliefs in order to make reactions more appropriate to reality. Additionally, the application of certain body techniques helps the patient become aware of bodily sensations before they become intrusive. They also serve to defuse the anxieties caused by animals“, concludes the psychologist.

Thanks to Maria Hejnar, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist.

#Fear #mice #origin #rid

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