Fear of moths or Mottephobia is similar to the fear of butterflies or lepidopterophobia. The word mottephobia originates from the German ‘Motte,’ which means moths, and the Greek ‘photos,’ which means fear. Motorphobia belongs to the category of animal-specific phobias. It is an anxiety disorder that is not as common as arachnophobia – the fear of spiders, but it is relatively widespread. The infection triggers a severe panic attack in some cases in which the patient continually imagines a moth attacking him.
Moths are generally harmless creatures and are considered very beautiful by insect lovers worldwide. But to a Mottephobic individual, the animals seem evil or downright terrifying. They are petrified to go outside when moth populations are rampant in the summer months.
Causes of motephobia
- As with other specific animal phobias, the fear of moths can also be triggered by a particular event.
- The phobia, as a child, may have been “attacked” or frightened by a moth, as a result of which he tends to recall the episode every time there is an encounter.
- Sometimes the negative or traumatic experience related to these creatures can also trigger the phobia in the individual.
- Moths are generally harmless, but they have also been known to destroy crops.
- They typically appear in our homes at night and tend to be attracted to light bulbs.
- Moths have dark/brown, scaly, and hairy bodies to camouflage themselves from their predators.
- They live in dusty and dark places like attics and come out suddenly when disturbed.
- They also make a flapping motion with their wings and a buzzing noise that can be perceived as “scary” by people already suffering from various anxiety disorders.
Symptoms of Mentophobia
Like other phobias, motephobia is also characterized by specific physical and psychological symptoms. The dread could have experienced a split second of panic upon meeting one in the past, and the brain wires then respond similarly to future stimuli.
- Common symptoms of motephobia are:
- Fast heartbeat
- Dry mouth
- Elevated levels of stress and anxiety
- Freeze on the spot, refuse to move
- Shaking or shaking
- Running away, screaming, or crying hysterically
Most phobics try to avoid situations where moths may be present. If the phobia encounters a moth, it follows it closely to make sure it does not approach it.
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Treatment of fear of moths
- Extensive research has been conducted on exposure therapy and its efficacy in treating fear of moths or motephobia. Augmented Reality Exposure therapy, or ARET, is also a part of gradual desensitization where the phobia is done gradually and progressively to interact with the moths.
- At first, the phobic will experience deep anxiety even at an image or cartoon of the object of their fears.
- But ARET is done safely and controlled, which slowly allows Mottephobic individuals to learn to view images of moths or butterflies without having a panic attack.
- Gradual desensitization therapy is a slow process, but modern methods like virtual reality, etc., make the environment more realistic and get faster results.
- You can also activate a stimulating interaction between the patient and a moth or create a virtual replica that can be seen on the screen.
- These interactions allow the phobia to gradually overcome the anxiety and panic that one experiences whenever one encounters a moth.
- Similarly, hypnotherapy is also known to get to the root of the phobia to allow phobics to rationalize this fear.
- Talk therapy, along with group interactions, can also help the phobic to feel comforted by the fact that others like him have motephobia.
Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.