Fear of bees (apiphobia): causes, symptoms and treatment

Bee stings can be painful and unpleasant, and no one likes to get them. However, some people develop an irrational fear of these insects, which causes them great discomfort and anxiety in their presence.

The mere sound of a buzzing noise can cause a state of panic and fear so intense that the person wishes to leave the premises immediately due to irrational thoughts. This extreme and unreal fear is known as apiphobia, and in this article, we’ll explore its symptoms, causes, and consequences.

What is apiphobia

The word apiphobia comes from Latin, like “apis” meaning bees; and from the Greek, “phobos” translates to fear. This phobia is also known as melisophobia, as the bee in Greek is “lemon balm”.

Apiphobia is a phobic disorder and therefore an anxiety disorder. Its main symptom is extreme fear, discomfort, and anxiety, which causes the person to try to avoid bees at all costs. This phobia is usually linked to the fear of other flying insects such as wasps or wasps.

Many people have been bitten by these insects or have family or friends who have been bitten on their own skin. But the bite of these insects, which can be painful, does not pose a health risk unless the person suffering from the bite is allergic or receives multiple bites at the same time.

Apiphobia is not necessarily a serious problem for the person, especially in cases where there is little contact with bees or wasps. however, whether it is necessary to consult a specialist in cases where these symptoms persist and affect the subject’s life. For example, this can be a serious problem for those who live near a forest or their neighbor has a beehive. Under these circumstances, your apiphobia needs treatment.

the causes

Like other phobias, this condition is usually directly associated with a previous incidence with bees. In other words, to a traumatic event. The most common cause is bee sting, which can lead to learning irrational fear through classical conditioning, a type of associative learning that we explained in our article: “Classical conditioning and its more experiences. important “

This phobia usually develops in childhood, although it can also occur at any age.

However, there are other possible causes that have nothing to do with a bee or wasp bite.. For example, when someone around us has been bitten. When this occurs, apiphobia can be acquired by vicarious conditioning. Also, since we are small, they teach us to be afraid and to be away from bees, this extreme behavior can lead some people to develop irrational beliefs around these insects. Television and cinema also influence the development of these beliefs.

Some experts also claim that we are biologically predisposed to phobias because this emotion has kept the human species alive for centuries. This has led phobias not to respond to logical arguments, but to be primitive rather than cognitive associations.

Symptoms and signs

Symptoms are common in different types of phobia, what varies is the stimulus that is causing it. These symptoms can be cognitive, behavioral and physical. These include:

  • Extreme and irrational fear of bees (Even when they are not present). Even a thought, picture or speech about bees can trigger fear
  • Anxiety, distress and general malaise.
  • Thoughts of death
  • Complete avoidance of areas with bees and hives. For example, forests or caves.
  • Lack of concentration
  • confusion
  • Panic attacks accompanied by signs such as sweating, tremors, rapid heartbeat, dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, difficulty breathing, abdominal discomfort.

Treatment and therapy

Numerous studies have shown that psychological therapy works particularly well in treating phobias. Specifically, cognitive behavioral therapy, which aims to modify the thoughts or behaviors that cause discomfort to the patient.

Most of the time, fear of bees is related to irrational beliefs, so trying to replace this negative image of bees can help. however, relaxation and exposure techniques are the best treatment for phobias.

Exposure therapy is characterized by frequent sessions in which the person gradually faces the feared stimulus. Psychologists also teach different forms of relaxation such as exercises to release muscle tension, mental visualizations, and breathing control. The psychologist can also teach the patient relaxation techniques so that they can use them simultaneously during the exposure. This is called a systematic desensitization technique.

In severe cases of anxiety, anxiolytics and antidepressants can be used to control feelings of fear in a person. However, they should never be administered without medical supervision and as part of treatment including psychotherapy.

Other therapeutic methods such as mindfulness and acceptance and commitment therapy have been shown to be effective in treating phobias.

New technologies applied to the treatment of phobias

New technologies have allowed patients to be exposed to the phobic stimulus without it being present. This is possible thanks to virtual reality and augmented reality. Studies show that these techniques are very effective. Currently, mobile applications have even been developed to be able to treat phobias.

  • We tell you in our article: “8 applications to treat phobias and fears of your smartphone”

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