Ailurophobia is said to be an excessive fear of cats; this fear is strong enough to give its sufferers anxiety which coils lead to a panic attack. This anxiety is gotten by being around cats, though some Ailurophobia patients get anxiety just from thinking of cats.
Ailurophobia is also known as Elurophobia, Gatophobia, and Felinophobia. These are names that most people might find more familiar.
Being an irrational fear of cats, Ailurophobia patients, do not always suffer from the same cases. Some might experience a full-blown panic attack, while others could be mild anxiety. Either way, it is common for people who have Ailurophobia to feel these symptoms.
Someone who experiences a panic attack as a result of Ailurophobia, usually have an increased rate in their breathing, increased blood pressure, trembling, excessive sweating, muscle tension, among others. Panic attacks might not necessarily be the case, but for those with a severe case of Ailurophobia; it is possible.
Generally, people avoid that which they fear all the time, the same could be said about people with various types of phobias, including Ailurophobia.
In the case of those who suffer from Ailurophobia, they might take things to the extreme by and make sure they do not come in contact with cats.
For example, they might decide not to associate themselves with people who own cats, as they might fear that they would come in contact with cats through those who own cats.
Avoiding cats might work for them some times, as it reduces their fears and any form of anxiety. This is usually not the best way of dealing with their problem; as it only worsens the symptoms in the long run. This only justifies their fear of cats.
Causes of Ailurophobia
The exact cause of Ailurophobia is unclear. In the case of Ailurophobia, being attacked by a cat at a tender age could cause a child to grow an irrational fear for cats, thereby leading to Ailurophobia.
Some even develop this phobia, simply by seeing someone being attacked by a cat. Aside from being attacked by cats, genetic and environmental factor also plays a great role in the formation of Ailurophobia.
Usually, many see phobia as a thing that is developed in the early life of children, especially phobias for animals. So it is possible to have Ailurophobia or phobias for some other kinds of animals without ever having a negative experience about them.
Symptom of Ailurophobia
One could tell that the main symptom of Ailurophobia is an extreme fear from seeing or hearing a cat. Some even still react to the cats they see In cartoons, pictures, movies.
Phobias including Ailurophobia can cause a physical or psychological effect on people who suffer from the illness; sometimes these effects are triggered either by them being in contact with the object of their fear or just by thinking of it.
Some Physical symptoms include:
- Increased heartbeat and sweating
- Trouble breathing
- Trembling and uncontrollable shakiness
- Pin or tightness in their chest
- The feeling of agitation, nausea or dizziness
- Upset stomach, this could occur just from them thinking of a future experience where they might come in contact with a cat
Some psychological symptoms include:
- Feeling panicked and afraid
- Experiencing extreme anxiety and fear when they hear the sound of a cat, or something similar to the sound of a cat.
- They sometimes spend so much time thinking of how to avoid cats in every possible way
- Being fearful of new areas where there could be cats
Ailurophobia usually affects people in different ways; some people might find themselves staying away from a friend, all because that friend might own a cat. They might even relocate or leave their apartment, an move to a new one that doesn’t allow cats.
Treatment for Ailurophobia
Treatments for Ailurophobia might include some Talk Therapy like Cognitive-behavioural (CBT), or Exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is seen as one of the most common forms of treatment for those who are suffering from various phobia.
Below is a list of treatments that might have helped those that are suffering from Ailurophobia
Exposure therapy is a pervasive way of treating various forms of phobia. Exposure therapy works well for most patients suffering from phobias, including Ailurophobia.
Its procedure is quite adequate, as people who have Ailurophobia, are gradually made to put themselves in various positions where they find themselves in the midst of cats, and learning to cope with their fears, while in that state.
The next face might include the patient having to be in a room with a cat. The patient would be made to remain in the place for an amount of time. If the phobic develops the confidence to be in the presence, he might be advance to a more advance form of treatment.
In the course of treatment of Ailurophobia, the Doctor might start the procedure by showing pictures of various cats; after some time, he might also have to introduce said patients to a video of cats. The Doctor would use this as it is said to be one of the best ways of treating Ailurophobia.
This method is proposed to help disordered patients or Ailurophobia patient get over their fear of cats. Theoretically, the more exposed a patient is to the object of his dismay, the more they get passed that fear, and the less they get bothered by it.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This is an option that focuses on changing the negative thoughts that people who have Ailurophobia have, to healthier ones to help improve their lifestyle.
Phobias can cause visible activation and changes in neural pathways of the brain. Through research in 2013, studies have found that CBT has a significant impact on people who have specific phobias, such as Ailurophobia
Exercise for Ailurophobia
Exercise is known to be extremely beneficial for people who have various mental disorder, which includes Ailurophobia; cardiovascular exercise is one of the most effective practices that is known to relieve stress.
Aerobic exercises have been said to help people, and it’s more effective at releasing some of the feel-good chemicals in the brain, i.e. endorphins.
Since stress had been seen as a significant course of anxiety, Doctor has advised that regular exercise would yield a good result for Ailurophobia.
Medication for Ailurophobia
There aren’t really that many drugs out there that cures phobia. No drug is specifically designed to cure Ailurophobia or any other kind of phobia. However, some could manage the phobia for a short-term.
Beta-blockers is a medication that helps with physical symptoms of anxiety. Increase heart rate, dizziness among others are dome of the physical symptoms Beta-blockers treats. They are used before going into a situation that might trigger the physical symptoms
These are some forms of sedative that help to decrease anxiety symptoms in patients. These medications could be very addictive; this is one of its downsize; so it is usually used occasionally, and as prescribed by the Doctor
This is a drug that is said to help exposure therapy work better. A result in a 2017 review afforms this claim.