The phobia or fear of cockroach( Katsaridaphobia ) can be a debilitating one. A teacher had to reportedly quit her job since she could not even bear her students saying the word ‘cockroaches’ aloud. It would make her “freeze on the spot or break into a cold sweat”. Once, she even ran out of the shower with the soap still on, as she felt a cockroach had flown into the bathroom.
Thus, an extreme, persistent and unwarranted fear of cockroaches can literally turn the sufferer’s life into a nightmare.
Causes of Katsaridaphobia
Many people feel uncomfortable or afraid in the presence of insects and critters like cockroaches. Cockroaches are known to inhabit dark and warm places which are abundant with food. Often, at night or in the absence of lights, they accidentally crawl or brush over our skin.
Many times, the Katsaridaphobic individual might have had a negative or traumatic experience with cockroaches in the past. Children might have been punished or locked in closets or dark spaces where such creatures tend to hide. Such children have a greater possibility of developing cockroach phobia. Adults expressing incredible fear at the sight of a cockroach can also unknowingly pass on their fear to children watching them.
Most childhood cases of Katsaridaphobia resolve over time. In some cases though, it can persist into adulthood.
Symptoms of fear of cockroaches
The fear of cockroaches often leads to obsessive compulsive disorder. The phobic tries to clean his/her house thoroughly to ensure these creatures stay out. Constantly spraying insecticides in the house and car, sweeping and brushing rugs and carpets, or cleaning kitchens and bathrooms etc to deter roaches are some signs of Katsaridaphobia.
Additionally, the phobic might experience following physical symptoms upon sighting a cockroach:
- Becoming ‘paralyzed’ or staying frozen
- Crying and screaming
- Feeling dizzy or weak in the knees, fainting
- Having an elevated heart rate
- Breathing rapidly
- Having a full blown panic attack where one feels like being choked, or experiences chest pains etc.
The good news for people with the extreme fear of cockroaches is that it can be overcome. Many therapies are available today to help one overcome different types of specific phobias.