What is agrizoophobia?

It is the fear of wild animals.
Imagine a sunny, spring day where you decide to take your 5 year old on their first zoo trip. You pack lunches and sunscreen, and head out for a day filled with fun and learning. However, upon arrival your child takes one look at the zebra and giraffes in their cages and begins to cry inconsolably. Not able to figure out what is wrong, you decide to take your terrified child home. Once in the car, the crying quickly stops and all they will say is that the animals were "scary".

Above is an example of a child suffering from agrizoophobia. Agrizoophobia, although it may sound like it has something to do with the zoo, is defined as an abnormal or unwarranted fear of wild animals. This is why bringing a child, or any other sufferer, into a zoo can cause reactions of fear and terror.

Common symptoms include breathlessness, nausea, dry mouth, shaking, and an irregular or pounding heartbeat, to name a few. Someone who feels nauseous or gets a dry mouth and clammy hands at the sight or mere thought of wild animals is likely a sufferer of agrizoophobia.

Although most adult sufferers realize their fear is irrational, they just can't escape the anxiety caused by wild animals. This is because agrizoophobia is an over-active protection mechanism from within our subconscious mind. The mind over-estimates the threat posed by wild animals and, believing that there is imminent danger, goes into panic mode. This phobia often develops as a response to an unresolved emotional conflict or former trauma. The original catalyst has been tracked back to real-life traumas, seeing others facing or experiencing a trauma, and even benign events like movies and television.

Luckily, there are treatment options available for agrizoophobics. In addition to counseling, other treatment options include neuro-linguistic programming 'NLP', energy psychology, cognitive therapy, and hypnotherapy. NLP studies how our mind creates our reality and attempts to "re-program" the overprotective mechanism thereby minimizing the underlying phobia. Energy psychology works on similar theories as acupuncture; however, there are no needles. Energy psychology assesses and treats psychological problems, such as phobias, by specifically addressing underlying bioenergy aspects of the fear. Cognitive therapy consists of repetitive, practical exercises which promote changes in behavior. And lastly, hypnotherapy is similar to NLP in that it seeks to reprogram the subconscious mind of anything that may be causing the phobia. Also like NLP, this is often successful and leads to a minimization of symptoms.

Picture has been licensed under a GFDL
Original source: Own work
Author: Muhammad Mahdi Karim (www.micro2macro.net)
Permission: GNU Free Documentation License