Moteophobia (moth phobia): symptoms, causes and treatment
A review of the characteristics of motephobia, an anxiety disorder related to moths.
For many, butterflies are one of the most beautiful insects that we can find, however, there are not few to whom it produces an unpleasant feeling, a fear so excessive and intense that makes it impossible for them to lead a normal life if they see one of these insects approaching.
Butterflies provoke as many philias as phobias, especially moths. Of all the existing fears of bugs, motephobia is one of the most common, despite the fact that the thing that provokes it is the moth.even though the thing that provokes it may seem to be a very beautiful animal to most people.
This fear of moths and everything that resembles them, including butterflies and sphinxes, is what we are going to talk about today, a specific phobia that is both extremely curious and limiting for those who suffer from it.
What is motephobia?
The motefobia, of the German "motte" (moth) and of the Greek "phobia" (fear) is the irrational, persistent and unjustified fear of moths, although it also applies to diurnal butterflies..
Their erratic and unpredictable flight, together with their size, the colors of their wings and the fur that some species possess are some of the reasons why people suffering from this phobia have a pathological aversion to moths. The fear of moths is a specific type of phobia, specifically of the animal type (zoophobia).
It should not be thought that mothophobia is a simple disgust for these animals. It is common to feel repulsion towards some species of insects, being the case of moths justified considering that they can lay their eggs in our food and damage our clothes.
Moteophobia goes a step further, causing real dread, anxiety and great discomfort to the sufferer. The daily actions of patients suffering from motephobia are greatly affected by the presence of moths, making them unable to cope with their fear without the help of others.They are unable to cope with their fear without the help of others.
Moteophobia is a type of specific phobia, based on extreme repulsion and pathological fear of moths. While disgust towards moths is relatively common, motephobia involves a heightened, unwarranted fear that can be very limiting for the sufferer.. Many people who are afraid of moths are also afraid of similar insects, such as butterflies, sphinxes, or peacocks, which is why some prefer to use the term lepidopterophobia, which is the fear of insects of the Lepidoptera order, which includes moths and similar insects.
As with all other specific phobias, both for animals and for other phobic situations and objects, people with motephobia experience one type of symptom or another depending on the severity of their condition, people with motion phobia experience one type of symptom or another depending on the severity of their condition.. Among the most notable symptoms we find:
- Panic attacks
- Increased Heart rate
- Nausea and dizziness
- Tingling sensation
- Choking sensation and difficulty breathing.
- Difficulty speaking and thinking clearly
- Chest pain
- Feeling of loss of control
- Instant and temporary paralysis
- Heightened fear
- Anxiety and stress
- Dry mouth
- Running away, crying or hysterical screaming
The causes behind the appearance of motephobia are very varied, as it will depend on the life history of each patient. The reasons that have led a person to feel real panic at the appearance of a moth are very varied. Specific phobias can arise without a specific apparent cause, although they usually appear during a specific moment of life and because of the experience of a highly stressful or even traumatic situation..
In many cases, motor phobia originates in childhood. Normally, young children are not afraid of insects and can even play with them without any fear. However, it can happen that overprotective parents, worried about their child playing with a poisonous bug, tell him or her to stop playing with these little animals and the child associates the idea that the insect is a poisonous bug with the child. the child associates the idea that any insect or small animal can harm him or her, including moths..
It can also be the case that the child was playing in the field and suddenly a moth appeared and with its erratic and unpredictable flight frightened him. As sometimes these insects fly towards us and do not want to leave us alone, the child experienced the experience as an attack and, given his little knowledge of the world and not knowing whether this animal was dangerous or not, he associated the figure of the moth with that of a very dangerous animal, which will go after him at the slightest encounter with one of them.
Some species of moths can provoke allergic reactions, something that, if experienced, will undoubtedly remain as a bad memory. The person who experienced this reaction, whether as a child or as an adult, may begin to develop a pathological fear of these insects.A fear that in truth has its reason because the presence of this insect is really a health problem and therefore must flee from moths, protect themselves from them, to avoid suffering the unpleasant effects of friction with the animal.
The treatment of motephobia is the same that we can find to treat other types of specific phobias related to animals. Among the most common techniques that we find in the treatment of animal phobias we have:
1. cognitive-behavioral therapy.
The basis of cognitive-behavioral therapy applied to phobic disorders is the following the restructuring of the negative thinking about what is feared, in this case, moths.in this case, moths and other lepidoptera.
The aim is to modify thoughts, emotions and behaviors towards these animals through tolerance to the anxiety they provoke and the acquisition of relaxation techniques for when the patient encounters a moth in his daily life.
2. Exposure therapy
Exposure therapy is a classic in the treatment of specific phobias. This technique consists of exposing the patient to the phobic object, in this case moths, doing so gradually and making sure that each passing phase the individual gets used to the stimulus presented to him. stimulus. The objective of the therapy is for the patient to tolerate the presence of the moths, and to become familiar with them.
It is a long process, which requires a lot of constancy, and it is also considered somewhat invasive because at some point in the therapy the presence of real moths will be required for the patient to get used to them. However, if this is achieved, the patient will have acquired real experience to control his fears, experience that he will be able to apply in the real world.
Finally we have as therapeutic option the drugs. This is an alternative little resorted to for this option in particular, since it is focused more on the symptoms than on the root of the problem.. It is only recommended in the most extreme cases, where the patient suffers so much anxiety that he/she cannot lead a normal life at all, has severe reactions or suffers very intense panic attacks.
Among the drugs used to treat motephobia and other animal phobias we have the use of antidepressants, anxiolytics or anticonvulsants to calm the patient's sense of danger, although, like all drugs, these can bring with them annoying side effects.
Curiosities about this phobia
Apparently, motorophobia is a fairly common specific phobia, so much so that there are quite a few blogs that deal with cases of this fear. In fact, there is a community in cyberspace called "I Hate Butterflies", which brings together people who fear, hate or are disturbed by moths and lepidoptera in general. In this community, users share their unfortunate stories with these insects, the traumas they have experienced and the discomfort they feel at the sight of a moth.
Nicole Kidman, the famous Australian actress who starred in films such as "Batman Forever" (1995), "Moulin rouge! (2001) or "Australia" (2008) suffers from motephobia. She herself has stated in some interviews that the fear of this type of insects conditions her so much that, if she sees one outside her house, it makes it impossible for her to leave it..
The fear of moths is only one of the many fears of bugs that exist. There are many phobias in which the protagonist are these little animals, usually belonging to the phylum of arthropods (insects, arachnids, myriapods and crustaceans). Fear of moths competes with other common phobias such as fear of spiders and scorpions (arachnophobia) or cockroaches (catsaridophobia). The fear of insects in general, although it also applies to arachnids and myriapods, is called entomophobia.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)