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Anthophobia (fear of flowers): causes, symptoms and treatment

Anthophobia (fear of flowers): causes, symptoms and treatment

July 15, 2024

Human beings can feel fear due to a great variety of objects or situations, a reaction that can be normal as long as this fear is objective and realistic. However, there are times when a person may feel great fear towards seemingly harmless things, As is the case with anthophobia, the irrational fear of flowers .

In this article we will delve into the most characteristic aspects of this disorder and review its causes, symptoms and consequences.

  • Related article: "Types of phobias: exploring the disorders of fear"

What is anthophobia

Perhaps anthophobia is not one of the best known phobias, but it is one of the most curious. This pathology is an intense and irrational fear of flowers, which are stimuli that represent little or no real danger . This, on the other hand, is something that happens with all phobias: although I can not explain why, the person develops an irrational fear of elements that are harmless in principle. The cause of this has to do with the functioning of emotional memory, as we will see.

With the exception of those individuals who may suffer allergies, the majority of the population should not fear the reproductive devices of most plants; nevertheless, some subjects fear flowers, and this disorder can become really incapacitating for them.

Phobias belong to the group of anxiety disorders and, therefore, one of the most characteristic symptoms experienced by subjects with this condition are anxiety and anguish (besides fear). The phobic tend to avoid the feared stimulus in an attempt to reduce the discomfort. Luckily, and despite the great suffering that this phobia can cause, anthophobia has a cure.

  • Maybe you're interested: "The 7 types of anxiety (causes and symptoms)"

Causes of this phobia

People who develop a phobia have not been born with this disorder , but they have learned it. In most cases, this occurs implicitly after a traumatic experience that provokes negative and intense emotions. Phobias are learned by classical conditioning.

Classical conditioning is a type of learning that occurs through the association of a stimulus that is originally neutral with another that triggers a fear response. A person may have suffered a negative experience when running through a garden full of flowers, and the impact of this situation causes that the next time he encounters a flower he develops a great anxiety and a disproportionate fear of the seemingly harmless situation.

  • If you want to know more about classical conditioning, you can read our article: "Classical conditioning and its most important experiments"

They are also learned by observation

But experiencing a traumatic situation is not only the only cause of the appearance of anthophobia, but phobias can appear vicarious conditioning. For example, when watching a scary movie in which roses appear in bloody scenes of the film. In this way, an association is created in our mind between a stimulus that in principle did not have a very significant emotional load (flowers) and another that produces aversion, so that we perceive the first makes us feel bad because of that "emotional memory" .

Phobias do not respond to logical arguments, largely because the emotion of fear has to do with the primitive brain. In this sense, some experts claim that phobias are produced by primary associations and have a survival function, not cognitive associations.

  • Related article: "Vicar conditioning: how does this type of learning work?"

Symptoms of fear of flowers

The symptoms of phobias appear when imagining or coming into contact with the stimulus, in this case, the flowers. Anxiety and avoidance of stimulation are some of the most characteristic symptoms; However, the phobic experience cognitive, behavioral and physical symptoms .

The most characteristic cognitive symptoms are irrational fear, anguish, catastrophic thoughts, lack of concentration or confusion. It is also frequent that intrusive ideas are presented , and in general, "mental images" that cause great discomfort and that appear in the consciousness in a disruptive way, without being able to do anything to avoid it.

Avoidance of the stimulus is the most characteristic behavioral symptom. As for the physical symptoms, we can highlight:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Fast pulse
  • Hypersurbation
  • Dry mouth
  • Sickness
  • Tremors

Treatment of anthobia

The cases of anthophobia are not very frequent, but they are those of phobic disorders in general. For this reason, many investigations have been carried out in this line, which has allowed the development of very effective treatments to put an end to these irrational fears. Thus, although these pathologies cause great suffering, the prognosis for patients is good.

When looking for help, the first step that many phobics give is to go to the doctor, but the option is to receive treatment from a psychology professional. There are many methods that work to treat phobias, but the best known and the best results seems to contribute is cognitive behavioral therapy. This form of therapy is composed of different techniques, among which highlights the relaxation and breathing techniques and exposure techniques.

For the treatment of phobias systematic desensitization is usually applied , which includes the two previous techniques, and which exposes the patient gradually to the feared stimulus. Of course, you must first learn coping strategies such as relaxation and breathing techniques.

In addition to cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy based on Mindfulness or acceptance and commitment therapy have also proven to be very effective. Both types of psychotherapy belong to third-generation therapy.

  • If you want to know more about third-generation therapies, you can read our article: "What are third-generation therapies?"

The treatment of phobias today

In recent years, the development of new technologies has also allowed the treatment of phobias to be different, given that it is now easier to create situations in which the person feels close to the phobic stimulus. In addition, this can be done in the consultation itself in which psychological intervention services are offered, in a controlled manner and with a professional supervising the process.

The emergence of virtual reality allowed the patient not to expose himself to the phobic stimulus , but I can do it by simulating reality. Some psychologists use this technique with excellent results, which can also be found in mobile apps. You can read more about this topic in our article: "8 apps to treat phobias and fears from your smartphone"

15 Weird Phobias That Actually Exist (July 2024).

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