There are many kinds of seemingly irrational fears and phobias prevalent in the world. What might be laughing matter to people, is not so to a phobic. Anatidaephobia is one such phobia. A person suffering from this condition feels that somewhere in the world, a duck or a goose is watching him/her (not attacking or touching, simply watching the individual).
The word Anatidaephobia is derived from Greek word ‘Anatidae’ which means ducks, geese or other water fowls, and phobos is Greek for dread/fear.
The fear of ducks phobia can be a debilitating anxiety condition, wherein, no matter what one is doing or where s/he is in the world, they feel the constant presence of a duck or goose.
Causes of Anatidaephobia
Anatidaephobia or the fear of ducks might have sprung due to a negative or traumatic incident related to ducks or geese. Such birds are known to have violent tendencies and are often known to attack people without any provocation. Often, they swoop down to steal food or simply take a nip.
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A child might have directly or indirectly experienced such an episode. S/he might have experienced the flapping sound made by the bird’s large wings. This then causes it to feel vulnerable or fearful around ducks. Most cases of childhood phobias get resolved over time. However, in few cases, they persist into adulthood.
Symptoms of fear of ducks phobia
While normal people might smile or laugh at the thought of being scared by a duck, to an Anatidaephobic, this fear is persistent and weighs constantly on the mind. Sometimes, the phobia is so extreme that it might even affect one’s day to day life. S/he might refuse to leave the home on account of encountering a duck.
Physical symptoms of fear of ducks phobia include:
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- Trembling or shaking
- Dry mouth, difficulty swallowing or feeling like choking
- Paralyzing fear that causes the phobic to stay rooted or frozen.
- Alternatively, one tries to scream, or flee.
- Some phobics fear they will lose control totally: fainting, dizziness, crying or embarrassing oneself etc
- Chest pains, gastrointestinal distress are other signs of this phobia
Thoughts of death, dying, feeling like being trapped are other psychological symptoms of this phobia.
Thus, the fear of ducks phobia can take over one’s life completely as one refuses to leave their home on account of encountering a duck. They may go to great lengths to avoid traveling to areas that are known to have geese or ducks.
Diagnosing and overcoming Anatidaephobia
In majority of the cases, people suffering from Anatidaephobia self diagnose their condition and are aware that their fear is irrational. Still they are unable to control it. Many refuse to approach a doctor as a result of which their phobia might persist for years.
It is important to talk to your primary health care provider particularly if the aforementioned anxiety symptoms are interfering with your day-to-day life. Your doctor can then recommend a mental health professional or one of the following therapies that are known to be highly effective in treating and overcoming the fear of ducks phobia for good.
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- NLP or Neuro Linguistic programming – This therapy is based on the principle that most phobias are ‘learnt or programmed behavior’ of the brain. NLP seeks to re-program the mind to completely to eliminate the fear once and for all.
- Hypnotherapy- This is another proven and safe therapy that delves deep into the Anatidaephobic’s mind to determine the root cause of phobia.
- Other self help therapies- Therapists also encourage phobics to practice mind body techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and writing down positive thoughts to rationalize negative ones to overcome the fear of ducks.
It is important that family and friends support the individual instead of teasing/laughing at them or doing other things to entice their Anatidaephobia.