Extreme fear of insects is referred to as entomophobia and is among the common forms of phobia. It causes acute panic and anxiety among victims; however, there are proficient ways of shedding it off, such as virtual reality, medication, etc. Psychologists provide virtual reality therapies to help their clients beat this fear by engaging in risky situations in a virtual and safe setting. These specialists use control settings to adjust the computer-created environment. The complex virtual environments entail the replica of real-world aspects, thanks to 360-degree panorama,3D graphics, and sounds.
Children and adults can develop entomophobia, especially when they have prior hostile experiences with the particular insect. With about 6 percent of the population having entomophobia, C2care provides her patrons with psychological and medical treatment for various fears, eating disorders, addictions stress, and implements virtual reality exposure therapy in their program. Keep reading to understand how virtual reality can assist in eradicating the fear of insects.
What Leads to Entomophobia?
According to experts, there is no exact cause for entomophobia and other phobias. C2care suggests that temperaments such as being more sensitive or negative can cause a phobia. Here are other causes of entomophobia.
- A Depressing experience- negative or traumatic experiences can boost specific phobias, such as getting stung by a bee at an early age. Depressed individuals are less interested in life, which culminates in low self-esteem and a feeling of unworthiness. Depressed feelings and insecurity lead to fear of bugs.
- Your Family- kids can acquire entomophobia from siblings or parents. For instance, you can develop a fear of insects when your mother screams at the sight of spiders and bugs.
- Genetics-research shows the correlation between genes and phobias.
- Traumatic brain Injuries- Brain injuries, including concussions, can lead to anxiety disorders and increase fear conditioning, which predisposes your brain to fear due to the injury’s stressful consequences.
- Contamination fear- the most significant culprit for entomophobia stems from the fear of insect contamination since most insects such as cockroaches and flies carry infections. The disgusting appearance of certain bugs also creates anxiety.
- Fear of insect bites and infestation: some individuals fear getting insect bites and the subsequent illness. Allergic reactions from bugs such as fire ant bites and wasp stings can fuel entomophobia. Other individuals are also afraid of bug infestation in their bodies.
The notion of being near insects can cause adverse physical and mental symptoms like sudden feelings of immense anxiety/fear when thinking or seeing an insect, chest tightness, sweating, dry mouth, shaking, panic attacks and nausea.
How to Treat Fear Of Insects
Entomophobia is treatable through virtual rehabilitation and exposure therapy.
VR technology is essential during exposure therapy (a treatment option where patients are gradually introduced to traumatic stimuli). Within the virtual setting, a patient interacts safely with entomophobia representations such as spiders, wasps, and bees.
Three researchers from York University in 2011 proposed the use of the VRET (virtual reality exposure therapy) system in treating phobias. C2care uses these tools to produce feared insects in the virtual environment; thus, patients may not require a therapist.
Our virtual rehabilitation trains therapeutic patients based on conventional therapy and simulation activities of virtual reality. It’s entertaining and motivates patients to overcome their fears. It also avails objective outcome elements of therapy effectiveness (mobility range, game scores, limb velocity, and so on). This information is stored transparently by computers running the VR software and is available online.
Thus, VR therapy can be conducted at the comfort of the patient’s home and monitored from a distance. Remember that virtual rehabilitation is more costly than equipment and medicines and
makes the client more active with desensitization.
At C2care, we set unique objectives for every treatment to promote progress. In about eight series of sessions, we focus on the following:
- Psychoeducation- it entails identifying the fundamental cause of fear and related symptoms and signs. We also introduce VR at this stage and answer questions regarding the process.
- Relaxation- At this juncture, we explore breathing types to assist patients with coping gear in moments of fear, anxiety, and stress. We first orientate the patient with a neutral VR setting for a smoother transition into advanced virtual.
- Virtual exposure and relaxation: the patient is exposed to various insect scenarios. The triggers are unique to every session, but breathing methods are similar.
- Relapse prevention: Our mental health experts liaise with the patients to conduct an analysis of therapy sessions and plan exercises for future exposures to insects. We equip the patient with separate tools and software to avert imminent relapses.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This treatment option entails picturing various insects in your thoughts and determining how they affect you. It concentrates on altering your reactions and thinking towards the phobia by identifying and reducing the trigger factors.
We merge this therapy with virtual reality to help patients control their thoughts until they are no longer susceptible to insects’ fear.
CBT has also shown impeccable excellence in treating a range of specific fears, thanks to its high number of successful treatments and long-term effects. Among the top-notch therapies for treating entomophobia conditions include custom CBT through virtual reality exposure in VIVO
Psychotherapy is among the most effective methods of beating entomophobia. Our mental health specialists may recommend certain medications to minimize symptoms of entomophobia. The prescribed drugs may include:
- Beta-Blockers- These drugs block the impact of adrenaline, such as high blood pressure, heart rate, and palpitations.
- Antidepressants- They reduce the fear of anxiety associated with insects.
- Anxiety drugs- these are recommended for short-term utility and reduce anxiety.
Note that beta-blockers, antidepressants, and anxiety drugs are not FDA-approved for battling phobias.
What are the Merits of VR over In-vivo exposure (IVE)?
VR exposure therapy can be conducted from any part of the world using appropriate tools, while IVE can cause issues where transport is unreliable. People with mobility concerns such as obesity and paralysis can efficiently utilize VR since it has fewer problems ethical than IVE.
VR also motivates patients through in-game awards, high scores, and ranks. From the high scores and game’s data, our therapists can evaluate progression and chart patient’s performance for improved inspiration.
What’s The Difference Between Ekblom’s Syndrome And Entomophobia?
The fear of insects crawling on your skin is called Ekblom’s syndrome. It causes the belief that the patient’s skin is bug-infested and can culminate in self-mutilation to eliminate the infestation.
On the contrary, entomophobia is simply the fear of bugs.
Through gradual and regular exposure to insects, patients can eradicate this phobia.
Wrapping It Up
Do you treat individuals who have entomophobia or other specific phobias? Ensure you check out our Virtual Reality Therapy services. At C2care, we provide virtual reality gear and environments for a plethora of mental health issues. Regarding entomophobia, some of our virtual reality remedies include virtual anthills or spiders approaching the patient’s house, virtual representation of bugs in your house and more. It contains eight exposure sessions with session times taking about half an hour. Our VRET therapy can be used on children more than 4-years old, teenagers, adults, and seniors. Implementing VR therapeutic techniques offers a remedy that you and your patients are searching for.