Fear of chickens is a rare and specific type of phobia where people develop an irrational fear of chickens. The word alektorophobia comes from the Greek words “alektor”, which means (rooster), and “phobos”, which means fear.
People with alektorophobia, suffer from irrational fears of chickens and other birds, it really does not matter if the phobia of chickens was acquired during some specific episode in real life or occurred while sleeping, for some the cause even seems to be genetic, without no known traumatic event to trigger it, real or imagined.
Since little scientific research has been done on alektorophobia, we do not know the exact number of people who suffer from it or if it is more common in men or women. German filmmaker Werner Herzog reportedly suffers from it, as does American actress and fashion model Shannon Elizabeth.
Symptoms of alektorophobia
People with a fear of chickens feel a variety of anxiety-related symptoms when they are around or thinking of chickens.
Symptoms generally include extreme anxiety, fear, and anything associated with panics, such as shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, inability to articulate words or sentences, and tremors.
A person shows an immediate sensation of intense fear, panic, and signs of anxiety whenever he is close to a chicken or someone talks about poultry. Most people with this mental condition will go to great lengths to avoid contact with chickens.
Alektotophobia can also trigger nausea and gastrointestinal disturbances, as well as the inability to form words and express oneself normally (stuttering).
The above symptoms are not an exhaustive list, but they are the most common among people who suffer from this mental condition. If you feel any of these symptoms, contact a mental health professional and seek diagnosis and treatment.
Causes of alektorophobia
Fear of chickens is usually caused by a traumatic event or a series of traumatic events involving roosters, aggressive hens, or other chickens. The phobia is more common among people who have spent their childhood in rural areas, particularly in places where large numbers of chickens are kept.
Most alektorophobia has ingrained childhood trauma that develops over time and manifests as a total phobia towards adulthood. The phobia can also be learned by watching a family member or loved one display an irrational fear of these feathered birds. Chicken scare stories can exacerbate trauma by pushing this mental condition to the extreme.
Also, many people with alektorophobia cannot remember how, when, or why their phobias developed. However, the following can cause some cases of alektorophobia:
Negative experience. Many animal-related phobias stem from a negative experience with that animal, even if they can’t remember the experience. For example, you may have encountered an aggressive rooster when you were a very young child and you forgot about it.
Genetics and the Environment. Young children learn many behaviors from their parents, including those related to fear and anxiety. If your parents were anxious about chickens, you may have detected their behavior when you were young and had a similar reaction.
Treatment of alektorophobia
Treating specific phobias often involves a combination of treatment options. The goal of treatment is to improve your quality of life and prevent the fear of chickens from disrupting your daily life. There are several methods and therapies to overcome this type of phobias.
- Hypnotherapy or hypnoanalysis are very effective treatments to help people discover the exact cause of fear and reverse it by developing new patterns or ideas along with positive suggestions that help us overcome it. This treatment has been approved by the American Medical Association since 1958 and is used in the treatment of many types of phobias.
- Cognitive behavior therapy is another method used to overcome the fear of chickens. It involves working with a therapist to learn to identify your own irrationally fearful thoughts and replace them with more rational ones.
- Exposure therapy is a treatment that consists of learning to tolerate the anxiety caused by the fear of chickens. The therapist will work to gradually introduce chickens into your life by thinking of them, looking at photos, or watching videos. Virtual reality technology is becoming an increasingly popular tool for exposure therapy.
Specific phobias rarely require long-term medication unless accompanied by other disorders, such as generalized anxiety or depression. Medication can also be helpful for people who have difficulty with exposure therapy.
For patients with mild symptoms, relaxation techniques can be used to help overcome fear and discomfort.
On Reddit, many users have shared testimonials of their experiences with this mental condition. The Reddit blogger reports that people with alektorophobia tend to feel uncomfortable around chickens or certain places they are known to live in, such as farms.
Visible signs that indicate the presence of chickens, such as eggs, can also trigger symptoms and overwhelming fear. As with any phobia, symptoms vary from person to person according to their level of fear.
Imagine sweating every time a friend mentions the delicious breakfast with eggs that are prepared daily thanks to his free-range chickens. Then start talking about your plans to build a bigger chicken coop, or how cute your neighbors’ newborn chicks are, as you struggle to hide your pounding heart and shortness of breath.
British rugby player Tommy Seymour described a terrifying childhood encounter with a chicken: “My aunt had chickens and one had a crooked spine, so her head was almost upside down. When it was my turn to feed them, the hen ran to me, surely excited to receive the first meal of the day. However, I ran into the shed and stayed there for an hour with the chicken pecking at the door until my brother found me. ” That incident has stayed with him his entire life, and this tough athlete admits that he has a phobia of chickens.
If you identify with these symptoms and the stories I have told, you may suffer from Alektorophobia. And here’s the good news: The shared testimonials sought professional help and were able to overcome his phobia. He just took a little regular therapy and treatment. So if you or someone you know suffers from an overwhelming fear of chickens, take that first step and contact your healthcare professional.
Alektorophobia, like other phobias, can significantly disrupt daily life with symptoms ranging from mild anxiety and discomfort to paralyzing terror, heart palpitations, and hyperventilation.
Panic attacks related to alektorophobia can also be socially damaging, because to outside observers, fear of chickens seems completely irrational, even silly. Victims of alektorophobia who are frequently encountered with chickens, such as when living or working on a farm, may feel unable or unwilling to complete daily activities. When the phobia becomes so severe that it interferes with your normal life, psychological help should be sought.
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