Flowers are the most beautiful things that nature has offered us. We love watching them and enjoying their sweet fragrance. However, it is not the same in the case of every one. There are people who have fear of flowers. Yes, you read it right. The extreme, often irrational fear of flowers in some people is known as Anthophobia. Do you want to know more about the condition? If yes, then read below and explore more about Anthophobia: The fear of flowers.
Anthophobia: The Fear Of Flowers:
The word “Anthophobia” is a Greek word, rather a combination of two Greek words, namely, “Anthos” meaning flowers, and “Phobos” meaning fear. There is a small group of people who suffer from Anthophobia, where they get extreme fear, panic, and anxiety, even with a short sight or thought of flowers.
Anthophobia is a type of phobia where the affected person suffers from a persistent and intense fear of flowers.
Phobias can manifest in several ways and often seem to be a constant, unrealistic, and extreme fear about a situation, a person, object, animal, or as with anthophobia, flowers. These fears are frequently irrational, which makes it a phobia. Many people with anthophobia will go to great lengths to avoid flowers. The same is with people having other types of phobias.
As be the National Institute of Mental Health, specific phobias are quite common. It is estimated that 12.5% of Americans experience a specific phobia.(1) Unfortunately, when these phobias are left untreated, they can disrupt daily routines.(2)
Symptoms Of Anthophobia:
Anxiety or panic attack is the most common symptom of anthophobia and it occurs whenever the affected person sees or thinks about flowers. In general, phobias might cause you to feel a sense of impending doom and total powerlessness over the situation.
If you have anthophobia, you might experience or feel symptoms like excessive and persistent panic and fear, sweaty palms, rapid breathing, racing heartbeat, dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, shaking, shivering, and shortness of breath.
Causes Of Anthophobia:
Just like most fears, fear of flowers or anthophobia is a learned experience. Repeated events linked with flowers, like bees or wasps stinging a person, can make the person learn negative things about flowers. Such events can create negative thinking patterns in a person’s mind.
Similarly, one more cause of anthophobia could be that flowers are mostly associated with funerals. A child who has lost any family member can develop a sudden excessive fear of flowers because of such traumatic events.
People having seasonal allergies can also develop a fear of flowers of anthophobia because of extreme symptoms that allergies cause in them. Some sorts of mental disorders or anxieties, physical illnesses, and deficiencies can also cause anthophobia.
Diagnosis Of Anthophobia:
Anthophobia or fear of flowers should be diagnosed by a trained mental health professional and who can develop a proper treatment plan by evaluating the intensity of the fear and also by knowing the adverse effects that anthophobia has on your day-to-day life.
Since anthophobia is not included in the DSM-5 or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed, as an official diagnosis, your doctor would likely consider the diagnostic criteria for a specific phobia, or an extreme fear of a specific situation or object.(3)
According to the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM-5, there are 5 different types of specific phobias, which include Animal type, situational type, natural environment type, blood-injection-injury type, and other types.(4)
Treatment Of Anthophobia:
Your mental health professional would recommend a variety of treatments for treating anthophobia and these treatment options might include medication, psychotherapy, support groups, or a combination of all these three.
Psychotherapy is usually the first-line defense, with CBT or cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, or a combination of these two as the top mode of treating anthophobia.
As per the APA or American Psychological Association, the primary aim of exposure therapy is to aid you to confront your fears associated with flowers.(5)
With CBT, the treatment involves potential efforts to change your thinking patterns. Your therapist would help you in identifying distorted thinking and its role in creating issues. CBT is intended to make you learn new ways to cope with the fears and ultimately change or eliminate negative thinking or behaviors.
In addition to psychotherapy, your therapist might recommend certain medications for treating anthophobia or fear of flowers or any other conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
Outlook For Anthophobia:
The outlook for patients with anthophobia is quite positive, provided they get proper and timely treatment for their condition.
According to a study of 2016, it has been found that people with a specific phobia have an increased probability for specific diseases like cardiac, vascular, heart, and respiratory disease.(6)
Though anthophobia is rare, it can, however, interfere with your daily life. If you start experiencing anxiety, fear, or panic seeing or thinking about the flower, you should talk to a mental health professional and be diagnosed and treated well.
With treatment, you can effectively learn to cope with and/or overcome the fear of flower and start enjoying your life once again.