Most phobias are related to the fear of a particular stimulus. That is, people who suffer from this psychological condition manifest rejection and anxiety when having contact with some type of object, situation, animal or any perception of danger. This means that there are a multiple variety of phobias that show that people can fear anything.

In a broader sense, phobias are also considered anxiety disorders, which is why they are part of the group of mental disorders that must be treated through therapy . Consequently, ideally, people diagnosed with some type of phobia should treat this condition with the help of a specialist. Before carrying out any treatment, a psychological evaluation is carried out that will provide more information about the patient’s condition.

Some phobias can be more specific in relation to the origin of the fear. This is the case of the fear of dogs known by the name of cynophobia, it is undoubtedly one of the best known phobias today; which is also present in a significant part of the world population. Below we analyze this phobia according to its characteristics, causes and treatment.

What is cynophobia? 

Cinophobia is considered one of the most common phobias today. Defined as the irrational fear of dogs , this breed of animals in particular has been used for centuries to domesticate them for different purposes. Some consider it a curious and strange condition because most people own a dog as a pet. However, for some people they observed getting direct contact with these animals can become a dangerous situation.

According to statistics, at least a percentage located between 6% to 10% of the world population presents symptoms of this phobia. This means that these individuals express irrational fear of dogs, it becomes a limitation because these animals are found in most societies. It is inevitable to run into one of them on the streets of cities or within family homes.

It is considered to be a type of anxiety disorder due to the symptoms it presents. It is also located in the group of thematic phobias because fear is generated from contact with a dog. This same group belongs to other phobias such as arachnophobia, which is the fear of spiders, there is a great diversity of phobias of this type that are related to a particular animal species.

People diagnosed with this condition have no limits in relation to dog breeds , any of them will have the same effect. However, in some cases it is possible to notice that people will react to certain types of dogs, especially those breeds considered potentially dangerous. It can also occur with those that have intimidating physical characteristics in terms of their size, for example.

What are the characteristics of cynophobia? 

This is a phobia that is mainly characterized by refusing to have direct contact with dogs. This means that patients with cinophobia do not have pets and try to avoid these animals under all circumstances. In addition, they experience high levels of anxiety when they are close, when they know that it is possible to meet them or even just by looking at a photograph.

As with other similar conditions of this type, physiological symptoms of their own are experienced , such as increased heart rate and respiration. In the same way, it will be observed that the patient will have tremors, sweating and nausea.

It is also important to mention changes in habitual behavior. In this case, it varies from person to person, some individuals may try to flee or instead have a defensive behavior in the face of the feared stimulus. The symptoms are very diverse because this phobia is not specific in relation to how it affects people.

Panic attacks are very common in these cases because they perceive in dogs the possibility of being in danger. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to signs such as disorientation and lack of concentration. Avoidance behaviors are also other signs, the habitual behavior of these people changes radically.

What are your causes? 

The causes for the development of this condition have so far not been able to be precisely identified. Different hypotheses are handled in which each one of them presents different ideas, but each one of them has the same degree of validity. One of the most relevant proposes the possibility of having lived a traumatic experience during childhood.

Traumas are usually associated with phobias, they are always mentioned because they have a great psychological impact and the victims. They take on special relevance when they occur during the first stage of development of a person, eventually during growth towards maturity they begin to manifest at any time.

Some consider genetic predisposition to be the main cause. Some biological factors can influence the development of psychological patterns that are directly associated with thoughts or perceptions that have a negative nature.

You also have to remember that fears can also be learned . This means that information of this type can be obtained through experiences lived through other people. Thus, in a repeated way, they understand what are the possible dangers that can be experienced when interacting with dogs.

What is your treatment? 

Phobias are anxiety disorders that should preferably be treated through the application of cognitive behavioral therapy . This is because these are designed from the use of techniques such as direct exposure and relaxation, this consists of making the patient face their fear directly but gradually.

Specifically, the systematic desensitization method is used , the use of this type of therapy allows the patient to promote skills that allow them to cope with situations of this type. This means that they will eventually be able to interact with these animals without perceiving danger or rejection.

As these therapy sessions take place, the patient can be brought into direct contact with live dogs. In some other cases it might be more effective to use photographs or audiovisual content related to dogs. The important thing is that the patient interacts with any of these elements within a safe environment.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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