Entomophobia - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Contributed by : Asha Lalwani, Ravina Sewani   
Entomophobia - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Entomophobia is defined as the fear of insects.

Entomophobia is defined as the fear of insects; this type of phobia is focused on particular insect and not on situation or experience. It is not just about avoiding to see insects but the mere thought of insects creates anxiety.


  • Developing the phobia from family, some of the family members could have experienced it in front of the child, for example a parent would have shouted in front of the child while seeing a cockroach/spider.
  • Traumatic brain injury in early years of age could be one of the possible reasons for anxiety and panic.
  • A traumatic experience during early years of childhood, for example the child would have a lizard fallen on his/her arm.

Physical symptoms of phobia:

  • Sweating
  • Increased rate of heart beat
  • Trembling
  • Discomfort in speaking
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Upset stomach
  • Numbness
  • Feeling dizzy or fainting
  • Nausea

Psychological symptoms:

  • Feeling out of touch with reality or detached from your body
  • Fear of fainting
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of dying


  • A mental health expert can diagnose phobia; keep a regular track of your child’s behaviour/health in particular situations and with objects.
  • Phobia diagnosis is based on diagnostic guidelines and a thorough clinical interview. If you feel that your child has a phobia, take him/her to a healthcare expert. Your child's doctor will either ask you or your child about the symptoms. The doctor might also take a medical, psychiatric, and family history.
  • Your child's doctor might also use the diagnostic criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).


  • Exposure Therapy: It is a method by which the child is deliberately set to experience the situation, phobic trigger until the panic attack passes away. “Imaginary exposure,” in which the child just thinks about ticks, may be the first step in therapy. Next, your child may be shown a cartoon picture of a tick, and then a photograph of an actual tick, and then a video of a tick. At last, your child might be exposed to an actual tick or bug. Keep your child close to you and assure them that they are safe with parents and the therapist around.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): The therapist of your child will help your child challenge their own thoughts about ticks. They will help your child write down the thought, look at it and think about it, and then replace it with a more appropriate thought - such as that there are ticks in the country, but not in this neighbourhood.
  • Virtual reality (VR): It's a treatment where your child will be exposed to computer simulations of insects. Getting the experience of an insect in the virtual world can help your child get over his/her fear in a setting that feels safe.
  • Modelling: In this method, the child sees other person facing the situation without fear and panic.
  • Medicines like tranquillisers and antidepressants (prescribed by a doctor) can be helpful along with the above treatments.

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