Chickens are a common sight in farms and backyard gardens. But do you know that a chicken’s presence can elicit a powerful feeling of dread and anxiety for some people? So, what is a fear of chickens called? This article will reveal this phobia’s name and explore the causes, symptoms, and treatments.
What is Alektorophobia?
The fear of chickens is called alektorophobia. People who have it may feel incredible anxiety and dread. They may even have panic attacks when they’re around these animals.
Their intense feelings can affect their daily life. For instance, they may avoid going to places where there are chickens. These include farms, petting zoos, and markets. They’re also unable to eat any poultry products.
Who is more prone to have this phobia?
Fear of chickens can affect people of all ages and backgrounds.
Certain factors can make some people more prone to developing this phobia.
Some studies reveal that certain anxiety disorders may run in families. If someone has a close relative who has this phobia, they’re likely to develop it.
Sometimes, a bad experience with a chicken, such as being chased or attacked, can develop this fear.
Fear of chickens can also be learned from others, including parents or caregivers. If someone grows up observing scared behavior towards these birds, they may develop this phobia.
In some cultures, chickens are associated with negative or frightening things. This belief may contribute to the phobia’s development in some individuals.
Anxiety and stress
Individuals with high anxiety or stress levels may be more prone to developing specific phobias.
Is it common?
Alektorophobia may be relatively rare, but that does not mean it is not a valid condition. It can be very distressing and disruptive for people who have it.
How would you know if a person has Alektorophobia?
Suppose a friend bails on your petting zoo trip. She tells you she won’t go over her dead body. So, you ask her, “why?”. She reveals that chickens give her incredible creeps. Would you get mad? Of course not. Maybe she’s also experiencing the following symptoms.
- Extreme panic, fear, and anxiety at the sight or thought of chickens
- Avoiding any situation that may involve contact with these birds
- Irrational fear of places where poultry animals might be present (farms, zoos, or supermarkets)
- Physical manifestations in the presence of chickens
- increased heart rate
- difficulty breathing
- Difficulty functioning in daily life due to the phobia
- Avoiding outdoor activities
- Not wanting to eat chicken
- Missing work or school.
- Constantly worrying about chickens
- Immense distress and anxiety
If you think your friend or someone you know (or even you) has these signs, seek medical advice.
How severe the phobia differs from one person to another. Not everyone who experiences a fear of chickens has this phobia. So, it’s best to leave the diagnosis to the experts.
How is Alektorophobia Treated?
Therapy and medication are some of the approaches to treat this phobia. The treatment plan depends on the symptoms and the phobia’s severity.
How is it diagnosed?
If you are experiencing the symptoms and decide to seek help, expect the following from your doctor or therapist.
- First, they’ll ask questions to understand your fear and how this emotion affects your life.
- They’ll use assessment tools to help them understand why you’re so afraid.
- They’ll rule out other possible causes for the fear, such as other medical or psychological conditions.
- Based on their assessment, the doctor will determine whether you have alektorophobia. They’ll rule out other types of anxiety disorder.
What are possible treatments?
One of the ways to treat the phobia is to seek medical help. Doctors can provide the appropriate medicines and therapy that can reduce symptoms. Self-medication is a no-no! It might make the condition worse.
Medicines are heaven-sent to people who have phobias. But patients can’t live on it alone. A medication and therapy combo works best.
These medicines can help manage the symptoms that go with the condition. A word of warning, though. Anti-anxiety medications can be habit-forming. So, patients need to watch out for side effects—for instance, drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired coordination. Driving, working, and caring for kids might not be advisable when medicating.
These medicines block the effects of adrenaline and other stress hormones. They can also help reduce palpitations, sweating, and shaking. Beta-blockers are used on an as-needed basis. It’s not safe to take them when you’re not feeling any signs.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help people who fear chickens feel less scared. People can learn to feel less afraid and anxious by changing how they think about and respond to these animals. CBT can help people manage their fear and their anxiety around these animals.
This kind of therapy gradually exposes the person to chickens until they become desensitized. Usually, it’s done in a safe and controlled way. So you don’t need to worry about getting overwhelmed.
You can learn that these innocent birds are not as scary as you thought. You can also learn coping strategies to manage your anxiety and fear. A therapist will teach deep breathing or visualization techniques.
What are Other Cures for Alektorophobia?
Do you want to try alternative treatments to curb chicken phobia? Check out the following methods.
Yoga may not directly treat this phobia. But it can help to reduce anxiety and stress brought about by the chickens. Yoga incorporates physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. It’s highly beneficial to one’s mental and physical health.
Yoga can help increase mindfulness. Being present in the present moment can help people with phobias. It releases you from worrying about possible encounters with poultry. It can also prevent you from dwelling on past traumas.
So, how does exercise works? The body releases chemicals called endorphins when we work out. These happy hormones add joy and subtract stress from our daily lives. It also gives us more confidence and control.
The fear of chickens can interfere with your functioning. It can be an uphill battle. So, it’s crucial to find ways to overcome it. That’s where exercise comes in, my friend!
Jogging, dancing, biking, or any activity that makes you sweat can do wonders. They allow you to feel more in control of your emotions. You can also build resilience to help you face the birds that have been scaring you for so long.
Hypnotherapy can help you face your fear of chickens. It enables you to reframe your thoughts and emotions around them. A therapist will gradually expose you to these animals in a safe environment.
During a hypnotherapy session, the therapist will use guided relaxation techniques to keep you calm and focused. Then they will guide you through visualization exercises. These activities will help you imagine being comfortable around poultry.
Frequently Asked Questions
This phobia can be a complex journey. Maybe it’s you who’s having symptoms. Perhaps it’s someone close to you. Surely, you all have some questions like the ones below.
Does alektorophobia have long-term effects?
This phobia’s long-term effects depend on the fear’s severity. For example, someone with a mild fear of chickens may not experience significant long-term consequences. However, those with more severe poultry anxiety may experience the adverse impact longer.
This phobia can lead to other mental health issues if left untreated. It may result in depression or social anxiety. The fear can make it difficult to engage in everyday activities or interact with others.
Can you prevent it from happening?
It may not always be viable to prevent this phobia from happening. However, you can reduce your chances of developing it by having positive experiences with chickens. You can spend time around chickens in a controlled environment. For example, you can visit a farm or a petting zoo to be comfortable around these birds.
Can kids have it?
Yes, kids can have a fear of chickens. They may develop it because they had a negative experience with a chicken, such as being pecked or chased. Others may develop the fear for no apparent reason.
If a child is afraid of chickens, you must respect their emotions. You must not force them to interact with chickens if they do not want to. If the fear is severe and interfering with the child’s daily life, it’s best to seek help from a mental health professional.
Can this phobia cause fear in chicken meat?
People with this phobia may feel fear or discomfort around chicken meat. The thought of a juicy fried chicken may scare them away. That person may have negative thoughts and feelings about it. Any poultry products may be forever off the menu.
However, not everyone with this fear will have this same reaction. Some people may still enjoy buffalo wings without being scared or opposed.
So, what is the fear of chickens called? It’s alektorophobia. It can be a debilitating condition that affects one’s daily functions. Fortunately, some treatments can help people overcome it. If you or someone you know has signs of this phobia, seek immediate medical help. Early intervention can be life-changing.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch.