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Cynophobia: how to overcome the fear of dogs?

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Cynophobia: how to overcome the fear of dogs?

The simple presence of a dog, sometimes even if small and docile, can trigger an immediate reaction of fear or anxiety in some people. But why does it happen and how can it be managed? Let’s see what the characteristics are cynophobia and the possible remedies to overcome it.

What is cynophobia?

It’s about a phobia specifies that, according to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), it is characterized by a marked fear or anxiety towards an object or a certain situation. Cynophobia, in particular, indicates an intense and persistent phobia towards dogs, disproportionate to the real danger, which causes significant discomfort in those who suffer from it. It can manifest itself with various levels of intensitysimply by being in the vicinity of the animal or even just thinking about it.


What are the causes and symptoms?

The causes at the origin of a phobia can be multiple and they are not always easily identifiable. Cynophobia can arise from combination of various elements, such as personal history or environmental factors. For example, atraumatic experience, such as being attacked by a dog during childhood, can sometimes trigger the development of this phobia. In order to prevent accidents, it is essential, especially for the little ones, to supervise and educate animals on the behavior of animals to interact correctly with them. However, it is not only direct experiences that contribute: also thelistening to negative stories about dogs can strengthen the phobia. Furthermore, thefamily atmosphere can affect your chance of developing it.

The person with cynophobia can experiment anxiety until you get to the real ones panic attacks. Between symptoms physicists the most common are excessive sweating, nausea, tachycardia, breathing difficulties, dizziness and tremors. Usually, the individual will also tend to Actively avoid situations where you might encounter a dog. This avoidance can extend to different social contexts, especially if friends or family members own dogs, greatly influencing one’s lifestyle habits. In the childrenreactions such as cry, outbursts of anger, stiffening or attempt to cling to adults.

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Cynophobia: can it be overcome?

To manage general anxiety, it may be useful to resort to relaxation techniques, practice breathing exercises or mindfulness. Overcoming a phobia is possible, but it requires time, patience and, if necessary, the support of a mental health professional. One of the most common treatments for cynophobia, as for other phobias, is cognitive-behavioral therapy. It is widely used exposure therapy which gradually brings the patient closer to the feared stimulus, in a safe and controlled way, to allow him to face his fear.

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