Apiphobia – The Fear Of Bees

Having any phobia is difficult. While phobias vary in severity, a severe phobia can negatively impact a person’s daily quality of life. Around 10 million people in the United Kindom suffer from some sort of phobias. 

While studies in the US suggest that nearly 12.5% of Americans struggle with phobias at some point in their lifetime.  And that’s a conservative estimate.

If you struggle with phobias, read on to learn how to overcome your fears best to live a happier, fuller life. 

What Is The Fear Of Bees Called?

The fear of bees is called Apiphobia and is an intense phobia that negatively impacts the mental health and sometimes physical wellbeing of those who suffer from it. 

The phobia can lead to anxiety and can force those who suffer from it to avoid certain behaviours or life events and can even manifest in physical symptoms like vomiting and nausea. 

Where Does Apiphobia Come From? 

Like with any phobia, Apiphobia can be an irrational fear or a learned fear. Interestingly enough, some researchers believe phobias are genetic and can be passed down from older generations

Of course, phobias can also stem from a negative first interaction with a bee, such as a near-death experience resulting from a bee sting. 

People can also develop Apiphobia from learned sources, such as hearing a particularly traumatic news story regarding bees or hearing stories from friends or peers who had a traumatic experience with bees. 

The truth is, phobias and anxiety are complicated neurological disorders. People can develop phobias for logical or illogical reasons. When our fight or flight response activates, our bodies remember certain triggers. If a person had to deploy their fight or flight response and for whatever a bee reminds their brain of that moment, their brain will trigger that same fight or flight response. 

Symptoms 

Apiphobia can become so severe that a person goes to great and even extreme lengths to avoid bees. It can also result in panic attacks, which are periods of intense fear when there is no actual danger. 

Lifestyle Avoidance 

Generally, people will alter their lives to avoid interacting with bees. This means that patients sometimes avoid going outside altogether, significantly and negatively impacting their quality of life. 

Other times, patients will go outside, but they are subject to a panic attack anytime they are triggered. This could mean seeing bees or seeing, thinking, or feeling something that reminds them of bees.

Panic Attacks 

Probably the most common element to having a phobia, patients can feel triggered at any moment, which can easily result in suffering from a panic attack. 

If you have a fear of bees, then you probably already know the feeling. Symptoms are panic-associated, which means that patients can feel many physical effects. Symptoms include: 

  • Sweaty hands
  • Heart palpitations or a tightening in their chest
  • Dissociation 
  • Dizziness 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting 

Diagnosis 

Since Apiphobia is a panic disorder, there aren’t any conclusive blood tests or any other concrete medical analysis you can take to determine whether or not you have a phobia. 

Instead, you can speak to a therapist and psychologist. They will ask you a series of questions to evaluate your level of fear for bees and if this fear is at an appropriate level. If your fear prevents you from leading a full, healthy life, then chances are you do indeed have a phobia. 

If you suspect you have Apiphobia, you can book an appointment with a therapist and psychologist. During your sessions, your therapist can assess the severity of your phobia and will work with you to create a treatment plan.

Your mental health counsellor will use several tools to help diagnose the therapy, such as ranking your level of discomfort during their sessions, as well as detailed therapy sessions to understand the root of your phobia further. 

Treatment 

Luckily, there is treatment available to reduce your symptoms or cure your phobia altogether. The most common treatment method is exposure therapy, which slowly introduces you to your fear. 

By creating small, moderate discomfort that you can handle, you can retrain your brain to understand that you can manage and overcome your fear. Exposure therapy is so common because it is non-invasive and completely free.

Another common treatment type is cognitive-behavioural therapy. Otherwise known as CBT, this treatment plan helps you develop control and confidence over your feelings so that you no longer feel so overwhelmed and incapacitated by them. 

Since phobias are linked with anxiety disorder, patients can try another treatment method to live a less stressful life. Patients often find relief by regular mediation, cutting back on caffeine and alcohol, and getting adequate sleep. 

There have also been many studies on the link between vitamins and anxiety and depression. According to research, by increasing your intake of specific vitamins, you can decrease your levels of anxiety and depression. 

Lastly, patients can also take anti-anxiety medications, like beta-blockers or sedatives. However, these medications can sometimes be addictive (especially sedatives), and therefore may be better left as a last result. 

Final Thoughts 

Suffering from a phobia is scary, draining, and can significantly decrease the quality of your life. Those who have phobias typically build their life to accommodate their fears and can lead to issues such as social isolation, general anxiety, depression, and dependency on drugs and alcohol. 

If you have Apiphobia, it’s essential to know that help is available. Reach out to a mental illness professional to gain insight into the root cause of your phobia and how you can best address it. 

By making specific lifestyle changes, working with a professional to confront their fears head-on, and taking medicine, those with Apiphobia can significantly reduce the discomfort to lead a happier life.  Bees are amazing creatures