Courtesy of Giphy
What is it that people with anthophobia fear? They have an overwhelming irrational
fear of flowers. If someone makes every effort to avoid flowers because they have a strong allergic reaction they don't have anthophobia. Their fear is logical and based on trying to avoid suffering due to their allergy. As someone who loves flowers
and has no allergic reaction or any other reason to be wary of flowers, I find it difficult to imagine what it would be like to fear flowers.
In case you are wondering why the irrational fear of flowers is called anthophobia it is because anthos is the Greek word for flowers. Phobos is Greek for fear.
What impact could anthophobia have on an individual?
A person suffering anthophobia would panic at the sight, smell or thought of flowers in their home, garden, workplace, social settings, shopping centres, street, park or any other place where one sees flowers. Flowers are found in so many places it would be impossible to avoid them completely unless one stayed at home and banned flowers from that environment.
Why would a person have anthophobia?
One possible cause is that the person learnt the fear from a parent who was morbidly afraid of flowers. Why did the parent develop this fear? I don't have the answer. Another possibility is seeing something in a movie or hearing a conversation which triggered the phobia. It is believed a person who has a disposition to anxiety is more likely to develop anthophobia.
Sometimes the phobia is based on another phobia such as -
fear of bugs which are attracted to certain flowers
fear of insects especially bees which are attracted to certain flowers such as lavender, roses, snow drops, chives and melissa balm (also known as bee balm). It could start as a fear of specific flowers because they attract bees and then become a general phobia about flowers.
Symptoms of anthophobia
Bees are attracted to lavender Image by Marie Vonow
The sufferermay experience -
feeling of panic and dread around flowers or have a panic attack
Treatment for Anthophobia
inability to speak coherently
Anti anxiety medication can treat the symptoms but not the cause of a phobia. Relaxation techniques can also be used to treat symptoms and the advantage over medication is there is no risk of unwanted side effects. Hypnosis may help, but again it is not addressing the cause of the fear.
Talking to your doctor is probably the best way to get help to address the phobia itself. A trained therapist may use exposure therapy or another form of behavioural therapy as treatment.
I often have several vases of flowers in different rooms in my house so it is obvious I don't have a phobia about flowers. I can't imagine being without flowers in my garden and house.
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Image by Marie Vonow