The difference between a phobia and fear of mice and rats
Updated: Aug 24
Musophobia is the scientific name for the fear of mice and rats, a very common phobia that affects a large proportion of the population. On the other hand, there is also a large percentage of people that experience a fear of mice and rats. So, what is the difference between Musophobia and fear of mice and rats? And What happens when you have a phobia of mice and rats?
What is a phobia of mice and rats, and where does it come from?
A phobia of mice and rats is an intense, debilitating, and overwhelming fear. The fear of encountering a mouse or rat, thoughts about mice and rats, or even seeing pictures and videos of them is so severe that it creates exaggerated feelings of danger towards mice and rats and negatively affects your daily life. A phobia of mice and rats is categorized as an anxiety disorder and consequently results in elevated feelings of anxiety about mice and rats.
A phobia of mice and rats can arise for several reasons, some of which include:
1. Past negative experiences
· A phobia of mice or rats may occur due to experiencing a traumatic and altering situation where a negative event occurred due to a mouse or rat
2. Learned negative responses
· Being exposed to other individuals’ fear of rats may cause a deeper-rooted phobia. Being around people who have acted negatively towards a mouse or rat may cause a negative response to being learned, which can manifest into a phobia
3. Negative associations with mice and rats
· Mice and rats are commonly associated with negative elements in everyday life and through media. It is common for mice and rats to be portrayed as carriers of disease, and pests that have strong connections to contamination and dirty places. These negative associations may cause a phobia to arise.
· Studies have shown that phobias can be passed on genetically. So, if someone in your family has a phobia of rats, there is a chance you could inherit one too.
What is a fear of mice and rats and where does it come from?
Fear of mice and rats is an uneasy feeling that arises due to the body’s biological detection of danger, that is manifested in mice or rats. However, this fear does not severely hinder your ability to function or bring up extreme feelings of anxiety. It is a natural feeling that is common and important to the human experience. Fear of mice and rats can arise in the same ways as a phobia; however, the severity of the fear is much less.
What happens when you have a phobia of mice and how is it different to a fear?
When you have a phobia of mice and rats the fear becomes so severe that you tend to avoid situations where an encounter could occur. The key difference between a phobia of mice and a fear of mice comes into play when the phobia begins to disrupt your daily life and begins to take a toll on your mental health. Phobias are categorized as a mental health issue, whilst fears act as a common feeling that allows us to detect danger and keep ourselves safe.
Some common symptoms that may arise from a phobia of mice and rats can include;
· Increased feelings of danger
· Fight or flight responses
· Elevated Heartrate
· Stomach Pains and nausea
· Chest pain
· Shortness of breath
· Panic attacks
Whilst all these symptoms may not be experienced when struggling with a phobia of mice or rats, they are common. These symptoms can range in intensity following the severity of the Musophobia. If you feel like a phobia of mice and rats may be something you are dealing with, why not take our free test for Musophobia to see where you stand?
What are ways to treat a phobia of mice and rats/Musophobia?
Experiencing a phobia of mice and rats can feel scary, isolating, and disrupting, but there are ways to manage and improve the symptoms and anxieties that arise. Studies have shown that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy are the most effective treatment options for the phobia of mice and rats. Exposure therapy works by essentially creating a safe situation where you are confronted with the thing you fear on a small scale, and build up to more extreme situations, in a guided and controlled way. oVRcome offers virtual reality exposure therapy that allows you to experience clinically effective in an accessible way, even from the comfort of your own home. If you are struggling with a fear of mice and rats, why not give oVRcome’s VR exposure therapy a go?