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Old 02-14-2014, 11:45 AM
 
1,423 posts, read 1,628,302 times
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I've had the fear of rabies for about 6 months now (previously, I used to be afraid of making contact w/other people's blood and catching a blood-borne illness...so I guess my phobia "graduated"; the previously phobia lasted 6 years.).

I'm mainly afraid of Raccoons and Bats since they are the main carriers of rabies.

I avoid going outside just b/c i'm afraid a raccoon may bite me and I may not notice it. I avoid going out in the night since that's when they are most active. Two years ago, a raccoon came into my bedroom through an entrance in the house but luckily the raccoon didn't touch any of us. After that I didn't have any trauma until the last 6/mo.

I'm afraid of bats too. I know only vampire bats go out of their way to attack humans and they live don't live in the US; but I always fear that there may be a bat on the back of a door-handle, on a chair, on a shower curtain, under a table and other areas where your hand may go and I may accidently touch it and get bitten. Right now at the moment, my fear of bats aren't too intense since I know that most of them hibernate around this time of year but soon it will start getting warmer.

The phobia has definitely affected my life. A lot of ppl think something's wrong with me b/c i'm always checking various surfaces. It's also extremely time-consuming and stressful checking my hands, arms and legs for potential animal bites.

I DO try to approach this phobia in a sensible manner. I have spent hours researching and I know that in my region only ~1% of bats and ~16% of raccoons have rabies. And I know that the disease is rare w/only about 20 American deaths in the recent decades..but I just can't get over this phobia.

What can I do to get over this fear? I need serious advice.
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Old 02-14-2014, 03:01 PM
 
9,209 posts, read 18,039,121 times
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The most effective treatment for a specific phobia is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). It is generally a short term therapy, as long as you do all the work, and there aren't other complicating factors. If you chose to not go to a professional (that would be your best chance of treating this) then try exercises from a good self-help book that is firmly based on cognitive behavioral therapy.

I've assigned my clients exercises from these books, but I don't know how effective the books would be just all by themselves.
The Feeling Good Handbook: David D. Burns: 9780452281325: Amazon.com: Books

The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook: Edmund J. Bourne: 9781572248915: Amazon.com: Books


Also since it sounds like you're trying to fight this with logic, you might also remind yourself that rabies today is very treatable, if the person is treated right after being bitten by an unknown animal. I've known people who were bitten by wild animals that got away, or a strange dog, and there was no way to test the animal. They had prophylactic rabies shots and were totally fine.

Here's info from the CDC. CDC - Medical Care - Rabies

If the "logic" exercises help you at least a little bit, you might try adding education about rabies risks and treatment to your CBT.

But some phobias (the ones that become more OCD-like) often don't respond to information and logic--your brain might figure out how to refute the facts just to hold onto the fear. So I always recommend combining the education & logic with either professional or self-help CBT.

Hell, if your fear responds to logic, just get a rabies vaccine. It probably won't be covered by your insurance unless you are at high-risk (like vets, vet techs, animal control officers), but you might just pay for the peace of mind.
Vaccines: VPD-VAC/Rabies/main page


Do you still have the phobia of blood borne illnesses, or was it replaced by the rabies phobia? It would be good to discuss that upon entering therapy, if your past phobias tended to transfer to other things, or just broaden to more things. The therapist can then help you take steps to prevent the phobia from "jumping" to something else.
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Old 02-14-2014, 03:19 PM
 
Location: Squirrel Hill PA
1,864 posts, read 1,740,329 times
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The rabies vaccination is rather expensive and your insurance might not cover it. But seriously. If a raccoon bites you you will know it. And it is extremely unlikely that you will encounter or be bitten by a raccoon or bat with rabies. Far more likely for you to come across a stray cat that has it. Most rabid animals don't become as aggressive as the movies portray. They become uncoordinated and lethargic and they behave oddly but they don't go looking for things to bite. You would likely have to be the one initiating the contact with a sick animal in order for you to become exposed.

I work with animals that have rabies on a pretty regular basis and have had immunizations as a precaution. But a little common sense an caution makes the risk fairly low and I actually interact with these animals.
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Old 02-14-2014, 07:18 PM
 
128 posts, read 114,196 times
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I don't get why that's bad. It's certainly not an irrational fear (though to me logic and emotion are of equal value and always will be but that's a digression). it's like to me saying if one is around bees then does it make sense to fear bee stings.
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Old 02-14-2014, 07:43 PM
 
Location: Cape Coma Florida
1,369 posts, read 1,774,712 times
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Well, you could try being afraid of cancer instead.
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:45 PM
 
15,871 posts, read 13,425,064 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amylewis View Post
Well, you could try being afraid of cancer instead.
Legit advice
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:47 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,364,337 times
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Drink lots of water.
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Old 02-14-2014, 10:48 PM
 
35,121 posts, read 37,790,060 times
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Unless you work with or play with raccoons and/or bats I don't see why there is such a concern.
If you must be over phobic about something pick something that pertains to your life and how you live it.
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Old 02-15-2014, 03:53 AM
 
16,487 posts, read 20,328,308 times
Reputation: 16136
Quote:
Originally Posted by MemoryMaker View Post
I've had the fear of rabies for about 6 months now (previously, I used to be afraid of making contact w/other people's blood and catching a blood-borne illness...so I guess my phobia "graduated"; the previously phobia lasted 6 years.).

I'm mainly afraid of Raccoons and Bats since they are the main carriers of rabies.

I avoid going outside just b/c i'm afraid a raccoon may bite me and I may not notice it. I avoid going out in the night since that's when they are most active. Two years ago, a raccoon came into my bedroom through an entrance in the house but luckily the raccoon didn't touch any of us. After that I didn't have any trauma until the last 6/mo.

I'm afraid of bats too. I know only vampire bats go out of their way to attack humans and they live don't live in the US; but I always fear that there may be a bat on the back of a door-handle, on a chair, on a shower curtain, under a table and other areas where your hand may go and I may accidently touch it and get bitten. Right now at the moment, my fear of bats aren't too intense since I know that most of them hibernate around this time of year but soon it will start getting warmer.

The phobia has definitely affected my life. A lot of ppl think something's wrong with me b/c i'm always checking various surfaces. It's also extremely time-consuming and stressful checking my hands, arms and legs for potential animal bites.

I DO try to approach this phobia in a sensible manner. I have spent hours researching and I know that in my region only ~1% of bats and ~16% of raccoons have rabies. And I know that the disease is rare w/only about 20 American deaths in the recent decades..but I just can't get over this phobia.

What can I do to get over this fear? I need serious advice.
How did you get over your last phobia? You might want to look into therapy and possibly getting on some anti-anxiety medications. I am not sure why you feel you have to keep checking your body. I am sure if you were bitten by a raccoon or a bat you would know it.
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Old 02-15-2014, 10:08 AM
 
2,538 posts, read 3,884,560 times
Reputation: 3312
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaka aethelstan View Post
I don't get why that's bad. It's certainly not an irrational fear (though to me logic and emotion are of equal value and always will be but that's a digression).
This is possibly the worst advice I've ever read on C-D. Please do not try and help people by posting this stuff. While emotion can often equal or outweigh logic when it comes to irrational behavior, that is abnormal and the root cause of most phobia. It is not normal and should not be considered acceptable.
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