Causes of Lepidopterophobia and methods of getting rid of the fear of butterflies


When most people hear the word “butterfly,” they think of a cute, colorful insect and get positive emotions, but imagine a regular butterfly causing you disgust, fear, or even a panic attack. Lepidopterophobia is a rare phenomenon, the so-called phobia of butterflies.

Lepidopterophobia - fear of moths and butterflies

Lepidopterophobia, or phobia of butterflies

In science, butterfly phobia is called lepidopterophobia. The patient may not suspect that he has such a fear until he gets, for example, to a moth exhibition, where instead of admiration he is overcome by a feeling of fear, panic attacks, and a faint state.

Few people know the correct name for the fear of butterflies. Even fewer people suspect the existence of such fear. Often it turns out to be an element of insectophobia, that is, fear of insects in general. The disease lies in the fact that it is unbearable for a person to see a moth, much less feel it on his body. It gets to the point that the word “butterfly” or “butterfly”, read in a book, magazine or on a poster, causes the patient to tremble.

Note! A person suffering from lepidopterophobia is disgusted even to call insects butterflies. He prefers to express himself more harshly, for example, “monster”, “abomination” and so on.

The patient avoids trips to nature; visiting butterfly exhibitions regularly held in zoos is alien to him. It is noteworthy that he is afraid not only of butterflies, he can be frightened by the smallest moth that flies into the light of a lamp. Fear is aggravated when others do not take the panic of a friend or relative seriously, laugh at him, mock him, try in every possible way to slip an image of an insect under his nose, etc.

Causes of pathology

Many people are surprised that there are those who can feel fear towards such cute creatures as butterflies.
There are many reasons for the development of this disorder. Most often, phobias are a consequence of excessive anxiety and constant stress in a person. One of the reasons for the development of pathology may be various mental disorders. Children are very prone to anxiety; it is enough for them to learn a scary story about butterflies. In books or documentaries, an insect can appear as a negative character. It is in such situations that a person develops a fear of moths.

Phobias in children do not appear without the participation of their parents. A child does not always know how to behave correctly in the company of insects, so he is afraid of them, and parents can be aggressive. After such situations, fears begin to haunt a person throughout his life. If a child is scared, he needs to try to explain that butterflies are harmless creatures that are not capable of causing harm , they simply live in interaction with wildlife and people.

You should not immediately drive away the moth. It is enough to put it on your hand and show the baby the insect. Very often, children copy the behavior of their parents, so you should not be aggressive towards the world around you.

In rare cases, children may develop pathology in a family where they collect butterflies. Situations can be stressful when a child sees adults bullying a moth: piercing its wings, etc. The little person begins to empathize with the insect, passing this situation through himself.

In addition, the pathology can be inherited. If one parent has a fear of moths, there is a chance that the child may also develop the disorder. This is explained by copying the behavior of adults.

Another factor for the occurrence of the disorder may be childhood psychological trauma: for example, disability, death of a loved one, car accident.

Symptoms of lepidopterophobia

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Depending on the form of fear, symptoms may be mild: hostility, irritation, rapid heartbeat. It is often difficult for a patient to deal with fear, because he is overcome by panic attacks, trembling runs through the whole body, and cold sweat is released. Depending on how a person reacts to fears, he becomes numb or, conversely, indulges in hysterics.

At butterfly exhibitions, “exhibits” sit directly on visitors

When seeing moths, the patient experiences a phantom unpleasant tickling sensation on the skin and hair. Nervousness increases, even paranoia appears when going outside. The condition is especially aggravated by expressions of misunderstanding on the part of others, who, for the sake of a joke or in an attempt to prove that “one should not be afraid of butterflies,” forcibly persuade a person to come into contact with insects, even slipping in their corpses.


How can you tell if someone has this phobia? First of all, an individual who is afraid of butterflies refuses to go for a walk in the forest or park where these creatures may live. And in summer cottages such a person feels uncomfortable. After all, these insects are found there. A negative reaction is observed if the butterfly touches the skin of an individual suffering from this phobia. Her wings and scales on her paws cause negative sensations. The man waves the insect away and tries to drive it away. Often, fear of butterflies leads to wearing long sleeves, treating the home with products that repel these creatures, and avoiding meetings and outdoor recreation. If the signs of the disorder are pronounced, the individual generally refuses to go outside or even open the windows in the house.

Where does the fear of butterflies come from?

There are not many reasons for the appearance of lepidopterophobia; more often they originate from childhood. Although an adult can begin to be afraid of butterflies in adulthood.

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In childhood, while walking, a butterfly may land on a child or begin to dart in front of his face. The child may not like the feeling of small paws and wings. Either the baby will watch the spectacle with curiosity, or he will be afraid. The rest depends on the parents, who can laugh or even scold the child for screaming and crying.

Note! It is difficult to name the root cause of a phobia, but many of them stem from childhood, so it is important that parents react correctly to a phenomenon that could frighten a child. You need to calm him down, show him that he is safe, but not scold him, much less intimidate him.

Another possibility considered for where lepidopterophobia originates is the hobby of parents or friends, i.e., an entomological collection in which people keep various insects at home, dried and pinned. This can be fatal to a child's imagination.

The third option is grandfathers, brothers and strangers who joke that butterflies bite, sting with their proboscis, drink blood, or are completely poisonous. An adult may be well aware that this is not so, but the subconscious will be restless every time at the sight of such harmless creatures.

A large night moth can be very scary for a child.

There are cases when a fully grown child did not see a large moth in the dark, collided with it, or the moth landed on the child’s hair or skin. Not understanding what kind of insect it could be, but seeing it later in the morning, the fear experienced the day before does not disappear, but rather is imprinted.

Forms of manifestation of the disease

If a person begins to be afraid of butterflies, then he tries to avoid meeting them. He no longer wants to go to his summer cottage, spend time with friends and family in nature, or visit the forest. When meeting an insect, a person who has a phobia reacts sharply to the situation, quickly disappears from sight, becomes harsh in his statements, and develops aggression.

Often, relatives and friends of a person try to understand what the phobia of fear of butterflies is called, but this is not the only insect that people with lepidopterophobia may experience fear of. Fear is caused by various types of spiders and cockroaches.

Fear of butterflies brings discomfort into the life of any person who is faced with such a problem. Such an individual is not only sensitive to his diagnosis, but also has an unstable psyche. People with lepidopterophobia have limited access to nature, which means they will not be able to restore their strength in this way.

A person may be very afraid of negative reactions from other people regarding their phobia. This causes mental suffering. He does not want to seem different from everyone else; the patient seeks to hide his diagnosis.

People with lepidopterophobia do not always seek help. Many of them are dependent on the opinions of others and would not like to become people with special needs. A fear of butterflies can accompany a person throughout his life.

How to deal with a fear of butterflies

A person can live with lepidopterophobia unless they dislike the idea of ​​outdoor recreation or invitations to butterfly exhibitions. The bottom line is that most people find it easier to accept fear than to overcome it, because the latter is usually done by “colliding” the fear “heads on.” In any case, the fight against phobia is carried out through psychotherapy sessions, less often independently.

Psychotherapy sessions

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The patient may not immediately trust his psychotherapist, which depends on the techniques used by the attending physician. Nevertheless, psychotherapy is the most effective among other methods, for example, medication or self-medication.

Note! It is very important that the patient receives the support of loved ones, since the reaction of others to the presence of lepidopterophobia as such is usually negative. Understanding and participating in the fight against fear will speed up a person’s recovery.

Psychotherapy sessions will help you understand what became the root cause of lepidopterophobia, work through fear, and gradually learn to accept the true nature of butterflies as insects that pollinate flowers, but in no way cause harm to humans. Over time, the patient will be able to perceive butterflies as they are, calmly walk down the street, visit colorful exhibitions of butterflies, offering them fruits so that they sit on a person’s hands, hair, face, and he will not experience hostility.


To self-medicate a phobia, you need enormous willpower and a motivating goal for which a person would want to get rid of fears of butterflies. He should start by studying the insect: how it lives, what it eats, and make sure that butterflies are not dangerous to people. You need to look at images of insects; you can purchase coloring books and apply bright colors to the picture. It doesn’t hurt to watch television to see a lot of butterflies, then you can start making personal contact.

Coloring pages with images of butterflies will help in self-medication of phobias

Lepidopterophobia is the fear of butterflies and moths, sometimes part of a general phobia of insects. Usually occurs due to an unsuccessful first contact or against the background of jokes from others that the butterfly stings or its proboscis is poisonous. Accompanied by irritability, hostility, and sometimes panic attacks. Depending on the willpower of the patient, the phobia is treated for more or less time.


Psychotherapists advise following a few tips that can make life much easier for those who are afraid of butterflies. First of all, you need to think positively. You shouldn’t imagine an insect attack in advance; it’s better to tune in to a pleasant wave and think about the beauty of nature.

A good way to get rid of a phobia is to play sports. Physical activity reduces the risk of a panic attack.

It is also important to constantly exchange good thoughts and impressions with people. You can talk about butterflies with other people, listen to their reasons and their stories about interaction with nature.

As soon as progress is made in overcoming a phobia, it is important to record it. To do this, it is enough to mentally pronounce victories over your own fear, encourage yourself, and tune in for the best. This is how you can overcome lepidopterophobia.

Ways to fight

Trypanophobia is very difficult to get rid of. An integrated approach is required, which consists of medical and psychotherapeutic assistance.

Treatment should begin immediately, especially if fear appears in the child.

As drug therapy, tranquilizers, sedatives, and B vitamins are prescribed. All this helps reduce the level of anxiety, restlessness and restore the normal functioning of the central nervous system.

Important! Medicines, dosages and duration of treatment are prescribed only by the attending physician. In parallel with drug treatment, psychotherapeutic therapy should be carried out.

Together with a specialist, the patient tries to identify the factor that contributed to the appearance of trypanophobia. This is important for proper treatment, since rethinking the traumatic situation will help get rid of the phobia

In parallel with drug treatment, psychotherapeutic treatment should be carried out. Together with a specialist, the patient tries to identify the factor that contributed to the appearance of trypanophobia

This is important for proper treatment, since rethinking the traumatic situation will help get rid of the phobia

Help a child

Parents do not always understand what needs to be done with their child in a given situation. If he complains about something scary, you need to listen carefully. Sometimes acting out scenes with toys, where the baby acts as a doctor, helps.

It is advisable that the therapy be conducted by a child psychologist. Using various projective techniques, he will identify the cause of the appearance of pathological fear. Art therapy, fairytale therapy and sometimes psychodrama are used as treatment.

Parents should create a favorable emotional environment at home. Nothing should irritate the child, frighten him, or cause him to experience mood swings. Be sure to follow a daily routine, since adequate sleep and nutrition ensure the correct functioning of the nervous system.

You should not try to change your child with threats. It is impossible to rationally explain to him how not to be afraid of injections. Aggression from adults will cause even greater negativism.

Self-help techniques

In some cases, a person does not have the opportunity to undergo long-term courses of psychotherapy. Then he can use some tricks that will help him cope with a panic attack.

Regular breathing exercises help reduce anxiety levels

As soon as anxiety begins to take hold of the patient, he needs to start breathing deeply and slowly

At this time, it is important to forcibly switch thoughts to something neutral. For example, on declension of irregular English verbs or multiplication of three-digit numbers in the mind

If panic sets in during an appointment with a doctor, then you should not look at the injection. It's better to turn away or close your face. When placing an IV, you need to distract yourself from what is happening: read a book or list something in your mind.

You can come up with a reward system for completing medical procedures. For example, for each injection you can buy a cake or a cute souvenir. Such rewards help to switch from negative perceptions.

Taking mild sedatives may help, but such a drug should only be prescribed by the attending physician.

It is impossible to say unequivocally how to stop being afraid of injections. Each case requires an individual approach; treatment can take up to several years. Such a phobia can seriously complicate life; a person with it will not go to the doctor. As a result, he will miss the onset of a serious illness

Therefore, it is important to treat trypanophobia right away.

Stages of development of trypophobia

We can roughly distinguish four stages in the development of trypophobia:

  1. Healthy people who do not suffer from a phobia of holes do not experience any discomfort from contemplating soap suds, an empty ripe sunflower inflorescence, or a cut-away bar of aerated chocolate. But an image created in a photo editor of a large number of round ulcers with an even contour on the skin, like trypophobia, can cause unpleasant sensations. If a healthy person has recently experienced severe stress, such a picture can leave its mark on the psyche.
  2. The situation will be aggravated by watching a horror film with a plot development based on the danger lurking inside the cluster holes or closely related to them. Impressionable people will not quickly forget the emotional shock they received and will react ambiguously to an enlarged image of a simple dishwashing sponge.
  3. The weakened nervous system of a patient with trypophobia will not allow him to study the lotus flower after blooming. When the petals fall from the inflorescence, only the ripe fruit remains - a surface with almost two dozen holes in which the seeds are stored. For patients with the third stage of phobia, this sight horrifies, creates panic, and worsens their well-being.
  4. The fourth stage of fear of holes is the most difficult. It is this that is recognized by doctors as a disease and is subject to drug treatment with a long recovery period. People with this mental disease, when encountering porous structures, may lose consciousness and experience panic attacks. A skin rash is also often observed as a reaction to an irritant.

How a reaction may appear to an image of a cluster of holes

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