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Scoleciphobia

 

Hot day. Working in the garden in your sandals. Moving some dirt around. Look down, and somehow, a dozen worms have dropped onto your basically barenaked feet. Oh, and they’re wriggling and crawling or whatever passes for crawling… would that be slithering?

Yes, you know worms are good for the garden, and they make robins fat, and they’re how you tell who’s the early bird, but you don’t care, because you have “Scoleciphobia,” or an irrational fear of worms. And yes, you know all fear of worms are irrational, unless you live on the planet Dune, at which point it’s perfectly rational.

People with Scoleciphobia have an extreme fear of worms, which manifests itself with nausea, elevated heart rate, and trembling. Some people feel as if the worms were crawling on them, and, can react with constant washing, much like we would see in people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

But it’s treatable with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, which often employs exposure therapy as part of its therapeutic tool kit. In exposure therapy, you might start by looking at cartoon images of a worm, graduating to real pictures, being able to stay in the same room, and, ultimately, holding one, then many worms.

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