Helminthophobia, scoleciphobia or vermiphobia is the fear of worms, especially parasitic worms. The sight of a worm, or anything that looks like a worm, may cause someone with this phobia to have extreme anxiety or even panic attacks.
Classification of disease
According to the DSM-IV TR, scoleciphobia is a disorder that would be classified as Specific Phobia of the animal type. This particular subtype of Specific Phobias generally has a childhood onset and persists through adulthood. Specific Phobia has a prevalence rate of 5.1 to 12.5% according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Individuals with this disorder typically recognize that their fear is excessive and/or unreasonable. However, in spite of this, one may lead a restricted lifestyle and find the fear debilitating. Those with Specific Phobias have been known to go to great lengths to avoid certain activities due to the possibility of coming into contact with the feared stimuli. This fear can range from a mild fear response in the presence of real worms to panic-like symptoms induced by a picture of worms.
It appears that family members of a person diagnosed with Specific Phobia have an increased risk of developing the disorder. Particularly, first-degree biological relatives of person with Specific Phobias, Animal type, are more likely than the general population to have animal phobias.
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