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Unread July 31st, 2006, 01:04 AM
Anthony Murphy Anthony Murphy is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1
Default Re: Fear of cockroaches in 12 yr old girl

This a very old thread but I am curious about some details. The cockroach presents some particular problems in what is a traditional code of the amygdala, namely "fight or flight."
Firstly roaches inhabit our homes and therefore flight is impossible, we must eradicate the threat or live with it. As already discussed, revulsion is a normal response to them. The continued existence of some threats can make us used to them, but others at intermittent levels can exaggerate the effects over time. During WW2, reports from England found that bombing affected peoples` mental health more when it was intermittent (Living Through the Blitz-Tom Harrisson.) They appear suddenly in many cases. Further, the roach was in this girl`s shoe, she had physical contact with it.
Secondly, roaches are very tough, and have evolved over time to be very fast. They cannot always simply be squished, so the attempt to kill them is protracted. This would lead to a higher level of stress than than of killing a spider, for example.
Details are lacking, but the length of this case and it`s intensity are unusual of course, but at what point should we disregard the practical solution of buying a good insect killer, and start looking for psychological techniques?
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Unread August 11th, 2006, 02:47 PM
James Pretzer James Pretzer is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 283
Default Re: Fear of cockroaches in 12 yr old girl

In this case, one reason to look for psychological techniques rather than buying a can of insecticide is because of the child's goals. She wants to overcome her fear/disgust reaction to roaches. Psychological techniques have an excellent chance of accomplishing this. If she wanted to kill roaches, a can of bug spray would be a much better investment.

Also, the problem isn't an infestation of roaches, it's her overreaction when she does encounter a roach or when she anticipates encountering one. Bug spray is good for the former problem but not the latter one.
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