Ichthyophobia is the fear of fish. Although the term technically refers to a specific phobia, in many contexts it may refer to any kind of fear of fish, such as fear of eating fish, or fear of dead fish. Galeophobia is a subtype of ichthyophobia specifically focused on one species: sharks. [http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=12519 Galeophobia] in medical dictionary.] [http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/galeophobia Galeophobia] in Wiktionary.]


Ichthyophobia is an intense and persistent fear of fish, described in "Psychology: An International Perspective" as an "unusual" specific phobia.Michael W. Eysenck. "Psychology: An International Perspective", Psychology Press, 2004, p839, ISBN 184169360X] The "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM IV) classifies it as as a fear that the individual who holds it recognizes as excessive. Both symptoms and remedies of ichthyophobia are common to most specific phobias.

John B. Watson, a renowned name of behaviorism, describes an example, quoted in many books in psychology, of conditioned fear of a goldfish in an infant and a way of unconditioning of the fear by what is called now graduated exposure therapy: [John B. Watson (1929) [http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Watson/Battle/watson.htm "Behaviorism - The Modern Note in Psychology"] ]

In contrast, radical exposure therapy was used successfully to cure a man with a "life affecting" fish phobia on the 2007 documentary series, "The Panic Room". Tryst Williams. Man cured of 'life affecting' fish phobia. "Western Mail", 18 April 2007]

Cultural phenomenon

Historically, the Navajo people were described as being ichthyophobic,Washington Matthews. Ichthyophobia, "The Journal of American Folklore", Vol. 11, No. 41 (1898), pp. 105-112] William H. Lyon. The Navajos in the American Historical Imagination, 1868-1900, "Ethnohistory", Vol. 45, No. 2 (1998), pp. 237-275] due to their aversion to fish. However, this was later recognised as a cultural or mythic aversion to aquatic animals,Howard M. Bahr. "The Navajo as Seen by the Franciscans, 1898-1921: A Sourcebook". Scarecrow Press, 2004, ISBN 0810849623] and not a psychological condition.

Fear of eating fish

The "Journal of the American Medical Association" have published a research paper [Dariush Mozaffarian, Eric B. Rimm, "Fish Intake, Contaminants, and Human Health. Evaluating the Risks and the Benefits", "Journal of the American Medical Association", 2006, vol. 296, pp 1885-1899.
* [http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/press-releases/2006-releases/press10172006.html "New Study Shows the Benefits of Eating Fish Greatly Outweigh the Risks"] - an overview of the publication by Mozaffarian and Rimm in a press release by the Harvard School of Public Health
] addressing the fears of eating fish [ [http://www.seafoodandhealth.org/index.php?section=20&id=264 "Time-Tested Guidelines for Eating Seafood"] , a presentation by Jane Brody (Personal Health Columnist, "The New York Times") at the 2005 Seafood & Health Conference, where she coined her own term for fear of fish: "pescaphobia," from Latin for "fish"] because contaminants, such as mercury may be accumulated in fish.

Cases of ichthyophobia

In his autobiography, Italian footballer Paolo Di Canio describes finding that his then team-mate, Peter Grant suffered from ichthyophobia. During a practical joke, Di Canio describes Grant's fearful reaction after finding a salmon head in his bed.Paolo Di Canio. "Paolo Di Canio: The Autobiography," Harper Collins, 2001, ISBN 0007115989] Grant told "The Independent" that item in his bed was in fact a "shark's head" and "to say I got a fright when I put my feet between the sheets is an understatement."Ronald Atkin. Grant ready with his shark riposte, "The Independent", November 19, 2006. ]


External links

* [http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/health/healthmain.html?in_article_id=449076&in_page_id=1774 "How I overcame my fish phobia"]

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