Bufonophobia: symptoms, causes and treatment

The bufonophobia is excessive and irrational fear of toads. The word bufonophobia comes from the Latin bufo (toad) and the Greek phobia (fear). This phobia is different in each person in that the thought patterns (memories in the form of images, movies, sounds or dialogues) that are internally associated with the toads are different in each person.

However, symptoms such as uncontrolled anxiety, the inability to act normally due to it or the feeling that you must do everything possible to avoid the toads, are shared by most bufonophobes.

How to distinguish between fear and phobia?

Fear is an emotion that is often experienced when the safety or well-being of the person is threatened, and is generally considered a rational response to something that is threatening.

A person with a phobia can recognize that the person, animal or thing that causes fear is not a threat and is unlikely to hurt him. However, he is unable to overcome fear without help.


For example, most people experience fear when faced with a dog that is growling, barking, or foaming at the mouth. However, a person who is afraid to approach any dog ​​(even if tied, behind a fence or sleeping), as well as the barking of a dog in the distance, probably has a phobia of dogs or cynophobia.


Phobias can develop at any stage of life, and although it is not known what is the exact cause that causes them, if it is known that their appearance is due to the combination of different factors (learning, genetics and traumatic events).

  • Learning : Children tend to develop phobias that their family members (especially their parents) have. They can acquire behaviors that their parents perform after having observed their anxious responses when they come into contact with certain people, objects or situations.
  • Genetics : It has been shown that some people are born with a tendency to be more anxious than others. However, this does not allow predicting what type of phobia will develop, or even if it will develop some. It is just a risk factor.
  • Traumatic events : Stressful or traumatic events can cause people to be afraid of certain objects or situations that remind them of such events. Other times the child receives threatening information related to an object or a situation, which can cause the appearance of an intense fear towards them. For example, if an adult warns of the danger of approaching a dog in the street, the child may develop a phobia towards them.

Among the possible causes of bufofophobia we can find the fact that there are toads that are poisonous. For example, the giant toad emits a type of poison that can kill both people and animals. Because of this people tend to generalize assuming that all toads are poisonous.

The toad encastado can be another possible cause of this type of phobia. Even though the toad is really a lizard, it has an appearance that makes people frightened when they see it, or simply by thinking about it.

The association that exists between this type of amphibian and witchcraft may be another reason for the appearance of bufofophobia. In this type of esoteric practices the toads were used in potions in which supposedly it was converted to the person who took it in said animal as a form of punishment. Therefore, those who have these beliefs can develop an intense fear of toads.

Finally, this type of phobia can be preceded by another that is widespread, such as ranidaphobia (phobia of frogs). When the sense of fear or fear is attributed to the batrachians in general, without distinguishing between species or subspecies, it is called batraciofobia.


The symptoms of bufofophobia can be mental, emotional or physical. Next we are going to establish a classification attending to this division, separating therefore the mental, emotional and physical symptoms:

Mental symptoms

  • Obsessive thoughts : The person suffering from bufonophobia can not stop thinking about toads, or anything related to them, and does so involuntarily, so they are egodistonic (which produce discomfort when conflicting with the needs of the “I”)
  • Difficulty thinking about anything other than phobia:  Obsessive thoughts make it very difficult for the buffophobic to focus his thoughts on any other.
  • Images or mental films related to toads : Often appear mental images related to toads, either in the form of static photographs such as the image of a toad, or in the form of a memory of a situation, real or imagined, in which appear toads or elements related to them (parts of a toad, a pond, etc.).
  • Feelings of unreality or discorporation of the self:  It is a sensation that occurs, for example, as a way of escape in a phobic situation, and in which the person who suffers feels away from the reality of the stressful moment and, therefore, , there is a disconnection between the body and the mind.
  • Fear of losing control or “going crazy” : It is common in people with some type of phobia to have this symptom, since the irrational fear that this entails can make people believe that the phobia is something external to them. they and that, therefore, can not control it.
  • Fear of fainting : Exposure to the phobic object can lead to levels of anxiety so high that it can lead to fading. Therefore, one of the reasons for avoidance or escape from the phobic situation is the fear of suffering a loss of consciousness or fainting.

Emotional symptoms

  • Anticipatory anxiety : It is the persistent worry that occurs before the possible appearance of a situation in which the phobic stimulus appears, in this case a toad. The person anticipates the emotional reaction that would have if the phobic situation occurred, which entails a high physiological activation that manifests itself in the form of sweating, labored breathing or a number of high pulsations, among others.
  • Terror : It is the persistent and overwhelming fear that invades the person especially when faced with the object of their phobia.
  • Desires to flee:  Also called escape, is the instinctive need to flee from the situation, whether real or imagined.
  • Other feelings : To a greater or lesser extent, the bufonophobe experiences feelings of anger, sadness, fear, hurt or guilt as a result of his phobia, which causes significant discomfort in his daily life.

Physical symptoms

  • Dizziness, tremors and palpitations of the head
  • Breathy breath and choking sensation
  • Palpitations in the chest and acceleration of the pulse
  • Pectoral pain or discomfort
  • Excessive sweating
  • Nausea and gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Sensation of instability, excitement and fainting
  • Hot flashes or chills


The best way to treat any type of phobia is with an early diagnosis, since repetitive avoidance behaviors often generate greater discomfort in the individual’s daily life. Therefore, when the normal behavior of the person is affected, professional help is the most appropriate.

In addition, depending on the complexity of the phobia, the type of therapy will vary. In the case of phobias simpler or less rooted in the subject, exposure to the phobic object is the best form of treatment. On the other hand, more complex phobias require more time and effort on the part of the patient, and the techniques used can vary.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy

One of the most used in this type of case is cognitive-behavioral therapy . This type of therapy helps patients to reconsider the way in which they process stressful events, in turn providing new, more constructive ways of dealing with the anxiety that such events cause them.

In addition, cognitive-behavioral therapists encourage their patients to look for possible causes of their anxiety, so that their response can shed some light on the origin of the phobia in question.

Another type of treatment very used is that of group therapy. This type of therapy consists of the meeting of a group of people who have similar problems, in this case related to a phobia.

The main advantage of this type of therapy lies in the fact that the members of the group motivate each other during and after the sessions, and it serves as a support in that they share their problems with people who understand what they are doing. they are happening

Finally, in some cases the treatment of phobias includes a combination of medication and therapy. The three main types of medications that are prescribed to treat the anxiogenic aspects related to phobias are antidepressants, beta-blockers and tranquilizers, as well as medications that regulate serotonin levels in the brain.

Also Read: 10 Side Effects of Quitting Smoking (and how to treat them)

In short, treatments for phobias are a gradual and controlled way to reduce anxiety and help people to develop new ways of thinking and behaving that promotes well-being and vital fulfillment.

Other phobias related to animals

Zoophobia is intense fear or phobia towards any animal species. However, as we have seen, phobia usually is related to a specific animal, receiving different names depending on it. Therefore, below we will present a list of those phobias related to animals.

  • Apiphobia: Phobia to bees
  • Ornithophobia: Bird phobia
  • Ailurophobia : Phobia to cats
  • Ichthyophobia : Fish phobia
  • Entomophobia: Insect phobia
  • Musophobia: Phobia to mice
  • Ophidiofobia: Snake phobia
  • Arachnophobia: Snake phobia
  • Helmintofobia: Phobia to worms

12 Curiosities related to other types of phobias

  • Papafobia: There is a striking phobia that is fear of the Pope.
  • Number of phobias: There is some debate about the number of phobias that exist in reality. Currently, the scientific community has recognized around 400 different phobias.
  • Hexakosioihexekontahexafobia: This phobia of extravagant name is panic number 666 and everything related to it.
  • Nomophobia: The increasing use of mobile phones has led to the appearance of an irrational fear of losing the mobile phone or running out of signal.
  • Anatidaefobia: There is a phobia that anytime and anywhere a duck is watching or chasing you.
  • Historical figures with phobias: Historical figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte, Alexander the Great, Adolf Hitler or Benito Mussolini have shared the fear of cats or ailurophobia.
  • Didaskaleinophobia: It is the panic that many children have to go to school.
  • Fobophobia: It is the phobia to have a phobia.
  • Caliginephobia: It is the name by which the phobia is known to approach or relate to attractive women.
  • Cenosillicaphobia: It’s the fear of having an empty beer glass.
  • Cherophobia: It is the irrational fear of being happy because of the panic that something sad happens later. It is very characteristic in the elderly.
  • Filophobia: It is the fear of being in love for fear that love will fail.