Treatments for Equinophobia
Specific adult phobias often times increase in severity over time, and do not go away by themselves. However, there are a number of options that may help patients overcome their fear of horses. The following options are the most effective treatments for equinophobia.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the most commonly offered therapies for patients with phobias. CBT focuses on patient's fears and why they exist and ultimately challenges the thought processes behind those fears. CBT has been shown to be highly effective with regards to specific phobias, including equinophobia.
Systematic desensitization, or exposure therapy, focuses on gradually acclimating patients to their phobias. The first step may involve thinking about horses, then looking at pictures of horses. Once the patient is more comfortable with those images, they may proceed to meeting a horse, touching a horse, and finally riding a horse. Systematic desensitization has been shown to be highly effective for treating equinophobia.
Many patients with specific phobias use anti-anxiety medication or beta blockers to treat their symptoms. However, these are only temporary solutions and are not effective over the long term. In addition, because encounters with horses may be difficult to predict, medication is usually not prescribed without accompanying therapy.
Equinophobia can be a debilitating disorder if not recognized and treated by a licensed professional.