The rodeo has a number of fans. People enjoy seeing others ride of very dangerous bulls that can otherwise turn on them and trample on them in case they fall. But this is a sport like any other and there are men who actually look forward to riding on long-horned and strong bulls. Some sportsmen have suffered from devastating injuries but the sport continues to be popular.

On the other hand, there are people who cannot stand the sight of bulls let alone people riding on them. The fear that grapples them at such sights causes them to have anxiety or panic attacks. This extreme fear of bulls is actually among the types of phobia that exist in the world.

Definition of Taurophobia

Tauro is the Greek name for a bull and as you probably know by now, a phobia is a Greek word for fear. It, therefore, follows that Taurophobia is the fear of bulls. Taurophobia is a type of specific phobia. A person suffering from Taurophobia has a fear of all varieties of bulls even those that are not part of rodeos. The sight or thought of a bull can cause severe anxiety.

Fear of cows or cattle phobia

Besides Taurophobia, there is another related phobia known as Bovinophobia which is the fear of cows. People tend to laugh at those with who fear cows yet it is quite a justifiable fear. A person who fears cows has most likely had a bad experience with cows in the past.

For example, they may have been bitten by the cow while feeding it or stepped on. Cows can be dangerous. They are not ‘innocent’ milk-producing animals as we may be tempted to believe. Sometimes, they can become overactive and cause severe injuries to those around.

The fear of cows or cattle can also develop when a person was at one time trapped in the middle of a herd of cattle and got injured in the process. Such a person will definitely have a fear of cattle because they are afraid of being trapped again.

Causes of Taurophobia

The causes of Taurophobia are a combination of factors. On one hand, we have the genetic and hereditary characteristics of an individual which make them predisposed to suffer from Taurophobia. These hereditary factors cannot be completely dealt with because they are simply genetics.

On the other hand, we have external factors which are traumatic experiences that a person had in the past. Past trauma has a way of impacting a person’s view of things. When you have an individual who has a genetic makeup that favors fears and they experience a traumatic event, then you have a person with Taurophobia.

One of the traumatic events that can cause Taurophobia is an injury from a bull. For example, being trampled, bitten or hit by a bull can lead to the development of Taurophobia. The fear can be more severe if the injury led to a permanent disability for example and injured spinal cord that rendered one paralyzed forever or an amputated leg. After this injury, a person will rightfully associate bulls with pain and will always be scared of them.

A person can also develop Taurophobia is they saw another person get injured by a bull. For example, after seeing a person get injured at a rodeo show, he or she is likely to become scared of a bull because of the injuries it can cause.

Lastly, a person can get Taurophobia if they are constantly exposed to movies that depict bulls as dangerous animals. Bulls are strong and at times can be dangerous. Movies take advantage of this by depicting them as harmful. Constant exposure to such films is likely to get a person scared of them.

There is also the common perception and myth that bulls are dangerous. Almost every child who grows up is told to avoid bulls because they are dangerous. How then will this child not develop Taurophobia?

Symptoms of Taurophobia

A person with Taurophobia will experience anxiety among other symptoms when they think or see bulls. The severity of the symptoms differs depending on the magnitude of someone’s fear of bulls. The other symptoms of Taurophobia include:

  • Severe anxiety can lead to panic attacks
  • Breathlessness
  • Rapid breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Excessive sweating
  • Shaking and trembling
  • Inability to speak coherently or articulate words properly
  • Screaming or crying

Treatment for Taurophobia

Like every other type of phobia, Taurophobia is very treatable. There are various approaches to treatment including:

Counseling

Counseling is an important form of treatment especially for a person with Taurophobia because of a traumatic event in the past. During counseling sessions, the patient is able to talk about what happened in the past and how that experience had a significant impact on his or her future. Counseling helps to deal with underlying emotional and physical trauma so that the patient can eventually overcome their fear of bulls.

Therapy

There are different kinds of therapy such as cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnotherapy. All these forms of therapy have one goal in mind, to help a patient deal with past trauma. The therapies use different approaches but they all aim at helping a patient deal with trauma and debunk any myths they have concerning bulls.

Exposure therapy

In this form of treatment, a patient is progressively exposed to bulls. First, it may be through photos and then after some time, the actual bulls. Exposure therapy is important as it helps a person develop new ways and strategies on how to deal with the symptoms of Taurophobia. In addition, this gradual exposure helps them to become more comfortable around bulls.

How to overcome Taurophobia?

First, you must seek treatment. It could be counseling or therapy. Treatment is important because it places you an inch closer to finally overcoming your fear.

Second, you must have a support system from friends and family who don’t place you in the crossfire of bulls just to see how you react but who are supportive of what you are going through.

At one point or another, everybody usually has a fear of bulls. You are not alone. Be encouraged that every fear can be overcome.