Anatidaephobia -The Fear That You are Being Watched by a Duck

Anatidaephobia is defined as a pervasive, irrational fear that one is being watched by a duck. The anatidaephobic individual fears that no matter where they are or what they are doing, a duck watches.

Anatidaephobia is derived from the Greek word “anatidae”, meaning ducks, geese or swans and “phobos”meaning fear.

What Causes Anatidaephobia?

As with all phobias, the person coping with Anatidaephobia has experienced a real-life trauma. For the anatidaephobic individual, this trauma most likely occurred during childhood.

Perhaps the individual was intensely frightened by some species of water fowl. Geese and swans are relatively well known for their aggressive tendencies and perhaps the anatidaephobic person was actually bitten or flapped at. Of course, the Far Side comics did little to minimize the fear of being watched by a duck.

While we may be tempted to smile at the memory of those comics or at the mental image of being watched by a duck, for the anatidaephobic person, that fear is uncontrollable. Whatever the cause, the anatidaephobic person can experience emotional turmoil and anxiety that is completely disruptive to daily functioning.

What Are the Symptoms of Anatidaephobia?

The symptoms of Anatidaephobia vary from person to person. Some people, when confronted with their fear, may feel slightly uncomfortable, become nauseated or begin to perspire. Others are so severely compromised by this phobia, that they experience crippling anxiety and/or panic attacks.

Other symptoms of Anatidaephobia can include:

  • A Dry Mouth
  • Gasping or Shortness of Breath
  • Muscle Tension
  • Overall Trembling
  • Hyperventilation
  • Feeling Out of Control
  • Feeling Trapped and Unable to Escape
  • Overwhelming Feeling of Impending Disaster

How Is Anatidaephobia Diagnosed?

The vast majority of cases of Anatidaephobia are self-diagnosed. The individual realizes that their fear of being watched by a duck is irrational and is severely interfering with their ability to function on a daily basis.

The anatidaephobic person may then discuss their fears with their doctor. Typically the doctor will not assign a diagnosis of Anatidaephobia based on that initial discussion. More routinely, after ruling out any physical reasons for the phobia, the doctor will refer the individual to a mental health professional for further evaluation and assessment.

How Is Anatidaephobia Treated?

When the fear that a duck is watching becomes so intense as to disrupt an individual’s daily functioning, there are a number of ways to treat Anatidaephobia. These can include:

  • Talking to the primary physician who can refer the person to a therapist who specifically treats phobias.
  • Traditional “talk” therapy that will assist the person to identify and control their fear.
  • Self-help techniques.
  • Hypnotherapy.
  • Support groups with other people coping with this phobia.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Desensitization Therapy.
  • Exposure Therapy.
  • Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation.
  • In the most extreme cases of Anatidaephobia, anti-anxiety medication can be prescribed.

Anatidaephobia is an intense, irrational fear that one is being watched by a duck. Sometimes that fear can become so intense as to completely stop a person’s ability to maintain daily functioning. Unchecked, Anatidaephobia can become a debilitating condition that interferes with the person’s social life, their personal life and job responsibilities. Untreated, Anatidaephobia touches every aspect of a person’s life.