What People Need to Know About Hylophobia: The Fear of the Woods

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What People Need to Know About Hylophobia: The Fear of the Woods

trauma can trigger hylophobia/ Photo By Zack Frank via Shutterstock


Hylophobia is described as the fear of the woods or forests. It is derived from the Greek terms “hylo” meaning “forests”  and “phobos” meaning “fear.” It is classified as a specific phobia according to common-phobias.com.



Many factors can trigger a person to have Hylophobia. Massivephobia.com states that these include:


Since Hylophobia is considered a specific or isolated phobia, it focuses more on non-social factors. It may be linked to negative past experiences such as childhood trauma, such as being injured by their source of fear. In this case, they may have had experienced being scarred by branches of trees or may have been attacked by a forest animal at a young age.

Fear of the unknown

The thought of being in a forest and not knowing what will happen can make them apprehensive, especially at night where it may appear frightening. In a dimly lit environment, the branches of trees can project terrifying images. Seeing the shadows of moving leaves or hearing the sound of swaying branches may scare them since this kind of setting is often portrayed in horror movies and Halloween references.

Manner of upbringing

If parents have been warning them as a child to keep away from forests, it may cause them to develop this kind of phobia. Due to the constant reminder that it may pose as a threat to them, they may perceive the forest as a dangerous place.

Hereditary and genetic factors

Specific phobias like Hylophobia may be connected to one’s genetics or some hereditary factors. For example, if they are related to family members whose fight or flight response is easily activated, they may also inherit this trait.

External Experiences and reports

Being able to see a family member or a friend who suffers from Hylophobia may cause their phobia to grow even worse. Being exposed to their fear indirectly may also make them even more afraid of forests. These indirect exposures may be from overhearing other people converse about this phobia or watching other people get affected by it on the news or in the movies.

Similar to most phobias, Hylophobia has developed as part of a person’s subconscious overprotective mechanism. This may have been triggered by emotional problems they have experienced that have been left unresolved.


if parents have been warning them as a child to keep away from forests, it may cause an individual to develop hylophobia/ Photo By Jesse Seniunas via Shutterstock


Related Fears

Hylophobia is also said to be associated with other fears, but may also happen by itself. Below are some of the associated fears listed by Verywell Mind. A person who is extremely afraid of forests may also have:

Rational fears

There are individuals who are not frightened of the woods themselves, but having to enter a forest because of possible threats they perceive. A person who has other health condition may be fearful about being unable to get help from a rescuer if they become sick in the middle of a trip to the forest or if they become ill while hiking by themselves. Women and children who are often considered more defenseless may be fearful of being ambushed or attacked by another person. For residents who live in places which are known to have many cases of bear attacks or other animals, they may be afraid of encountering them. It is not a phobia if a person’s fear is based on realistic concerns.

Animal phobia

Being afraid of certain forest animals like spiders or snake can either be the cause of their Hylophobia or can increase their intense fear of the woods.

Fear of the dark

Places with many trees are known to be dark most of the time because of the tall trees that cover pathways and clearings with their shadows. This can also either add to their fear or be the root cause of it.


having an inconsistent heartbeat when in the woods  is a sign of hylophobia/ Photo By BABAROGA via Shutterstock



For every individual who has a phobia, the symptoms may vary for each of them. People who suffer from Hylophobia may feel excessively anxious and also experience a sense of dread. They may also exhibit signs of panic such as having an inconsistent heartbeat, dry mouth, being unable to express coherent words or sentences, shaking as well as shortness and rapidness of breath. They may also feel nauseous and may sweat excessively.



Plenty of treatment methods may be used by the patient who has Hylophobia. They may try practicing meditation and employ other relaxation strategies. They may also try treating their phobia with Energy Psychology which involves several techniques that can activate the energy points on their skin, and together with some psychological procedures can change the electrochemistry of the brain. Their doctor may also prescribe them medication to help reduce symptoms of anxiety.

Most of the treatment approaches suggested consists of different types of therapy such as Hypnotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Group Therapy, Psychotherapy, Response Prevention, In Vivo Exposure and Neuro-Linguistic Programming. Seeking the assistance of a therapist through undergoing these therapies may help in improving their ways of thinking and as a result, may also change their behavior in a more positive way.



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