A phobia is an excessive and irrational fear reaction. If you have a phobia, you may experience a deep sense of dread or panic when you encounter the source of your fear. The fear can be of a certain place, situation, or object. Unlike general anxiety disorders, a phobia is usually connected to something specific.
APPOTEK can help with phobias.
Genetic and environmental factors can cause phobias. Children who have a close relative with an anxiety disorder are at risk of developing a phobia. Distressing events, such as nearly drowning, can bring on a phobia. Exposure to confined spaces, extreme heights, and animal or insect bites can all be sources of phobias.
People with ongoing medical conditions or health concerns often have phobias. There’s a high incidence of people developing phobias after traumatic brain injuries. Substance abuse and depression are also connected to phobias.
Parents can also transmit fears to their children. For example, children may notice that the parent is afraid to fly and copy their behavior.
Many people dislike certain situations or objects, but to be a true phobia, the fear must interfere with daily life. The impact of a phobia can range from annoying to severely disabling. People with phobias often realize their fear is irrational, but they’re unable to do anything about it. Such fears can interfere with work, school, and personal relationships.
Here are a few more of the most common phobias:
- Agoraphobia: a fear of places or situations that you can’t escape from. The word itself refers to “fear of open spaces.” People with agoraphobia fear being in large crowds or trapped outside the home. They often avoid social situations altogether and stay inside their homes.
- Glossophobia: This is known as performance anxiety, or the fear of speaking in front of an audience. People with this phobia have severe physical symptoms when they even think about being in front of a group of people.
- Acrophobia: This is the fear of heights. People with this phobia avoid mountains, bridges, or the higher floors of buildings. Symptoms include vertigo, dizziness, sweating, and feeling as if they’ll pass out or lose consciousness.
- Claustrophobia: This is a fear of enclosed or tight spaces. Severe claustrophobia can be especially disabling if it prevents you from riding in cars or elevators.
- Aviophobia: This is also known as the fear of flying.
- Dentophobia: Dentophobia is a fear of the dentist or dental procedures. This phobia generally develops after an unpleasant experience at a dentist’s office. It can be harmful if it prevents you from obtaining needed dental care.
- Hemophobia: This is a phobia of blood or injury. A person with hemophobia may faint when they come in contact with their own blood or another person’s blood.
- Arachnophobia: This means fear of spiders.
- Cynophobia: This is a fear of dogs.
- Ophidiophobia: People with this phobia fear snakes.
When you meet or experience something you are afraid of, common physical reactions are:
- pounding or racing heartshortness of breath
- rapid speech or inability to speak
- dry mouth
- upset stomach
- elevated blood pressure
- trembling or shaking
- chest pain or tightness
- a choking sensation
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- profuse sweating
- a sense of impending doom
A phobia often makes you avoid different situations where you run the risk of meeting what you are afraid of. For example, it may be avoiding grass if you have snake phobia or always taking the stairs if you have elevator phobia. It is called avoidance behavior.
It is also common to use small tricks to deal with the fear. If you have a phobia, you may close your eyes and listen to loud music when you fly. This is called security behavior.
Using avoidance and safety behaviors means that you act as if the situation is actually dangerous. As a result, you continue to experience the situation as dangerous. You never give yourself the chance to investigate what would happen if you confronted the thing you are afraid of. As a result, you lose important insights and experiences, while the fear is reinforced and continues to dictate your actions.
Phobias in children and adolescents
Small children most commonly get phobias related to animals, syringes and thunder.
A specific phobia diagnosis is given when your fear of something is excessive and persistent over a long period of time, often six months or longer.
Treatment for phobias can involve therapeutic techniques, medications, or a combination of both.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most commonly used therapeutic treatment for phobias. It involves exposure to the source of the fear in a controlled setting. This treatment can decondition people and reduce anxiety.
The therapy focuses on identifying and changing negative thoughts, dysfunctional beliefs, and negative reactions to the phobic situation. New CBT techniques use virtual reality technology to expose people to the sources of their phobias safely.
Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can help calm emotional and physical reactions to fear. Often, a combination of medication and professional therapy is the most helpful.
Then you should seek care
Seek care if your phobia affects and limits your life.
How APPOTEK can help
You can turn to APPOTEK if you think you are suffering from a phobia and the phobia leads to limitations in everyday life.