A Comprehensive Overview of Phobias and Their Treatment
Fear is important for humans and animals because it compels us to run away from danger or avoid it at all costs. However, some people may have seemingly unusual fears, commonly referred to phobias, at some point in their lives or throughout their lives. These specific fears are of certain situations or particular things. Items associated with these things or situations can trigger a frightened, nervous and erratic state in these people. Society, in general, wrongfully brushes off these fears as irrational or unwarranted but this is not the case.
People with such fears exhibit numerous symptoms when exposed to things or situations that are the subject of their phobias. For example, these people may exhibit the following symptoms: anxiety, hyperventilation, helplessness, sweating, heightened heart rate and/or feelings of terror. Many of these people try to avoid situations or things associated with their phobias while others may try to endure them. Those that try to endure them do so with great difficulty.
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The Main Categories of Specific Fears & Phobias
These specific fears are so many that people often say that there is a phobia for everything and every situation. Fortunately, we can categorize these seemingly infinite phobias into five main categories. Here are the main categories of phobias.
- The fear of animals e.g. cats, elephants and/or monkeys among other animals.
- The fear of situations that go against nature such as climbing a very tall building
- The fear of medical procedures or situations e.g. wounds, surgery, needles etc.
- The fear or certain activities including going to school, driving or crossing a bridge among others
- Other cases of fear e.g. the fear of loud sounds
Symptoms of Phobias
As mentioned earlier, people with phobias suffer from numerous symptoms when exposed to things or situations that induce their fears. These symptoms can be mild, extreme or even life threatening. They increase in intensity with continuous exposure to the situation or things causing the phobia. The intensity of the symptoms also depends on the relative ease with which you can escape your predicament. The harder the escape then the more intense the symptoms will be.
It is important for you to note that symptoms of phobias can be physical as well as emotional. The physical symptoms include the following: sweating, fatigue, dizziness, hot flushes, trembling, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, choking sensation, tightness in the chest, churning stomach and/or a sensation of butterflies in the stomach.
Here are the emotional symptoms of phobias.
- A destabilizing feeling of anxiety and great panic
- An intense need to run away from the subject of your fears
- A detached feeling from your physical self
- The fear of losing control over your actions and thoughts
- The fear of passing away or becoming immobile in one way or the other
- A feeling of resentment towards the routine or person that caused you to be in the predicament you are in
Seeking Treatment for Phobias
You should consider treatment for your phobias because having these fears is not a natural state of human existence. You should only fear things that pose a danger to you or your loved ones. The fear of objects or situations that cannot affect you will only cause you to live a life of constant worry. For example, you should not run away every time you see a chameleon or have a panic attack every time you are in a huge crowd. You can learn to let go of these inhibitions through proper treatment and supervision.
Remember, your daily routine should not be subject to external factors such as phobias because such factors may interfere with your ability to live a normal life. For instance, your boss may not understand why you refuse to go to handle certain materials. Your family members especially your children may also need help when it comes to overcoming certain fears e.g. riding an escalator but your fear of the same situations would cause them to continue developing unwarranted fears as well.
Treatment for Phobias
Phobias are complex and so is their treatment. This treatment depends on several factors such as insurance cover, the support required and the severity of the phobia. Professional therapy is a great option and, with the right therapist, it can work fast and has a great record of accomplishment … but it doesn’t come cheap!
Self-help treatment is something that should also be considered – these days there are many self help treatment courses, resources and options that are proven to work. Sure they’ll take time and commitment from you but, follow them correctly and the results can be amazing – check out our recommendations: