Phobia's are one of the most common mental health difficulties in the world. Virtually any object can become a fear object or phobia. A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder that causes an individual to experience extreme, irrational fear about a situation, living creature, place, or object. When a person has a phobia, they will often shape their lives to avoid what they consider to be dangerous. The imagined threat is greater than any actual threat posed by the cause of terror.
Three main categories of phobia exist:
- Fears of the natural environment
- Fears related to animals
- Fear related to medical treatments or issues
- Fears related to specific situations
This can be further broken down into three situational variances of phobia's:
Specific phobia: This is an intense, irrational fear of a specific trigger.
Social phobia, or social anxiety: This is a profound fear of public humiliation and being singled out or judged by others in a social situation. The idea of large social gatherings is terrifying for someone with social anxiety. It is not the same as shyness.
Agoraphobia: This is a fear of situations from which it would be difficult to escape if a person were to experience extreme panic, such being in a lift or being outside of the home. It is commonly misunderstood as a fear of open spaces but could also apply to being confined in a small space, such as an elevator, or being on public transport. People with agoraphobia have an increased risk of panic disorder.
Phobias are highly treatable, and people who have them are nearly always aware of their disorder. This helps diagnosis a great deal.
If the phobia does not cause severe problems, most people find that simply avoiding the source of their fear helps them stay in control. Many people with specific phobias will not seek treatment as these fears are often manageable.
It is not possible to avoid the triggers of some phobias, as is often the case with complex phobias. In these cases, speaking to a mental health professional can be the first step to recovery.
Most phobias can be cured with appropriate treatment. There is no single treatment that works for every person with a phobia. Treatment needs to be tailored to the individual for it to work.
Therapy is aimed at reducing fear and anxiety symptoms and helping people manage their reactions to the object of their phobia. In overcoming your phobia, you can begin to start living at ease with yourself and the environment you are in.
Phobia's can often prevent you from travelling overseas to loved ones, or from going to family gatherings; situations that you want to be present at but just cannot do so due to the phobic interference in your life. Making the first step to overcoming your phobia is to seek the help of a doctor or mental health professional.
If you would like to discuss your options of phobia treatment, please contact me today.