What is Phobia?
Phobias are overwhelming and sometimes unreasonable fears of objects or situations. The term phobia is often used to describe a frightening situation triggered by something.
This condition is classified as an anxiety disorder, but is usually associated with something more specific.
If you have a phobia you may feel fear and panic when you see, hear, or feel of an object, a place, or a situation.
People who have a phobia may realize their fear is unreasonable, yet but they cannot do anything about it. Such fears will certainly have an impact on daily activities, such as school, work, and personal relationships.
Understanding your phobia is the first step in overcoming it. It is important to know that a phobia is a common fear — it does not mean that having a phobia means that you are not normal. Note that phobias can be treated, which means you can overcome your anxieties and fears.
Types of Phobias
According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), there are several types of phobias, including:
- Specific phobias are an overwhelming and persistent fear of a certain object, situation, or activity that pose little real danger. People with specific phobias are aware that their fear is overwhelming, but they are unable to overcome it. For example, fear of flying high or fear of bees.
- Social phobias are a significant disorder of anxiety and discomfort from being humiliated, rejected, or looked down on in social life. People with social phobia will do their best to avoid the situation or try to fight it with anxiety. For example, extreme fear of speaking in public or meeting new people.
- Agoraphobia is the fear of being in a situation where the sufferer cannot escape. This fear is not equivalent to the actual situation and usually lasts 6 months or more. Agoraphobia sufferers usually experience fear if they are in open spaces, in closed spaces, outdoors alone, or using public transportation.
Both Agoraphobia and social phobias are included in the category of complex phobias, as they can affect the well-being and daily activities of the sufferer. In severe cases, agoraphobia sufferers rarely leave the house.
Other Types of Phobias
A person may dislike certain situations or objects, but phobias are when a person’s fears interfere with their daily lives. Below are some of the most common types of phobias:
- Aquaphobia is the fear of water.
- Emetophobia is the fear of vomiting.
- Cynophobia is the fear of dogs.
- Ophidiophobia is the fear of snakes.
- Zoophobia is the fear of animals.
- Aviophobia is the fear of flying.
- Acrophobia is the fear of heights.
- Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders.
- Driving phobia is the fear of driving a car.
- Glossophobia is the fear of speaking in front of an audience.
- Hemophobia is the fear of seeing blood or injury.
- Nyctophobia is the fear of night or darkness.
- Claustrophobia is the fear of closed and cramped spaces.
- Dentophobia is the fear of dentists or procedures involving teeth.
Causes of Phobias
Phobias have different symptoms than serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Genetic and environmental factors may cause phobias. This happens to children who have families with anxiety disorders, which puts them at risk of developing phobias. Phobias may be triggered by sad events, being trapped in tight spaces, extreme heights, and being bitten by animals.
People with medical conditions or health problems often experience phobias. There are many people who develop phobias after they have a traumatic brain injury. Substance abuse and depression are also linked to the causes of phobias.
When to See a Doctor for Phobias
You do not have to worry if your phobia does not affect your quality of life, but you should ask your doctor for help when your phobia gets in the way of doing the things you should love. Consider getting treatment if you:
- Feel significantly depressed.
- Have to avoid certain situations and places because of your phobia.
- Had a phobia for six months or longer
- Your phobia causes irrational fear, anxiety, and panic.
- You have realized that the fear you feel is excessive and doesn’t make sense.
To diagnose a phobia, your doctor may ask a number of clinical questions about your symptoms and ask about your medical, psychiatric, and social history.
Symptoms of Phobias
Symptoms of phobias can range from feelings of mild anxiety to panic attacks. Usually the closer you are to the source of the phobia, the greater the fear you will feel.
Here are some of the physical symptoms of phobias:
- Shaking or trembling
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain or shortness of breath
- Rapid heartbeat
- Chills and tingling sensation.
Symptoms of phobias that involve emotions include:
- Feeling like running away.
- Feeling yourself is not real.
- Fear of not being able to control yourself.
- Feeling very anxious or panicked.
- Feeling like you’re about to die or pass out.
- Knowing that you are overreacting, but cannot do anything to control your fear.
Treatment for Phobias
Phobias can be treated through treatment method, therapy, or a combination of both. It is best to discuss with your doctor about what phobia treatment option is best for you.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) is a therapeutic treatment most commonly used to treat phobias. This treatment is performed to reduce anxiety by identifying and modifying negative thoughts, dysfunctional beliefs, and negative reactions to the source of the phobia.
Your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant that can help calm physical and psychological reactions to the source of the phobia. Additionally, your doctor may combine medication and therapy to help get rid of your phobias.
Treatment Cost for Phobias
Treatment cost for phobia may vary depending on the phobia treatment method recommended by your doctor.
To find out the estimated cost phobia treatment at home and abroad, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Phobias
If you have certain phobias, you should consider getting immediate psychological help, especially if you have children. Although phobias can be due to genetics factor, children may react differently when they see someone having irrational fear.
By overcoming your own fear, you are teaching your child to dare to face and fight their fears.
Home Remedies for Phobias
Follow the recommendations given by your doctor, such as living a healthy lifestyle and other strategies to control your anxiety.
- Relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or yoga can help you deal with anxiety and stress.
- Physical activity and exercises can help you control your anxiety associated with the source of the phobia.
- Mindfulness strategy can help you in learning how to control anxiety and reduce avoidance behavior.
Have more questions about phobias? Write in the comment section below. You can also get tele-consultations with doctors from hospitals at home and abroad through Smarter Health.