Understanding Phobias and Fears What are Phobias? Phobias are an overwhelming and irrational fear of either an Activity Animal Feeling Object Person Place or Situation It can occur even when it is something that poses no actual threat to you, and you don’t even need to be in its presence for it to cause you…
Understanding Phobias and Fears
What are Phobias?
Phobias are an overwhelming and irrational fear of either an
- Place or
It can occur even when it is something that poses no actual threat to you, and you don’t even need to be in its presence for it to cause you feelings of extreme fear and anxiety. Just seeing a picture or hearing a related noise or smell or seeing a photo of it, can be enough to trigger a reaction.
Fear is a normal and healthy response, it’s your body’s way of warning you of an imminent threat or danger and it should not to be confused with phobias or irrational fears, which can be extremely debilitating and demoralising. They can leave you feeling like they’re taking over your life.
There are too many phobias to list but a few of the more common ones are
- Agoraphobia – Fear of a place from which escape could prove difficult i.e. open spaces or crowded spaces
- Arachnophobia – Fear of spiders and insects
- Claustrophobia – Fear of being trapped in a confined space
- Cynophobia – Fear of dogs
- Acrophobia – Fear of heights
- Aerophobia – Fear of flying
- Thanatophobia – Fear of death
- Ailurophobia – Fear of cats
- Odontophobia – Fear of the dentist
- Emetophobia – Fear of vomiting
- Feeling physically sick
- A sudden urge to use the toilet
- Feeling faint or light headed
- Tightness in the chest
- Finding it hard to breathe
- Your heart racing
- Tingling sensations in your body
- Feelings of detachment
- Feeling like you’re losing control
- Worrying your losing your mind
- Thinking you’re about to die
- An overwhelming desire to escape your situation
- Being overcome by feelings of anxiety and panic
- Knowing your feelings are irrational but being unable to control them
People with phobias can find themselves changing their routines and entire lives to try and avoid putting themselves in a position that will trigger them. It can be extremely stressful and have a negative impact on your work, friendships, family life and personal relationships. This can make you feel worse as you worry people might laugh at the subject of your phobia and dismiss your feelings, not appreciating how badly it affects you. You might find your behaviour changing in some of the following ways in an attempt to avoid triggering your phobia and gaining control.
- Radically changing travel plans to avoid a certain place or mode of transport
- Socialising less as you fear people’s reaction
- Avoiding heights or confined or open spaces
- Avoiding medical appointments
- Avoiding people or specific places
Self help for phobias can prove difficult as it includes desensitisation and while people may be able to do this with help, they can resist trying to do it themselves as it can be overwhelming. The more you try however, the more in control you will start to feel. You can find online help guides, and remember phobias are common and highly treatable which you should find reassuring.
If you do decide to seek help therapies such as exposure and desensitisation therapy as well as counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, and hypnotherapy are all available to help.
Written by Jan, Jeana and Wendy at Barnsley Hypnosis and Counselling (UK). For more free information click above link.