What is a Phobia?
A Phobia is an intense fear of something that, in reality, poses little or no actual danger. Common fears are closed in spaces, heights, Driving, insect’s snakes and needles. However, people can developed phobias of virtually anything. Most phobias start in childhood but they can also develop in adulthood.
If you have a fear of something you probably know that it is unreasonable yet you cannot control your feelings. Just thinking about the object or situation can make you anxious. Some people get so anxious they develop panic attacks. It can be very distressing and overwhelming. So people go to great lights to avoid their phobias, and this can mean changing you lifestyle and not doing things you would love to do. An example of this would be the fear of flying. You would love to visit lovely places, but you don’t go.
It’s important to know that phobias are common having one doesn’t mean you’re crazy.
Normal Fear vs phobias
It’s normal to have a fear of dangerous situations. Fear is an adaptive human response. It serves to protect you from dangers, activating the autonomic “fight or fight” response with our bodies and minds alert and ready for action.
With phobias the response is greatly exaggerated or non-existent. For example it would be natural to be afraid of a vicious snarling dog like a Doberman, but irrational to be terrified of a soft friendly poodle.
Common Types of phobias and fears;
Animal phobias-Examples fear of snakes, spiders, rodents, and dogs.
Natural Environmental – Heights, storms, water, and the dark.
Situational phobias including enclosed spaces, flying, driving, tunnels, and bridges
Blood-Injection-Injury phobia- This is the fear of blood, injury, or needles or medical procedures.
Some phobias don’t fall into those four categories. Such phobias include fear of choking, fear of getting a disease such as cancer, and fear of clowns.
Social phobia and fear of public speaking.
Social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder, is a fear of social situations where you may be embarrassed or judged. Your anxiety over how you look and what others will think may lead you to avoid certain social situations you would otherwise enjoy.
Fear of public speaking- an extremely common phobia is also a type of social phobia. Other fears in this category are eating and drinking in public, talking to strangers, taking exams, mingling at a party, and being called on in class.
Agoraphobia- This also does not fit neatly into the four categories. Traditionally thought to involve a fear of public places and or open spaces. It is now believed to have developed as a complication of panic attacks. For example you would avoid busy places such as shopping centre for fear of having a panic attack and people seeing this. So to avoid you stay at home where you feel safe.
Signs and symptoms of a phobia
The symptoms of a phobia can range from mild feelings of apprehension and anxiety to a full blown panic attack. Typically the nearer you are to the thing you’re afraid of, the greater your anxiety. Your fear will be higher if the getting away is difficult.
Physical signs of a phobia
Difficulty breathing, Racing Heart, Chest tightness, shaking, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, a churning stomach, hot or cold feelings, tingling sensations, sweating.
Feeling overwhelming anxiety or panic, Feeling intense need to escape, feeling unreal or detached from yourself, fear of losing control or going crazy, feeling you’re going to die or pass out, knowing your overreacting but feeling powerless to control your fear.
Symptoms of blood-injection-injury phobia
These symptoms are slightly different from other phobias. When confronted with the sight of blood or needle, you experience not only fear, but also disgust.
Like other phobias, you initially feel anxious as your heart speeds up. However, unlike other phobias, this acceleration is followed by a quick drop in blood pressure, which leads to nausea, dizziness, and fainting. This is the only phobia where fainting can occur.
When to seek help for phobias and fears
If your phobia does not impact on your life very much, it’s properly nothing to be concerned about. But if avoidance of the object, activity, or situation that triggers your phobia interferes with your normal functioning, or keeps you from doing things you would otherwise enjoy. It’s time to seek help.
Using NLP techniques which are quick and easy such as the Fast Phobia Cure. The Swish Method combined with Hypnotherapy can help people take control of their lives.