Each day, we are confronted with fears. This is just normal. Fear is a typical response felt by a person when he encounters something that may expose his being to any threat or danger. It is a common defense mechanism which is employed against any stimulus that may pose hazard to one’s safety. More so, when fear consumes a person entirely and when it crosses the line from rational to irrational, this already becomes a phobia.
A phobia doesn’t help anyone in any way. It is an anxiety disorder that can impede daily routines or activities. Those who have phobias miss out on a lot of things because it restricts them to explore the things around them. People who have phobias are greatly mindful that these types of fears are illogical yet they just can’t afford to control it. You would know that a person experiences a phobia attack when he elicits the following symptoms: excessive sweating, nausea, racing heartbeat, difficulty breathing, trembling, and terror. More so, it’s never easy moving through this world when you are persistently scared, terrified and unaided, thus, dealing with it has been a cope-as-you-go business wherein avoidance is used and home-brew tactics are usually only stop gaps at best.
What are the General Categories of Phobia?
This type of phobia refers to the overwhelming paralyzing fear of human encounters. It deals with fear of being humiliated, embarrased, criticized or scrutinized.
This is the kind of phobia where the fear comes from the idea that evasion or getting help from a certain situation seems impossible. This might be experienced in huge crowd, while driving or just standing in line. To some level, some agoraphobics only feel safe when they are only in the comfort of their home.
This type of phobia deals with the irrational fear of a partcular object, place or situation. These are the fears that can be specifically determined, like fear of heights, closed spaces, people, and insects.
What are the Causes of Phobia?
Studies have revealed that one way or another, genetic dispositions have something to do with the development of phobias. Another reason can be that adults unknowingly teach their children to avoid or be fearful of something. Other studies have linked a part of the brain called amygdala in being responsible for the body’s response to fear.
According to the behavioral theory of Watson, fear is a learned response. We might have developed a phobia probably because of a personal encounter with a certain object or event that have caused an injury or harm to us, leading to a crucial impact on our being. Most can be attributed during the infancy stage. It might have been a dog bite, a house fire due to a lightning, a car crash and the like. So the next time the person encounters a similar scenario, he dispays an irrational fear that was brought about by a previous experience which was already carved unnoticingly in his subconscious thought. That’s why sometimes, a person can’t really figure out why he developed a fear for that certain thing.
How to deal and treat Them?
According to several scientists and clinical psychology therapists from Germany, there are different approaches that can be utilized to individuals with phobia to help them conquer it. Primarily, the method of Gradual Systematic Desensitization is employed to treat patients. This is done for six to eight hours a day by exposing the individual to his specific stimulus of fear. Say for example, a person has arachnophobia or fear of spiders. The therapist wouldn’t start by letting the person encounter a big spider. The therapist would start with a small one and later when the patient becomes accustomed to the cascading increase in the size of the spiders, the therapist would randomly vary the size of it from day to day. This would definitely not be easy for the phobic person. Anxiety attacks are common during the start of the therapy program, but there’s nothing to worry because the therapists are there to guide the patient. Eventually, phobics may become non-responsive to the thing that once frightened them because of this method. Their object of fear becomes a familiar object that they may become very accustomed to. Thus, the main goal of this is to make patients face and replace their fantasies with the correct information.
Other beneficial treatments are also used by therapists depending on the case of the patient and how severe it is. Therapies arent mutually exclusive, sometimes certain combinations are employed. The various treatment methods are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which allows the patient to challenge dysfunctional thoughts or beliefs by being mindful of their own feelings with the aim that the patient will realize their fear is irrational, another is Hypnotherapy with Neuro-linguistic Programming, which can also be used to help remove the associations that trigger a phobic reaction, and lastly, antidepressant medications like SSRI’s, MAOI’s and Glucocorticoids that physiologically sets the neurotransmitters and hormonal compositions of the body that have proven to be helpful in some cases of phobia.