Do your heart start racing whenever you are in a crowded space, on a mountain, or whenever you see a large pool of water, etc? Well, this might be you have a phobia for such places. Phobia is an excessive and irrational fear reaction. Someone who has phobia may experience a deep sense of dread or panic when they encounter the source of fear. The fear can be of a certain place, situation, or object. Phobia is usually a result of something in particular.
Causes of Phobia
- Genetic and environmental factors can cause an individual to have a phobia. Children who have a close relative with an anxiety disorder are at risk of developing a phobia.
- Distressing events, such as nearly drowning, can bring on a phobia.
- Exposure to confined spaces, extreme heights, and animal or insect bites can all be sources of phobias.
- Medical conditions or health concerns often cause phobias. There’s a high incidence of people developing phobias after traumatic brain injuries.
Risk factors of phobia
- Genetic predisposition.
- Socioeconomic status
Signs and symptoms of phobia
- pounding or racing heart
- shortness of breath
- rapid speech or inability to speak
- dry mouth
- upset stomach
- elevated blood pressure
- trembling or shaking
- chest pain or tightness
- a choking sensation
- dizziness or lightheadedness
- profuse sweating
- a sense of impending doom
Some types of Phobia
Agoraphobia is a fear of places or situations that you can’t escape from. People with agoraphobia fear being in large crowds or trapped outside the home.
2) Social phobia
Social phobia is also referred to as social anxiety disorder. It’s extreme worry about social situations and it can lead to self-isolation. People with social phobia often go out of their way to avoid public situations. They avoid social situations and stay inside their home and if they finally go to a social gathering they will be so uncomfortable till they leave that particular place.
3) Acrophobia: This is the fear of heights. People with this phobia avoid mountains, bridges, or the higher floors of buildings.
4) Aviophobia: This is also known as the fear of flying.
5) Hemophobia: This is a phobia of blood or injury. A person who has hemophobia may faint when they come in contact with their own blood or another person’s blood.
6) Cynophobia: This is a fear of dogs.
7) Nyctophobia: This phobia is a fear of the nighttime or darkness. It almost always begins as a typical childhood fear. When it progresses past adolescence, it’s considered a phobia.
Common Criteria for diagnosis of Phobia
Diagnostic criteria that are similar to all phobias include:
- Life-Limiting: A phobia is not diagnosed unless it significantly impacts the sufferer’s life in some way.
- Avoidance: Some people with clinically diagnosable phobias are able to endure the feared situation. However, attempts to avoid the feared situation are an important criterion for diagnosing a phobia.
- Anticipatory Anxiety: People with phobias tend to dwell on upcoming events that may feature the feared object or situation
Treatment of Phobia
Treatment for phobias can involve therapeutic techniques, medications, or a combination of both.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most commonly used therapeutic treatment for phobias. This involves exposure to the source of the fear that causes the said phobia in a controlled setting. This treatment can decondition people and reduce anxiety.
Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can help calm emotional and physical reactions to fear.
- Face your fear” strategy.
It’s known as “desensitization” or “self-exposure therapy”, gradual exposure to the source of the fear can reduce the fear feeling the person has.
- Social isolation. Avoiding places and things someone fears can cause problems. Children with these disorders are at risk of academic problems and loneliness, and they may have trouble with social skills if their behaviors significantly differ from their peers.
- Mood disorders. People with specific phobias have depression as well as other anxiety disorders.
- Substance abuse. The stress of living with a severe specific type of phobia may lead to the abuse of drugs or alcohol.
- Suicide. Some individuals with specific phobias may be at risk of suicide.
When to See a Doctor
An individual who has a phobia should seek the help of a doctor when such fears prevent them from living their life to the fullest.