Do you have any phobias? If you’re unsure what a phobia is, it’s an irrational fear of a person, place, thing, or situation. Phobias are actually types of an anxiety disorder and a person with a phobia will do anything in their power to avoid whatever it is causing them this immense fear.
A person with a phobia who is confronted with their fear will experience immense distress, which can actually hinder their ability to function.
It’s important to know that a phobia is far more severe than just being afraid. Phobias cause people to organize or change their lives to avoid their phobia at all costs.
Does this sound like you?
The top 10 most common phobias are:
- Arachnophobia – fear of spiders
- Ophidiophobia – fear of snakes
- Acrophobia – fear of heights
- Cynophobia – fear of dogs
- Astraphobia – fear of thunder/lighting
- Claustrophobia – fear of small spaces
- Mysophobia – fear of germs
- Aerophobia – fear of flying
- Trypophobia – fear of holes
The list of phobias goes into the hundreds and includes a fear of chickens, a fear of blood, a fear of commitment (yes, it’s actually a phobia), and even a fear of God.
Symptoms of phobias
When a person is confronted with their phobia, they may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Uncontrolled anxiety
- Living in extreme fear
- Being unable to function
- Abnormal breathing
- Accelerated or irregular heartbeat
- Hot flushes or chills
- Choking sensation
- Chest pains or tightness
- Butterflies in the stomach, uneasy digestion
- Pins and needles
- Dry mouth
- Confusion and disorientation
Causes of phobias
Most phobias develop at an early age, and it is rare to develop a phobia after the age of 30. Phobias may develop as a result of being exposed to a stressful situation, experience, event, or being aware of a family members phobia and taking that on as your own.
As mentioned, it is rare for new phobias to develop after the age of 30, but many people report that the older they become, the greater their fear of heights is. That’s because as we age, we experience greater vulnerability, which is why we become more anxious around heights.
Treatment of phobias
If your phobia doesn’t interfere with your daily life, then you do not require treatment for it. If it does, you simply cannot live like that and treatment is highly recommended. Common treatments for phobias include medications and exposure therapy, where you are gradually exposed to whatever you’re afraid of.
As with many treatments, there is no one size fits all cure. You may need to try a variety of treatments before you regain control.