The Healthy Truth: The rundown on phobias

Dear friends,

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?

Common phobias

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
  • Sweating
  • Abnormal breathing
  • Accelerated or irregular heartbeat
  • Trembling
  • Hot flushes or chills
  • Choking sensation
  • Chest pains or tightness
  • Butterflies in the stomach, uneasy digestion
  • Pins and needles
  • Dry mouth
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Crying

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.


Author Bio

Emily Lunardo studied medical sociology at York University with a strong focus on the social determinants of health and mental illness. She is a registered Zumba instructor, as well as a Canfit Pro trainer, who teaches fitness classes on a weekly basis. Emily practices healthy habits in her own life as well as helps others with their own personal health goals. Emily joined Bel Marra Health as a health writer in 2013.

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