We all have that one, or maybe two things that we are afraid of. Fear is a normal emotional response. Phobias, on the other hand, are far more intense than fear. This fear is often called irrational, and sometimes obsessive. It can affect a person so much that depending on the phobia, they may not even wish to leave their home.
There are a wide variety of phobias, some more severe than others. Phobias can be debilitating and control a person’s life. Unlike fear, phobias are linked with a slew of symptoms including anxiety, shortness of breath, accelerated heartbeat, upset stomach, chest pains and elevated blood pressure. The symptoms alone make it present almost like an illness or disease.
Difference between fear and phobia
Fears and phobias, although commonly mistaken as the same, are different. Here are some examples to explain the main differences between fear and phobias.
|Anxiety linked with flying over an ocean
|Never going on vacation because you have to fly
|Butterflies when peering down from tall heights
|Not taking a job located on the 12th floor
|Feeling nervous when you see a large dog
|Not visiting parks because there are dogs present
|Feeling queasy when getting a needle or drawing blood
|Not receiving common medical tests or visiting a doctor to avoid needles
As you can see, although fear may create uneasy feelings, you likely won’t let it hold you back. A phobia, on the other hand, will actually prevent an individual from partaking in tasks altogether.
Common types of phobias
There is a phobia for just about anything, but below is a list of the most common phobias.
- Trypophobia – fear of holes or irregular circular patterns
- Aerophobia – fear of flying
- Mysophobia – fear of germs
- Claustrophobia – fear of small spaces
- Astraphobia – fear of thunder and lightning
- Cynophobia – fear of dogs
- Agoraphobia – fear of open or crowded spaces
- Acrophobia – fear of heights
- Ophidiophobia – fear of snakes
- Arachnophobia – fear of spiders.
Causes of phobias
So what exactly causes immense fear that causes a phobia? Well for one, genetic and environmental factors may play a role. Having a relative with an anxiety disorder may be a potential cause of phobias. Phobias are also found among individuals who have experienced severe head trauma. Substance abuse and mental illness can also cause a phobia.
Ways to treat phobias
There are many different options that may be used in the treatment of phobias. Some may work independently and for others it may be most effective to combine a few treatments.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
One way to treat phobias naturally is through therapy. A common form of therapy to treat phobias is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In this type of therapy, the individual may be presented with their phobia in controlled settings. CBT works to desensitize the patient and help them overcome the phobia.
Another means of treatment for phobias is with medication. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication may be prescribed to minimize the symptoms associated with phobias. Additionally, they may be used if the cause is from a mental illness.
Phobias can take over a person’s life. The first step is to recognize that you have a phobia that is preventing you from moving forward in life. Get help and take your life back.
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