Are you scared of creeping creatures, flying or needle? Do not worry, you’re not the only one. The US National Institute of Mental Health published a report that 10% of the total adult population has some phobia. There are many explanations of how a phobic reaction develops, including evolutionary, psychodynamic and behavioral theories. Whatever the cause, phobias are curable – they can be overcome through psychotherapy, and cognitive and behavioral techniques have proved to be the most effective in this area.
Phobia Is Not Same as Fear
The term originates from the Greek word phobos which means fear, beg. It is essential to understand and draw the boundary between phobia and fear. The second one is the typical and expected reaction to the threat from the environment. It is necessary for survival as it warns us that circumstances can be physically or psychologically dangerous. A phobia differs from it in its intensity that is much higher than expected, and it varies concerning incompatibility and duration. They are beyond the control of our will. Psychopathologists believe that phobia is actually an avoidance that interrupts the ordinary course of life and is unreasonable to the real danger of an object or situation. Most often the phobic person notices that this anxiety is unfounded. A feeling of discomfort in certain circumstances, or in contact with an object, can be a normal reaction. However, if fear becomes irrational and uncontrolled to the extent that it affects interaction with other people or the performance of tasks at work, it is a disorder requiring medical and psychological treatment.
Symptoms and Types – Common and Unusual
The signs of a phobic person when confronted with the source of their phobia are trembling, sweating, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, reddened face. What is particularly interesting is the knowledge that phobias belong to a group of abnormal behavior, more precisely in anxiety disorders.
There are various types such as fears of public appearances, darkness, spiders, snakes, heights, public places, etc. The name of the phobia is made up of a prefix that is an ancient Greek word for an object or thing that is a source of fear and is added to the word “phobia.” Some of the most common are claustrophobia (fear of closed spaces), agoraphobia (fear of public places), aerophobia (fear of height), zoophobia (fear of animals in general), arachnophobia (spook fear).
Then, there are some very unusual phobias: anglophobia (fear of England), arachibutyrophobia (fear of peanut butter), aulophobia (fear of flute), ostraconophobia (fear of shellfish), peladophobia (fear of bald people), triskaidekaphobia (fear of number 13), xenoglossophobia (fear of foreign words).
What Causes Phobias
Adult people who suffer from some phobia are aware that fear is excessive and unreasonable, but they are not able to master it anyway. Most often, a person is not afraid of the very object or situation, but some consequences that may arise from encountering an object or staying in a particular situation.
Though many researchers have given their theories about the cause and the emergence of phobias. Psychoanalysts consider that the case of phobias is suppressed by conflicts that are thought to be the cause of great fear and avoidance. According to Freud, it is the way in which the ego avoids confronting the real problem, suppressed by the childhood conflict. Then, there are also theories that say that phobias are, that the remnants of the pre-evolutionary period are, for example, the spider really represented a danger. Besides, it is considered that phobias can be both acquired and learned from the environment, most often from parents. While children are young, they adopt patterns of behavior from their parents and learn by imitation. Thus, if children notice that the parent has a fear of something, this fear and the child can quickly be adopted. Also, there is a presumption that there are genetic factors in most psychological disorders.
Treatments Have Effects
*Face your fears gradually, because to overcome fears you need planning, exercise, and patience. Get started with situations you can manage. Make a list of situations that are related to phobia. Write down what is least and most frightening you. Gradually deal with one by one situation. Do not go to the next until you have mastered the previous one.
*Learn some relaxation techniques. Breathing and relaxation will help you when fear begins to intensify.
*Get rid of negative thoughts. Do not feed them, do not develop them, and do not fight with them. Just change your mental theme and replace it with any area that is interesting and positive to you.
*For strong and intense phobias, it is necessary to contact a qualified expert. In psychoanalytical and psychotherapeutic approaches, the client seeks to penetrate deeply into inner conflicts and emotional injuries that have led to the occurrence of anxiety and phobic fear.