Phobias

A phobia is a fearful reaction that is out of proportion to a possible danger. It is an intense, unreasonable fear of situations, objects, activities, or persons where the fear is far out of proportion to the actual danger or harm that is possible. It is a type of fear that can interfere with our ability to function. The fear and distress of the phobia is so intense that the person will do whatever they can to avoid meeting the object of their fear.


Phobias can develop after an experience that has caused a strong fear reaction in us and can also develop for no apparent reason. People with a phobia will try to avoid the object or situation they fear.  The symptoms of your anxiety such as a racing heart or feeling faint, may be frightening in themselves and are often associated with secondary fears of dying, losing control, or ‘going mad’.


A person with a phobia may realise that their fear is unreasonable, and yet be unable to control it. When a person is exposed to something they’re afraid of, they become overwhelmed with extreme feelings of fear, anxiety, and panic. Their experience is so unpleasant that they will go to great lengths to avoid the object or situation they fear. As a result, their primary symptom of this phobia is their excessive, unreasonable desire to avoid the feared subject.


Phobias vary in severity from among individual to individual. Some people can avoid their fear and thereby suffer relatively mild anxiety. Others suffer full-blown panic attacks including the associated disabling symptoms. Although most people understand that they are suffering from an irrational fear, they remain powerless to override their panic reaction.


Phobias usually develop either during childhood or in the mid-20s; phobias can develop as a secondary problem following a trauma. They are relatively common, but rarely diagnosed because people tend to manage their lives around the phobia, rather than seek treatment.


Many people never seek treatment for their phobia, unless their phobia interferes with their life functioning in a significant way. For example, if a person has a fear of flying and cannot go on their honeymoon or accept a promotion that requires frequent travel they may then seek therapy to overcome their phobia.


Therapy

Talking with a therapist can help you to manage your specific phobia. The sessions will help you to manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It can be used to develop practical ways of dealing with your phobia.

 

Gene Barry Psychotherapist

© Gene Barry