One of the major consequences of going through anxiety is having a Phobia of something or someone. Like if you’re standing on height or get closed in a dark room, it seems like you don’t have enough oxygen around you and you can’t breathe. Your eyes might as well blackout sometimes. This can be a reason if you’re suffering from a height phobia or a phobia of closed rooms or darkness. Each time you go through this, you’re stress level increases and so does your anxiety. But this doesn’t mean that you’re crazy, phobias are very normal. To get control of a phobia is to try and take control of the stress it gives you.
What Is Phobia?
Phobia is an unusual and unrealistic fear caused by the presence or thought of any object or a situation. This is only an imaginational fear yet, is much greater than the actual threat that object or situation might cause. Due to this, the people suffering often avoid themselves getting into the position of that fear. But fear is a thing that comes haunting back the more you try to run away from it. It is not surprising that a person might be going through a phobia and wouldn’t realize it but most of the time people are aware of it. But when noticed that he’s getting triggered by the same thing again and again might lead him to realize that because even though he knows there is no real threat, he can’t control his reaction.
There are majorly three types or categories of phobia according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
SPECIFIC PHOBIA: This is the simplest and most common form of phobia. This involves an irrational and persistent fear of any specific object(blood, injections), animal(dogs, cats, snakes, etc.), group of people(clowns, dentists, etc.) or environmental situation( accidents, sitting on a plane, medical procedures, natural disasters), etc. This phobia is different from the normal anxiety that a person goes through. For eg., A person with an exam or result fear might get anxiety before the exam and it doesn’t go well but a person with a phobia of the exams might never even show up to any examination hall.
SOCIAL ANXIETY PHOBIA: This is a persistent fear of being judged by others or being publicly humiliated making the person suffering over self-consciousness. This makes one lose confidence in himself and can affect his life at work, school, or any other activities. This is indeed a mind game, where it constantly tells the person that he is nothing but an embarrassment. It can be performance limited such as giving a lecture, concert, or any classroom or business presentation. It is most likely to run in the people who have had a shy or solitary childhood with little to no social interactions.
AGORAPHOBIA: This is the fear of getting caught up in the situations, from which chances of escaping is almost negligible. These situations might cause a person to panic and make him feel trapped and helpless even when he isn’t. This can eventually lead him to house arrest himself as he is afraid of staying away from familiar environments. The thing that they are frightened of is having a panic attack or any other medical emergency in the middle of somewhere where they wouldn’t be able to get any help. Such kind of person avoids places such as traveling on a bus or train, conferences, shopping malls, concerts, etc.
Though there aren't many causes for a phobia still a few of them include:-
Genetic predisposition to anxiety
Particular incidents or traumas
The long- term stress
Childhood Solitary behaviors
Response to panic or fear
On-going medical condition and several health concerns
Phobias can be short-term and as well chronic but as soon as they are developed it starts interfering in your daily life. Complex phobias such as social anxiety and agoraphobia are likely to show symptoms while simple phobias can be sometimes considered normal fears until too late. People avoid getting into contact with things they have a phobia from but when they do, these are the symptoms they show :
The feeling of panic or panic attacks
Accelerated heartbeat or palpitations
Chest pain or tightness
Nausea and dizziness
A feeling of extreme confusion
Avoidance of the object or situation
Phobias are highly treatable because it’s just about reducing the stress from the mind about fear. It might not be easy but isn’t impossible either.
There is no actual medication that helps treat phobia but only to decrease a bit of anxiety caused by it.
ANTI-DEPRESSANTS: These are mainly used for mood disorders such as depression but might also be effective as an anti-anxiety. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’S) are mostly prescribed to treat phobia, social disorders, and panic issues.
TRANQUILIZERS: These help in reducing anxiety symptoms. Benzodiazepines are examples of minor tranquilizers that are prescribed as a short term treatment for reducing the fears of a phobia.
BETA BLOCKERS: They are often used for treating cardiovascular conditions. Beta-blockers are prescribed to help reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety such as palpitations, trembling to sweat, and controlling high blood pressure.
2. BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY
COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY(CBT)
This is the most common and most effective kind of treatment for phobias. CBT uses practical ways of dealing with the phobia. It teaches a person experiencing phobia to control their feelings or thoughts. It changes the negative thoughts and dysfunctional beliefs of a person to reduce the stress and anxiety and lead an optimistic life.
Also known as desensitization, this therapy is a part of CBT. It helps a person to alter his response towards his fear. This includes gradually exposing the person to his fears on a series of difficulty levels to slowly release him of his fears. For eg. If a person has snake fear, first, the counselor would ask him to read about snakes, then show pictures. Plan a visit to the zoo and later on finally ask him to hold a snake. This way he gets more information on the snakes and his fear decreases.
Some simple phobias can be treated by self-help. Not always does a person require medications or therapies, but only in the worst cases. For self-treatment, he just needs to take care of himself and his anxiety. Changing a lifestyle and negative thoughts might help this. For eg:
Avoid sleeping late at night
Exercise, yoga and leading a healthy life
Reducing the use of caffeine
Meditating while stressed
The most effective and long term self-treatment is gradually exposing yourself to your fears which keep bringing you back down.
FEAR IS NOT REAL. IT IS THE PRODUCT OF THOUGHTS YOU CREATE. DANGER IS REAL, BUT FEAR IS A CHOICE.