Phobia is a deliberating and overwhelming fear reaction. It is a type of anxiety disorder that leads an individual to a situation of extreme fear about an object, place, feeling, or any creature.
You may experience a deep sense of panic and dread when faced with the source of your fear if you have a phobia. This can disrupt your normal body function and can sometimes lead to panic attacks. Unlike generally anxiety disorders, a phobia is usually connected to something specific.
The effect of phobia varies from annoying to critically disabling. The individuals who have a phobia often realize that their fear is senseless, but they do not have control over it and are unable to do anything about it. Such fears pose hinder their work and even personal relationships.
According to some studies, it is estimated that 19 million Americans are suffering from some kinds of phobia is certain areas of their life.
The first step to overcome it is the understanding of your phobia. It is necessary to understand that phobias are common. In addition, understanding that phobias are highly treatable is also important. You can overcome your fear and anxiety and can start a new life, no matter how out of control you feel right now. If you have a fear of something that prevents you from leading your life to the fullest, then seek help from a mental health professional.
What is Phobia?
The term phobia is often used to explain a fear of a specific trigger. However, three types of phobias are identified by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). These include:
Specific phobia: This is an irrational and intense fear of specific things, places, or situations.
Social anxiety or social phobia: This is an extreme fear of public discouragement, being judged and single in a particular social situation. Large gatherings are often a terrifying situation for those suffering from this phobia. However, bear in mind that it is different from shyness.
Agoraphobia: It is a fear of situations where it would be difficult to escape if an individual is suffering from severe panic conditions. Individuals who suffer this type of fear have a significant risk of panic disorder.
Simple phobias are termed as specific phobias as they can be related to the cause that is recognizable and that may not often occur in a day. These include fear of snakes, for example
Agoraphobia and social anxiety are called complex phobias because their triggers are not difficult to identify. Individuals who experience complex phobias find it harder to ignore the triggers. For example, being in a large crowd or leaving the house is not uncommon.
People who have a certain type of phobia have an overwhelming need to do the things that trigger anxiety.
How to find a Phobia Therapist
If you are looking to find the perfect Phobia therapist it is crucial to make sure that they have the appropriate qualifications, knowledge and experience. At Expat Therapy 4U we only accept therapists who have full professional proficiency in English and are highly experienced in working with people from culturally diverse backgrounds. The clinicians we approve share our values and commitment to provide high quality therapy to the expatriate community in the private sector across Europe and online worldwide. We strongly believe that therapy changes lives, and being accredited ensures all our therapists are qualified to a high standard. You can find a Phobia therapist who is insured to practice and accredited with a recognised membership body online here.
Symptoms of Phobia
It is important to know the difference between fear and phobia because they are not the same. To diagnose a specific phobia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American Psychiatric Association has given criteria for it.
Avoidance and Extreme distress: In this condition the individual goes out of their control to avoid any situation or object
Life limiting: The phobia significantly affects work at school and negatively affects relationships, for instance.
Unreasonable and excessive fear: The person shows unreasonable, excessive, intense and persistent fear that is activated by a particular object or situation.
Causes of Phobia
Environmental and genetic factors can cause phobias. A close relative of children who are suffering from an anxiety disorder are at a higher risk of developing a phobia. Extreme trouble situations, such as drowning, can cause a phobia. Vulnerability to extreme heights, confined spaces, or insect bites can be a source of phobias.
People with continuing health concerns and mental conditions can often have a higher risk of phobias. The risk of prevalence of phobia is significantly high after traumatic brain injuries. Depression and substance abuse are also connected to phobias.
Phobia symptoms differ greatly from severe mental problems such as schizophrenia. In this condition, individuals have auditory and visual hallucinations, negative symptoms such as anhedonia, delusions, paranoia, and many other disorganized symptoms. However, phobias may be senseless, but individuals who suffer from any phobia do not fail reality testing.
Recommended treatments for Phobia
The first step in treating a phobia is to seek the help of a psychiatrist and psychologist. Sometimes, it is difficult to avoid the triggers of phobias. In this case, seeking appropriate treatment is the best option. Treatment approaches of phobias include different types of therapies that are often recommended by professionals. In severe cases, medicines are also prescribed.
For treating a phobia, there are a number of therapeutic options available.
Desensitization or Exposure Therapy
This therapy assists people to change their responses for a particular source of fear. Over a series of escalating steps, such people are gradually exposed to the cause of their phobia.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
A counselor, therapist or a psychologist assists the individuals who are experiencing phobia to understand different ways of reacting and understanding the source of their phobia. In addition, CBT teaches individuals suffering from phobia to control their own thoughts and feelings.
The following medicines are very effective to treat phobia sufferers.
Beta-blockers: They are helpful in lowering the symptoms of anxiety that can lead to a phobia. Side effects of these medicines include insomnia, fatigue, and digestion problems.
Antidepressants: They are commonly prescribed to people suffering from phobia. They include Serotonin reuptake inhibitors that affect the Serotonin levels in the brain, which boosts their mood. Initially, serotonin might cause headaches, sleeping problems, and nausea. Furthermore, taking Clomipramine and Anafranil, which are tricyclic antidepressants, has also been found to treat the symptoms of phobia. The side effects of taking these medicines include constipation, difficulties in urination, blurred vision, irregular heartbeat, tremors, and dry mouth.
Phobias are a cause of genuine and ongoing distress for people who are suffering from one. However, the source of fear is avoidable and they are treatable in most cases. The one thing that one is usually afraid to do is seeking help if one has a phobia. Therefore, one should NOT be afraid of this condition and seek a medical health professional to get treatment as soon as possible.
Further Readings on Phobia
About Expat Therapy 4U
Expat Therapy 4U is the result of 5 years’ experience running The International Psychology Clinic, the first private therapy service based in London specialized in multilingual and multicultural therapy.
The platform is run by Dr Martina Paglia. Dr Martina is a leading dual qualified Clinical and Counselling psychologist who helps patients by providing bespoke psychological services including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling and Psychotherapy in London and online worldwide.
Our network comprises highly qualified and experienced private therapists who have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of expats worldwide. All members of our community are highly experienced working in cross-cultural environments.
We are passionate about delivering first-class patient-centred, safe and effective care. If you would like to work with a warm, inclusive, caring and professional English-speaking therapist in Europe or online worldwide you have come to the right place.
If you are looking for the perfect expat Therapist in Europe or online worldwide, our team is dedicated to help you find your best match. We offer a client guarantee where clients can re-book with a different therapist if they are not satisfied with their first therapy session.
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