Types of Phobias: Treating Phobias
Phobias are one of the most common types of anxiety disorder. This is where an irrational fear overwhelms you when you are confronted by a specific object or situation, bringing on symptoms of panic. The fear is persistent and reoccurring. Exposure to the feared situation brings on an anxiety attack and fear of further attacks leads to avoidance behavior. Phobias at this stage interfere with daily life and normal social functioning. Although there are many different phobias, some quite obscure, there are actually three main types of phobias.
Phobia anxiety disorder affects up to 18% of Americans and is the second most common mental illness among men and the most common mental illness among woman.
Fortunately, there is help.
No matter how they developed there are many ways to treat phobias. If you think that you suffer from a phobia, no matter what it may be you should seek advice from your doctor. A treatment plan can be recommended for you so that you can begin to overcome your fears and take back the control of your life. There is no need for phobias to stay with you forever.
The types of phobias: Clinical phobias are separated into three main categories:
1. Social phobias are where a person fears involvement with people and social situations. One of the most common of these is the fear of public speaking.
2. Specific phobias are fears triggered by things like heights, spiders, mice, water, or flying. Most develop in childhood and eventually disappear but those that persist into adulthood seldom go away without treatment.
3. Agoraphobia where a person fears leaving the comfort and familiarity of home or a safe area. People often develop this disorder after having first suffered from a panic attack
Symptoms of phobias are feelings of panic, dread, horror or terror with reactions that are automatic and uncontrollable. Symptoms of rapid heartbeat, trembling, shortness of breath and a desire to flee may be present. In fact, all the symptoms associated with acute fear.
There are many different treatments you can try in order to cope with any of these phobias.
Virtual reality (VR) is a relatively new treatment technique which is used specifically to desensitize a patient. In this treatment a person is immersed in fear until they become immune to it. You can also put the patient in the actual feared situation, but this can sometimes be dangerous or expensive. This makes virtual reality a great alternative. It also gives patients the chance to put a stop to the procedure if needed. Because of this more patients tend to agree to this treatment.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may also work to help overcome phobias. Using this method, you examine your specific thoughts and behaviors and work to overcome them. This can be done with a therapist or in a group setting. Techniques vary according to the client or the issue, but commonly include keeping a diary of significant events and associated feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Relaxation and distraction techniques are also commonly included. It is usually based on the idea that, how we think, feel and act all interact and work together. Through understanding your fears, it becomes easier to realize that your fears are irrational.
Anti-anxiety drugs may also help you overcome your phobias. These medications are prescription strength and are available for both long-term and short-term use. Usually medication works best when combined with other types of therapy treatments.
Other treatments which may be used in conjunction with the above techniques include counseling, relaxation training and hypnosis.
The cause of phobias is not well understood. Some psychologists who have studied phobias suggest that they develop from an unpleasant experience in childhood involving the feared object or experience. This experience is stored in the person’s memory banks, bringing on the fear when the memory is triggered. Sometimes the onset of a phobia may be triggered by a stressful life event.
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