Fears & Phobias
Take back control of your life today
Take back control of your life today
As Human beings, we have evolved to react in certain situations in order to preserve ourselves. For instance, under attack we have the options of FIGHT, FLIGHT or FREEZE and await further information. In many cases this response can be extremely strong and early man had every reason to react so quickly and instinctively to possible harmful situations. For example learning to avoid fire or dangerous animals. The modern world has changed more quickly than we have been able to keep up with. Evolution takes hundreds of thousands of years therefore our basic physiology has changed relatively little. A Phobia occurs when a harmless stimulus is interpreted by the subconscious as a threat and the response is one of absolute fear, dread and horror. When faced with this trigger, a person who suffers a phobia will subconsciously believe that their very lives are in danger. The feelings are very powerful and ultimately uncontrollable. It is this very severity which indicates a possible phobia.
SYMPTOMS OF A PHOBIA
INCREASED HEART RATE/ PALPITATIONS
This is not an exhaustive list and the symptoms of a phobia may range from fear – i.e. sweating, trembling and an increased heart rate, up to a full blown panic attack, which can be incredibly distressing for the sufferer. Then, also, there is the secondary fear of having a panic attack again, which can lead to a vicious circle.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PHOBIA
Overall phobias can be divided into two, the specific or more simple phobia and then complex phobias.
Here are the main differences between each group;
Simple phobias are usually a phobia of one specific thing or situation. So in this category you would have arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, or indeed any other type of animal phobia.
In addition to this, other simple phobias may be classified as being either situational (i.e. a fear of flying or a fear of the dentist) or be referred to as ‘environmental’ – a fear of heights, germs and dirt, or deep water and so on.
The fourth category of simple phobia would encompass bodily phobias. These are people who have a phobia of, for example, blood and cannot bring themselves to have injections. These are not uncommon phobias but can still present a huge hurdle in the patient’s everyday life, if left untreated.
Lastly there are also sexual phobias, which may present themselves as being a fear of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (S.T.D.) or a specific concern about performance.
Complex phobias are, as the name would suggest, somewhat more complicated than a specific phobia of one thing or an individual object.
A complex phobia could be something like agoraphobia or claustrophobia, or a social phobia.
Widely thought to be the fear of open spaces, in reality this could mean a lot more to a sufferer of agoraphobia. Situations that people with agoraphobia may struggle with include things like taking public transport or eating out. Supermarkets and shopping malls are other common flashpoints. The phobia itself may be built around a fear of being unable to escape or of having either a panic attack or other such anxious episode, whilst they remain there.
This may result in the person either only going out to a very few places, close to their home or having to travel with a trusted companion to go anywhere. Consequently this condition can be very debilitating for not only the sufferer, but also place a strain on their partner and loved ones. In extreme cases the sufferer may be unable to leave the house altogether.
A lot of people who have a social phobia may be simply classed as ‘shy’, but the reality of a social phobia is a lot more far reaching than this.
Similar to the person with agoraphobia in many ways, this will impact on the person’s ability to go out and do everyday activities such as shopping or travelling on a bus or train. But someone with a social phobia may also have a problem with answering the phone or meeting strangers, regardless of where that meeting is situated.