A phobia is an irrational fear of a situation or thing that compels us to avoid it, despite our awareness that it’s not dangerous; it’s a type of anxiety disorder. A phobia may develop when a person has an unrealistic, or an exaggerated sense of danger about a situation or object.
Where phobias become severe, brought about through a person’s inability to control their stress, they may start to organise their life around avoiding the thing that is causing them to feel the fear they feel.
Not everyone will know they have a phobia, and therefore may not experience any symptoms until they come into contact with the source of their phobia.
When we think about the source of our phobia, it can make us feel anxious or panicky.
Phobia symptoms may include:
- Dizziness and feeling lightheaded;
- Increased heart rate and/or palpitations;
- A stomach upset;
- Trembling or shaking
Not all phobias are complex. You could have been bitten by a dog and then have a phobia about coming into contact with any dog. You may have a fear of heights, a fear of going to the dentist, a fear of flying. The more common phobias won’t necessarily interfere with everyday life, because those fears can be controlled by us.
Whilst genetics may play a part in phobia, there are a number of factors associated with phobia. A phobia may be associated with a particular trauma or incident; it may also be a learned that develops in childhood from a parent or sibling.
Phobias can be treated successfully through the following measures:
Through gradual exposure to the object, place, situation or animal, it is possible to get rid of phobias. Talking therapies such as psychotherapy, CBT and counselling will all help.