A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder that causes an individual to experience extreme, irrational fear about a situation, living creature, place, or object. It could be said that ‘Fear’ and a ‘Phobia’ are much the same thing but can be separated by answering the following ‘fun’ question.
How much would I have to pay you to ‘do whatever that makes you feel anxious’
The person with a fear, would pause and think for a moment, and might reply with ‘For one million pounds I would pick up that spider or go on that aeroplane’. This means that under certain conditions the person would be able to face their fear.
But would you really?
But the person with a phobia will respond with something like ‘No amount of money will allow me to pick up that spider’. There simply isn’t a criteria that can be offered that will subside the fear enough to allow the person to go through with that which they don’t want to do.
People who have phobias will shape there life to avoid that which triggers their anxiety. For some people this can be making sure that during the months of August/September they have someone on hand to pick up any spiders they see in their house, or maybe they don’t ever fly, even though this means they are missing out on seeing family. The perceived threat and the immense distress felt is so high that under no circumstance would they put themselves in the position where it would be triggered.
Fast facts on phobias
- Phobias are more serious than simple fear sensations and are not limited to fears of specific triggers.
- Despite individuals being aware that their phobia is irrational, they cannot control the fear reaction.
- Symptoms may include sweating, chest pains, and pins and needles.
- 2.5 Million people in the UK suffer a phobia
A person with a phobia will experience the following symptoms. They are common across the majority of phobias:
- a sensation of uncontrollable anxiety when exposed to the source of fear
- a feeling that the source of that fear must be avoided at all costs
- not being able to function properly when exposed to the trigger
- acknowledgement that the fear is irrational, unreasonable, and exaggerated, combined with an inability to control the feelings
A person is likely to experience feelings of panic and intense anxiety when exposed to the object of their phobia. The physical effects of these sensations can include:
- abnormal breathing
- accelerated heartbeat
- hot flushes or chills
- a choking sensation
- chest pains or tightness
- butterflies in the stomach
- pins and needles
- dry mouth
- confusion and disorientation
The Most common phobias in the UK are listed below.
Claustrophobia: Fear of being in constricted, confined spaces
Aerophobia: Fear of flying
Arachnophobia: Fear of spiders
Driving phobia: Fear of driving a car
Emetophobia: Fear of vomiting
Erythrophobia: Fear of blushing
Hypochondria: Fear of becoming ill
Aquaphobia: Fear of water
Acrophobia: Fear of heights
These are far from the only specific phobias. People can develop a phobia of almost anything. Also, as society changes, the list of potential phobias changes. For instance, nomophobia is the fear of being without a cell phone or computer.
It is unusual for a phobia to start after the age of 30 years, and most begin during early childhood, the teenage years, or early adulthood.
They can be caused by a stressful experience, a frightening event, or a parent or household member with a phobia that a child can ‘learn.’
If we use an example of someone who is 25 and suffering Arachnophobia: Fear of spiders. The person may well have experienced one of three scenarios in regards to a reaction of a spider.
- They watched a parent show their own anxiety/panic when the spider appeared from behind the TV. The Sub-conscious then uses this as a frame of reference that a spider requires this reaction. It’s noted in their psyche that spiders are dangerous and require the person to move away from them as quickly as possible. As the child grows they see this reaction multiple times by the parent and then this is compounded to be the correct response.
- A child experiences a spider for the first time and was so overwhelmed with emotion that it created a repressed emotion about the event. It actually makes sense to be afraid of spiders because if we look back at our ancestors they would have come face to face with spiders that were able to kill or cause serious harm. It would be part of our DNA to have doubts about spiders. But if the child has an extreme reaction to seeing one then as mentioned a repressed emotion could be created.
- The child or adult experiences intense emotion about a completely different event and at the same moment in time there is a spider in their vicinity. The fear they experienced gets locked in with that of seeing a spider even though the spider wasn’t the cause of the original fear.
Once its ingrained, its ingrained!
The first example, the person is aware why they have the phobia. It’s a learnt reaction passed on from a parent, friend, teacher in their formative years. They can remember looking back at childhood and can recall watching a family member panicking due to a spider being in the house. Although they are aware its irrational it’s now in the sub-conscious that a spider requires this reaction so the sufferer can’t be near a spider.
Scenario 2 is different though. The child has no idea why they have this phobia. They just know that it exists and they are powerless to combat it.
The third example is where the fear at that moment in time gets projected out into the world and gets latched onto whatever is present at the time. It could literally be anything. People are known to be scared of random objects like buttons. It just so happened that at that moment the person was fixing buttons to a shirt.
B.W.R.T has no equal when dealing with Phobias and can produce effective results in a single session. Contact me today here to overcome a phobia!