When a person undergoes extreme fear of irrational nature, it leads to phobia in them. A person undergoing phobia is found to be in constant state of threat, fear, and has panic attacks. The fear can have its source in a particular place, incident or object. Phobias have a specific nature unlike anxiety disorders.
Impact of a phobia is different in different patients. People affected with phobias are unable to do anything about it despite being aware of it. Phobias hamper their work, study and even personal relationships. If you find yourself in a situation where your fear is hampering your regular life, it is time you take an emergent medical help. As per a recent survey, 19 million U.S citizens are recorded to be affected with phobias of various kinds which are affecting their day to day life.
The following are the known possible causes of phobias:
- Phobia generates in a person due to various environmental and genetic reasons.
- People with close relatives (who they can be genetically connected with) suffering from anxiety disorders may develop phobia.
- A distressing occurrence in life may also lead to development of phobia.
- Extreme living conditions, or negative experiences and accidents in life may also bring on phobia.
- People under particular medical conditions are often affected with phobia. Traumatic brain injuries can cause phobia and lead to extreme depression.
Different Types of Phobias
American Psychiatric Association (APA) has so far recognized more than 100 different types of phobias. A few common types of phobias are discussed here below.
It is a type of phobia. Agoraphobia is the fear of places and situations from which a person cannot escape. They may get frightened in crowd and find themselves to be trapped if they get out of the house. Agoraphobia can be explained as 'Fear of open spaces'. Such people usually keep themselves confined to their homes and avoid social gatherings.
People who have chronic medical conditions are afraid of being in situations where they need emergency care but no one is available to help them. They even think to be in extreme pain and get frightened of it before it occurs. They are feared of the unavailable medical help at public places if they fall sick outside home.
Social phobia is a type of phobia. Social phobia is an extreme syndrome in people who are worried about public situations which they want to avoid. They find themselves incapable of talking to people while outside home. They even feel awkward to make telephonic conversations and are afraid of irrational imaginative situations. They tend to avoid social appearances due to the same reason and keep themselves confined to home. They find different excuses to avoid invitations and gatherings just to keep themselves away from the situations they do not want to face.
Other Specific Types of Phobias
Due to our daily life experiences and negatives responses or reactions we sometime do not find comfortable in some situations or with some people. These develop different types of phobias in us such as:
- Glossophobia: This is the fear noticed in people who are afraid of performing, taking and responding in public or in front of a lot of people. Public speaking in front of a large audience is simply troublesome for them.
- Acrophobia: This is the fear of heights in people and they experience vertigo, nausea and faintness while climbing mountains or any high building, bridges etc. They suffer from an uncontrollable wish to jump from such height and thus find them endangered due to such nature.
- Claustrophobia: This is the fear of getting trapped in confined places like lifts or cars. Some people are so afraid of this that they choose to take the stairs on elevators in spite of their destination being in a much higher floor.
- Aviatophobia: This is the fear of flying in planes due to the phobia of plane crash or other accidents.
- Dentophobia: This is the fear generated in people due to earlier dental processes which went wrong for them. They panic to experience the same thing each time they visit a dentist after that.
- Hemophobia: This is the fear in some people who faint seeing blood. They feel dizziness and nausea on the sight of blood from own or another person's body.
- Animal or Insect Phobias: arachnophobia is the fear of spiders in some people where as cynophobia is the fear of dogs. People experience ophidiophobia which is the fear of snakes. These fears are mostly generated in childhood due to any experiences of animal or insect bites.
- Nyctophobia: This is the fear from darkness and night time. Many people are afraid of night and take it to be a situation of danger. This syndrome also develops in childhood and may remain in the person for a long time.
Signs and Symptoms of Phobias
The usual and common signs and symptoms of phobia are panic attacks. The features of panic attack are:
- Increased heart beat
- Inability to speak for a while
- Dryness of mouth
- Vertigo, nausea or stomach upset
- Increased level of blood pressure
- Quivering or wobbling
- Pain in chest muscles
- Feeling of being choked
- Unsteadiness or faintness
- Excessive sweating
- Predetermined fear of any upcoming event, fate.
Level of panic attacks varies from person to person. It is never same in two different people. It does not require the person to be in a state of panic to diagnose his sufferings.
Risk Factors for Phobias
These below factors may increase your risk of phobias:
- Persons Age: Social phobia is usually developed during the beginning of teenage. Children at the age of 10 may also develop certain phobias due to the situations changing because of change of age. Agoraphobia is however noticed after teenage and till the age of 35.
- Close Ones: Children tend to develop phobias which they find their parents suffering from. If a person is feared of insects, reptiles or snakes, the kids at home will develop the same featured phobia and usually are found to react in the same way.
- Temperament: People who are more sensitive towards issues in life are found to suffer more from the extensiveness of agony and phobias.
- Traumatic Incidents: People who have experienced of traps, confinement or accidents in life have been found to suffer from the phobias for quite a long time in life and react abnormal to the inception of any such occurrence in future.
Complications of Phobias
Many people do not take phobias seriously and find it less important to handle. But phobias could lead to severe complications if ignored for a long time:
- Phobias can make the sufferer isolate from the society. Their professional, academic and personal life is largely hampered due to this. Kids going through such trouble are found to be less interested in studies and go not learn good social skills.
- It causes anxiety in people.
- People develop substance abuse due to prolonged sufferings from phobias.
- Some may even develop suicidal tendencies if not been taken care of compassionately.
Treatment Procedure and Medications for Phobias
Medical therapists suggest both medication and counseling sessions of people suffering with phobia. Adults need treatment and cannot get out of it usually without proper medication process. The medical procedure includes ways of bringing the person out of the anxiety he is going through and teach him better ways of handling situations in life.
Medication Treatment for Phobias
Medications can be helpful to get rid of anxiety and panic attacks. It reduces the possibilities of over thinking about a fear or a situation or person which someone finds dangerous for him.
- Beta Blockers for Treating Phobias: This procedure of medication blocks the stimulation in the body due to adrenaline rush. The resultant symptoms such as increased heartbeat, trembling voice or panic attacks may be reduced to a greater extent out of such medicines.
- Antidepressants for Treating Phobias: Antidepressants such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly used drugs in treating certain phobias. These drugs affect the chemical serotonin, and acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain which is trusted to influence the mood of a person. Doctors can prescribe the right antidepressant for a person after diagnosing his problem and its depth.
- Sedatives for Treating Phobias: Benzodiazepines can be really helpful in relaxing a person and decrease his level of stress. Sedatives have to be cautiously prescribed to people with history of alcohol abuse or any such current addiction.
Psychotherapy for Treating Phobias
Discussing the problem with professional counselors can help a person get out of the phobias in an effective way. Psychotherapy or the talk therapy can be really effective for treating phobias:
- Therapy of desensitization or exposure therapy helps a person gain confidence is taking up the same challenges which might have suffered him in past. Patient again finds courage to enter the same lift he was once jammed in, drive the same car he had faced an accident in or living in the same room where he found himself to be confined one.Patient will become confident is public talking again with lesser hesitations.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) also is much helpful in this situation to make things simple for the person. They could be taught about the flow of life easily and refrained from fearing imaginative upcoming incidents which may contain danger.
Prevention of Phobias
Do not waste time and seek psychological help in case you are suffering from abnormal fears. People with kids should strictly follow this. Phobias may develop due to genetic reasons and kids may develop the same phobias as they see their parents on a regular basis.