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This Month In Life
  • Facing Your Fears
    If you have a true phobia, your life revolves around avoiding whatever you fear, whether a situation, place, or object. Whether you have a phobia or just know someone who does, you’ll benefit from knowing the causes, types, and treatments for this disabling disorder. Read >>
  • Choosing a Pediatrician
    Whether you’re expecting your first child, moving to a new town, or have new health insurance, it’s time to find a pediatrician. So choose wisely. After all, your child will see your pediatrician of choice from birth through the age of 18. Read >>
  • Getting Rid of Germs the Smart Way
    While helpful to instantly get rid of germs, some fear it’s not all good news. Which may have you wondering . . . does hand sanitizer pose any potential dangers? Read >>
  • Becoming a Better You
    There are all kinds of habits—some healthy, some neutral, and some harmful. Do you have any common bad habits? Take action today to put them behind you. Read >>
Health and Fitness News

Facing Your Fears

Understanding the scary world of phobias and how you can find freedom from your fears.

You may feel all alone, that no one understands what you’re going through. While others go about their lives without a care in the world, you constantly fear that your worst nightmare will come true. If you have a true phobia, your life revolves around avoiding whatever you fear, whether a situation, place, or object.

While you may feel alone, you’re not. Millions of people around the world deal with the same irrational and exaggerated fear that you do. Unfortunately, unless you have a phobia, it’s hard to understand the extent of the anxiety that goes along with it. So many without phobias come off as unsympathetic and judgemental.

Whether you have a phobia or just know someone who does, you’ll benefit from knowing the causes, types, and treatments for this disabling disorder.

Founding of Fears

Why do some brains cause people to deal with obsessive thoughts and fears that won’t seem to go away? Genetics plays a large role. If you have a family member with an anxiety disorder, you’re more likely to develop a phobia. Environmental factors also contribute. A traumatic life event is a common trigger. That’s why you’re more likely to be claustrophobic if you get locked in a closet when you are young. Kids can also learn phobias from their parents. Maybe your mom hated spiders and now you do too. Substance abuse, certain medical conditions, a brain injury, and depression are also triggers.

Male and female, young and old, rich and poor are all susceptible to phobias. Most phobias begin during childhood, the teen years, or young adulthood. Men are more likely to fear doctors and dentists. Women have more phobias of animals. Children and the lower class are more likely to deal with social phobias.

It’s External Impact

A phobia is more than just a normal fear. Living with a typical fear of snakes or heights poses small challenges. Because of your fear, you avoid the reptile exhibit at the zoo or high places. Someone with a phobia, on the other hand, deals with panic attacks just at the thought of what they fear. Panic attacks cause a racing heart beat, shortness of breath, upset stomach, dry mouth, shaking, chest pain, sweating, dizziness, or a feeling of impending doom.

Most Common Types

More people deal with social phobias than with any other type of phobia. They fear embarrassment and feel an overwhelming self-consciousness around people. But those aren’t the only common phobias.

Others include the following:

• Acrophobia: Fear of heights
• Agoraphobia: Fear of wide open spaces that keeps people indoors
• Claustrophobia: Fear of small, enclosed spaces
• Cynophobia: Fear of dogs
• Emetophobia: Fear of throwing up
• Entomophobia: Fear of insects
• Ophidiophobia: Fear of snakes
• Pteromerhanophobia: Fear of flying in a plane
• Trypanophobia: Fear of needles

Putting Fear in Its Place

People with certain phobias are often able to order their lives in a way that allows them to avoid their fears. With this sense of control in place, they may not seek treatment. Since even talking about the fear can be overwhelming, therapy may be avoided. In these cases, the individual continues to suffer in silence.

When facing the phobia is unavoidable, an individual is more likely to seek help.
Like other anxiety disorders, phobias are best treated through a combination of therapy and anti-anxiety or antidepressant medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to change negative thought patterns and faulty beliefs that lead to fearful reactions. Therapy often involves gradual and safe exposure to the fear.

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