How Do Children Learn Fear
Research shows that babies do not appear to show signs of fear until around 8 to 12 months of age, usually in response to new people or events, but they are less likely to show a fear of strangers when sitting on a parents lap. And while some fears may be innate in humans, many fears are learned, perhaps most commonly by seeing a parent react fearfully to an animal or situation, or to frequently warn a child about its dangers.
When Should I Get Help For A Phobia
It can be difficult to know when to get help for a phobia. Bear in mind that phobias are a type of anxiety disorder. It may be time to consider treatment for your phobia if:
- avoiding the trigger object, situation, place or activity affects your everyday life, or causes you great distress
- it keeps you from doing things you normally enjoy
- it causes intense and overwhelming fear, anxiety or panic
- you recognise that your fear is out of proportion to the danger
- youve had the phobia for at least six months
- it stops you getting support for other health problems for example, a phobia that stops you using the phone or seeing the doctor.
“It has taken me four whole years to realise that life doesn’t have to be this way. I started psychotherapy. And it was when I discovered that there was another way of living.”
What Is The Key Difference Between The Two
The main difference between experiencing a fear and having a phobia is that fear will be a reaction to an actual danger that subsides once the danger has either passed or been dealt with. Whereas phobias are a physical and mental tension that is felt when there is no danger to trigger the response. When this occurs, the individual is anticipating future peril without there being an indication of present danger. It is common to feel a moderate amount of anxiety when coping with situations that cause stress, such as school exams, but when the fear becomes long-lasting and interferes with everyday life, this becomes a major issue.
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How Is Tomophobia Diagnosed
Tomophobia is diagnosed by a mental health professional, such as a psychologist.
Since tomophobia isnt included in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , an expert will likely look at specific phobias, which are a subtype of anxiety disorders.
Specific phobias are broken down into five types:
- animal type
- situational type
- other types
Since experiencing fear isnt enough to indicate a phobia, Chaikin says there must also be avoidance behaviors and signs of impairment.
When the fear or anxiety is unable to be controlled or when the fear affects your ability to function in daily life, impacting your ability to receive adequate medical care, an anxiety disorder can be diagnosed, she says.
Difference Between Fear And Anxiety
Much like the difference between fear and phobia, thedifference between fear vs. anxiety is also based on natural and functional versus excessive and dysfunctional. Fear is an emotional reaction to a specific, real danger, while anxiety is an intense fear that may be triggered by a stimulus that is excessive, unpredictable and unfocused. Anxiety may persist long after the trigger, if any, is removed.
Fear, phobias, and anxiety fit together because a phobia may cause fear and anxiety.
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Therapy & Counseling For Anxiety
When maintaining a healthy lifestyle falls short of easing anxiety, therapy is an excellent option. Therapy can help you get to the root of anxiety and discover new ways to combat your symptoms. Therapy can be a long term or short term solution, depending on what you are looking for. If your anxiety feels unmanageable, you might consider contacting me for a free consultation. Together we can help reduce your anxiety and live the life you’ve always wanted.
Claustrophobia: Fear Of Closed Spaces
Another common specific phobia is fear of closed-in spaces, or claustrophobia. Like other specific phobias, claustrophobia is more common in women. Specific phobias are estimated to affect about 19 million Americans. Claustrophobia may develop after a traumatic childhood event, such as being trapped in a closet.
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Potential Mechanisms Of Persistent Fear In Experiential
Studies on the conditioning of fear in phobias indicate that fear is high in phobic compared with nonphobic subjects. However, there are studies indicating exaggerated general conditionability in phobia , while in other studies there was either no general conditionability or exaggerated conditionability only with phobia-related conditioned stimuli . The authors also found that phobic subjects display higher amygdala activation in response to the phobia-related conditioned stimulus than to the nonphobia-related conditioned stimulus. In another study, the authors found a stronger conditioning effect in flying phobia. Particularly, compared with healthy controls, patients with flying phobia rated conditioned stimuli more frightening. , using facial expressions as socially relevant stimuli, but no disorder-unrelated unconditioned stimulus, found that only phobic patients, when compared with healthy controls, develop conditioned fear. In an earlier study , aversive conditioning was performed using neutral faces as conditioned stimulus and an unpleasant odor as unconditioned stimulus. Despite the lack of an enhanced conditionability in the phobic group, extinction was impaired .
Types Of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety becomes a disorder when its irrational, excessive and when it interferes with a persons ability to function in daily life. Anxiety disorders include:
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Social phobias fear of social situations
- Specific phobias for example a fear of open spaces or enclosed spaces
- Panic disorders frequent and debilitating panic attacks.
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What Is A Panic Attack
Panic disorders and anxiety disorders can look very similar; and panic disorder can often be a feature of an anxiety disorder. You may have heard of the term “Panic Attack”. Panic attacks happen when an individual is so overcome with anxiety symptoms, they feel they might be dying or that something could be seriously wrong. Panic attacks can sometimes mimic heart attacks – in fact, many people take a trip to the emergency room because they think they are having heart problems.
An “anxiety attack” typically refers to when a person has extreme symptoms of anxiety in reaction to a stressor. For example, an anxiety attack can be caused by past trauma, phobias, or nervousness. A “panic attack can be triggered by seemingly nothing at all. They are usually unpredictable and unwanted.
Animal Studies On Mechanisms Of Fear Conditioning
One of the most significant properties of the nervous system is its ability to modify its structure and function in response to experience. At the synaptic level, this ability is characterized by synaptic plasticity . Synaptic plasticity, such as long-term potentiation , which is an increase in synaptic efficacy, at appropriate synapses during memory formation is believed to be both necessary and sufficient for storage of information , including fear conditioning .
In fear conditioning, innate fear response can be converted into learned response when fear is evoked during or immediately after the presentation of a neutral stimulus . The neutral stimulus becomes a conditioned stimulus because it is capable of evoking by itself the fear response . This example of classical fear conditioning corresponds to auditory fear conditioning. It is the only example that is reviewed below to examine mechanisms of fear conditioning.
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Specific Or Simple Phobias
Specific or simple phobias centre around a particular object, animal, situation or activity.
They often develop during childhood or adolescence and may become less severe as you get older.
Common examples of simple phobias;include:
- animal phobias ;such as dogs, spiders, snakes or rodents
- environmental phobias;;such as heights, deep water and germs
- situational phobias;;such as visiting;the dentist or flying
- bodily phobias ;such as blood, vomit or having injections
- sexual phobias ;such as performance anxiety or the fear of getting a;sexually transmitted infection
Treatment: What We Can Do About Anxiety And Depression
The type of disorder we have has important consequences for treatment. In the case of a depressive disorder, it will be important in therapy to learn how to build an active life with enjoyable and relaxing moments, question problematic thought patterns, and gain confidence in contact with other people. Depending on the severity of the depression, prescription of antidepressants may also make sense.
In contrast, anxiety disorders are usually treated only with psychotherapy. Typically, together with your therapist, you will learn to understand your fears better, find strategies for dealing with fear and understand how to seek out and confront those situations that used to cause us so much fear.
If you feel that you are suffering from one of these disorders and you feel limited, it will be helpful to seek professional help. If you want more information and need more initial help on depression and anxiety, then check out our Moodpath App!
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Why Were Afraid: Understanding Fears
Fears are a natural part of the human make-up, which is protective of life and limb. Fear is a quality that is shared by all higher animals, as no members of any species would ever survive without a protective mechanism to anticipate and react to danger, thereby protecting themselves from harm.
The brain contains specific circuits and mechanisms for perceiving and reacting to fear. The response to fear can depend upon the situation and is divided into two broad categories:
- Fight, flight, or freeze
- Tend and befriend: turning to others for safety, and changing the situation so that it is less dangerous
Fears and phobias are not the same. Fears are a normal, protective part of our make-up. Phobias are not.
When Fear Becomes A Problem Anxiety Disorder And Depression
Next to depression, anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illness in western countries. About one in five Americans have suffered only this past year from an anxiety disorder that requires treatment. The good news? Anxiety disorders are well researched and understood by now. There are treatment options available and they are promising. Fear
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At What Point Does A Fear Become A Phobia
Where is the line drawn for something like this?
I have always assumed that phobias are panic-inducing and crip[filing fears of something but the way they have been described in recent years is making me unsure about the topic.
My understanding of this is that phobias are generally irrational, i.e. they are a fear of something that is not a threat, such as spiders. Maybe not a good example as some of those definitely are a threat.
The confusion is introduced when the words fear and phobia are used incorrectly. For example, you might have a fear of heights, but an fear of clowns. Some people might interchange these terms incorrectly.
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Common Types Of Phobias And Fears
There are four general types of phobias and fears:
- 1. Animal phobias such as the fear of snakes, spiders, rodents, and dogs.
- 2. Natural environment phobias such as a fear of heights, storms, water, and of the dark.
- 3. Situational phobias including the fear of enclosed spaces , flying, driving, tunnels, and bridges.
- 4. Blood-Injection-Injury phobia, the fear of blood, injury, illness, needles, or other medical procedures.
Some phobias, however, dont fall into one of the four common categories. These include fear of choking, fear of getting a disease such as cancer, and fear of clowns. Other common phobias that dont fit neatly into any of the four categories include:
Social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder, is fear of social situations where you may be embarrassed or judged. If you have social phobia, then you may be excessively self-conscious and afraid of humiliating yourself in front of others. Your anxiety over how you will look and what others will think may lead you to avoid certain social situations youd otherwise enjoy.
Fear of public speakingan extremely common phobiais a type of social phobia. Other fears associated with social phobia include fear of eating or drinking in public, talking to strangers, taking exams, mingling at a party, or being called on in class.
Agoraphobia was traditionally thought to involve a fear of public places and open spaces, but is now believed to develop as a complication of panic attacks.
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What Causes Tomophobia
The exact cause of tomophobia is unknown. That said, experts have ideas about what may lead to someone developing a fear of medical procedures.
According to Chaikin, you can develop tomophobia after a traumatic event. It can also surface after witnessing others reacting fearfully to a medical intervention.
Lis says people who have vasovagal syncope can sometimes experience tomophobia.
Vasovagal syncope is when your body overreacts to triggers due to the overwhelming response of the autonomic nervous system mediated by the vagus nerve, says Lis.
This can result in a rapid heart rate or a drop in blood pressure. When this happens, you may faint from fear or pain, which may cause trauma if you injure yourself.
As a result of this experience, you may develop a fear of this happening again, and therefore a fear of medical procedures.
One other potential cause, says Lis, is iatrogenic trauma.
When someone is accidentally injured by a medical procedure in the past, they can develop fears that the medical system may do more harm than good, she explains.
For example, someone whos had a needle injury that caused a skin infection and great pain might have a fear of these procedures in the future.
What Is A Phobia
Almost everyone has an irrational fear or twoof spiders, for example, or your annual dental checkup. For most people, these fears are minor. But when fears become so severe that they cause tremendous anxiety and interfere with your normal life, theyre called phobias.
A phobia is an intense fear of something that, in reality, poses little or no actual danger. Common phobias and fears include closed-in places, heights, highway driving, flying insects, snakes, and needles. However, you can develop phobias of virtually anything. While most phobias develop in childhood, they can also develop in later life.
If you have a phobia, you probably realize that your fear is irrational, yet you still cant control your feelings. Just thinking about the feared object or situation may make you anxious. And when youre actually exposed to the thing you fear, the terror is automatic and overwhelming. The experience is so nerve-wracking that you may go to great lengths to avoid itinconveniencing yourself or even changing your lifestyle. If you have claustrophobia, for example, you might turn down a lucrative job offer if you have to ride the elevator to get to the office. If you have a fear of heights, you might drive an extra 20 miles in order to avoid a tall bridge.
Barbaras fear of flying
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Rare And Uncommon Phobias
Now that we better understand fear, anxiety, phobias, and how they affect everything from human evolution to our everyday lives, lets explore some of the most intriguing phobias. We have compiled a list of rare and uncommon phobias that may seem peculiar, but are an important aspect of understanding ourselves and mental health:
Normal Fears In Children
Many childhood fears are natural and tend to develop at specific ages. For example, many young children are afraid of the dark and may need a nightlight to sleep. That doesnt mean they have a phobia. In most cases, they will grow out of this fear as they get older.
For example, the following childhood fears are extremely common and considered normal:
0-2 years Loud noises, strangers, separation from parents, large objects.
3-6 years Imaginary things such as ghosts, monsters, the dark, sleeping alone, strange noises.
7-16 years More realistic fears such as injury, illness, school performance, death, natural disasters.
If your childs fear is not interfering with their daily life or causing them a great deal of distress, then theres little cause for undue concern. However, if the fear is interfering with your childs social activities, school performance, or sleep, you may want to see a qualified child therapist.
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Get Help With Your Phobias And Anxieties
Though some of these phobias may seem harmless, even the most obscure ones can have a serious, adverse effect on someones life. At Louis Laves-Webb we take all phobias seriously and will work with you to find the root cause of your phobia. Our expert team of licensed therapists will help you learn coping strategies and move forward on the path to peace and mental health. Please submit a contact form or call our offices to get started on the journey to overcome your fears and phobias.
Nyctophobia And Sleep Disorders
Nyctophobia may be associated with a sleep disorder, like insomnia. A small study on college students with insomnia uncovered that nearly half of the students had a fear of the dark. The researchers measured the students responses to noises in both light and darkness. Those who had the most trouble sleeping were more easily startled by noise in the dark. Not only that, but the good sleepers actually became used to the noises with time. The students with insomnia grew more and more anxious and anticipatory.
Make an appointment to see a doctor if you or your child:
- have trouble sleeping
- feel particularly anxious or distressed in the dark
- have another reason to believe you may have nyctophobia
Diagnosis involves meeting with your doctor and answering questions about your symptoms. Your doctor may also ask for a psychiatric and social history. From there, your doctor may use the diagnostic criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition on specific phobias to make a formal diagnosis.
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