There Is Hopeand Help
In conclusion, parents should know that phobias are treatable. Parents whose children suffer from phobias should never be afraid to reach out for expert assessment and advice.
With any mental health condition, its always best to get information and help early on. Therefore, children and teens have a better opportunity to overcome their anxiety and to flourish free of fear.
Front Psychol. 2017 Oct 18 8:1710.
Pediatrics. 2011 Nov 128: 917925.
National Institute of Mental Health
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Brontophobia: Fear Of Thunder
The Greek word bronte means thunder and brontophobia means fear of thunder. Even though people with brontophobia may realize thunder won’t hurt them, they may refuse to go outside during a thunderstorm. They may even hide indoors by crouching behind a couch or waiting out the storm in a closet. An abnormal fear of both thunder and lightning is called astraphobia, a phobia shared by people and animals.
Treatment For Different Types Of Phobias
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can effectively treat phobias. Specifically, CBT helps people learn to understand their anxiety and their phobic reactions. Moreover, they learn better ways to cope with the phobia and its symptoms.
Furthermore, CBT groups can give people with social anxiety a chance to practice talking and interacting with others. Support groups for phobias are also helpful.
In exposure therapy, also known as desensitization therapy, a person is gradually exposed to the source of their fear in escalating steps. Eventually, the client is exposed to the feared experience or object.
For example, someone with a fear of flying will begin by thinking about flying. Subsequently, they will go to an airport, sit in a simulated airplane cabin, and finally board a plane.
Additionally, in the early stages of therapy, pharmaceutical medications can help people with phobias. Doctors sometimes prescribe beta blockers, anti-anxiety medication, or antidepressants for phobias.
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How Do Phobias Develop
We dont know exactly why phobias develop. Specific phobias tend to begin during childhood, likely because a child’s brain is still learning how to react to certain stimuli. For example, a child who develops a fear of heights may have had a bad experience with heights, like falling off a jungle gym, or may have taken in information that encouraged a fear of heights, like seeing someone fall on TV or seeing a fear of heights in a family member. However, past experiences are not the only potential cause of specific phobias. Genetics may also play a role in the risk of developing a specific phobia.1
The causes of other types of phobias, like social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia, are also thought to be a combination of genetics and life experiences. Social anxiety disorders typically start in the teen years, likely because of the hormonal changes and social pressures teenagers endure. Since agoraphobia is highly related to panic disorder, the average age of onset is similar to panic disorder. Panic disorder and agoraphobia most often begin in young adults.11, 6, 12
Mutilation Or Bodily Invasion
The fear of losing a part of our body, having our body’s boundaries invaded, or of losing a natural function. This would be any fear where we feel physically unsafe or under attack.
Examples of triggers include: In this pot would fall our anxieties about creepy crawlies like spiders or snakes, animals like dogs or sharks – and any animal you believe to be harmful. Also anxiety about crowds, needles, germs, surgical procedures or having to make a trip to the dentist!
Specific Phobia And Its Types
An assessment of the various emotional disorders and phobias details the types of specific phobias including:
- Animal types like fear of cats, dogs, and snakes
- Natural Environment types like fear of bridges, heights, tunnels, storms, or water
- Blood-Injection-Injury type like fear of seeing blood or undergoing blood tests or afraid of watching television programs showing medical procedures
- Situational type like fear of being stuck in an enclosed space
- Other type or the miscellaneous type like fear of being choked or vomiting or loud thudding sounds like that of a balloon or costumed characters
Social phobia and Agoraphobia are a bit complex and less easily recognized. The difficult part of suffering from these phobias is that those affected by them feel more vulnerable to situations that trigger these unwarranted fears such as leaving the house alone or being a part of a large crowd.
A List Of Phobias: The Most Common
According to one survey published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, ten of the most commonly reported phobias were:
- Acrophobia: The fear of heights
- Aerophobia: The fear of flying
- Arachnophobia: The fear of spiders
- Astraphobia: The fear of lightning and thunder
- Autophobia: The fear of being alone
- Claustrophobia: The fear of confined or crowded spaces
- Hemophobia: The fear of blood
- Hydrophobia: The fear of water
- Ophidiophobia: The fear of snakes
- Zoophobia: The fear of animals
Some other fairly common phobias include mysophobia , trypanophobia , and necrophobia .
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How Are Specific Phobias Treated
Treatment for specific phobias may include one or a combination of:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: Psychotherapy is the cornerstone of treatment for specific phobias. Treatment usually involves a type of cognitive behavioral therapy, called systematic desensitization or exposure and response prevention therapy, in which patients are gradually exposed to what frightens them until their fear begins to fade.
- Medication: For situational phobias that produce intense, temporary anxiety , short-acting sedative-hypnotics such as alprazolam orÃ lorazepamÃ Ã may be prescribed on an occasional, as-needed basis to help reduce anticipatory anxiety. Unless a phobia is accompanied by other conditions such as depression or panic disorder, long-term or daily medicines are generally not used. Occasionally, serotonergicÃ antidepressantsÃ such asescitalopram oxalate , Ã fluoxetine ,Ã andÃ paroxetine may have potential value for some patients. More recently, common blood pressure drugs called beta-blockers have been used to treat anxiety related to specific phobias.
- Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, may also help reduce anxiety symptoms.
Tip : Learn To Calm Down Quickly
When youre afraid or anxious, you experience a variety of uncomfortable physical symptoms, such as a racing heart and a suffocating feeling. These physical sensations can be frightening themselvesand a large part of what makes your phobia so distressing. However, by learning how to calm yourself down quickly, you can become more confident in your ability to tolerate uncomfortable sensations and face your fears.
Perform a simple deep breathing exercise. When youre anxious, you tend to take quick, shallow breaths , which actually adds to the physical feelings of anxiety. By breathing deeply from the abdomen, you can reverse these physical sensations and feel less tense, less short of breath, and less anxious. Practice when youre feeling calm until youre familiar and comfortable with the exercise.
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Questions To Ask The Counselor:
- What causes the individual to develop a fear?
- What improvement should theymake from the personal side?
- How can families help in improving the situation?
- What are the suggested treatment options?
- What are the side effects of the medication?
- What is the severity of their phobia?
Early identification and timely treatment can help in better management of the phobia and in improving the quality of life. Dont hesitate to reach out to a medical professional. For evidence-based treatment and therapies with an expert team of professionals, reach out to us.
What Are The Three Types Of Phobias
There are three main types of phobias, and all of them fall under the category of anxiety disorders: specific phobias , social anxiety disorder, and agoraphobia.6,9 What they have in common, according to Mazza, is an intense emotional reaction that is not commensurate with what is actually happening in the environment, and the avoidance of the stimuli is what maintains the intense, emotional reaction.
Here are the differences between the types of phobias:
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Tips For Managing Claustrophobia
Many people with claustrophobia will avoid the spaces that trigger the condition. But that may not be a good long-term solution because you may eventually find yourself in a scary but unavoidable situation. Here are some ways to cope during an attack:
- Breathe slowly and deeply while counting to three with each breath.
- Focus on something safe, like time passing on your watch.
- Remind yourself repeatedly that your fear and anxiety will pass.
- Challenge whats triggering your attack by repeating that the fear is irrational.
- Visualize and focus on a place or moment that brings you calm.
Its also important not to resist the attack when its happening. You may want to stop the attack from happening, but if youre unable to stop it, your anxiety may increase and make the attack worse.
Instead, accept that the attack is occurring, remind yourself that its OK to experience these feelings, reassure yourself that the attack isnt life threatening, and remember that it will pass.
What You Should Know About Phobias
Phobias are quite common. The National Institute of Mental Health states that 9.1 percent of U.S. adults have at least one type of phobia. Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are one of the most common forms of mental illness. An estimated 31.1% of adults in the U.S. will experience some type of anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.
The American Psychiatric Association reports that phobias are the single most common psychiatric condition among women and the second most in men 25 and older in the United States.
Some key characteristics of phobias include:
- They are persistent
- They involve excessive, intense fear
- They cause the individual to avoid the object or situation
- They result in considerable distress
- They interrupt the individuals normal functioning and may cause the person to alter their behavior
The latest update to the diagnostic tool used most often by health professionals in the U.S., the DSM-5, says that the criteria for being diagnosed with a specific phobia involves having anxiety that is out of proportion with the actual threat posed by the fear object for a period of 6 months or longer.
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Risk Factors For Social Anxiety
Additionally, specific risk factors for social anxiety include the following:
- Genderfemales are more likely to suffer from social phobia
- Familysiblings or children of people with social anxiety are at greater risk
- Negative social experiencesincluding bullying, humiliation, or rejection
- Underdeveloped social skillsuncomfortable experiences talking with others can progress into social anxiety disorder
- Personality typewithdrawn, shy, or timid children may be more likely to develop social anxiety
- A bad experience with public speakinga difficult experience in front of others, such as in a play, presentation, or speech, can trigger a social phobia.
Treating Phobias With Medication
A few medications may be used to treat different kinds of phobias on their own or in conjunction with CBT. These medications arent considered cures, but they can help reduce or manage anxiety symptoms. Based on the type of phobia you have and the severity of your symptoms, your doctor will tell you if medication may be helpful for you and which type may be best. Be sure to ask your doctor questions about why they recommend a certain medication, the benefits of the medication, and what to expect while taking it.16
Medication options that may be used as a part of treating phobias include:
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The Difference Between Fear And Phobia
The term phobia gets thrown around a lot these days, but having a fear and having a phobia arent exactly the same thing.
Essentially, fear is temporary phobia isnt.
Having a phobia creates a stumbling block in your life, and the fear it causes can be so strong that youll do anything to avoid the object of that phobia. Phobia that becomes debilitating is a type of anxiety disorder. Take, for example, a job offer. You made it through the hardest partlanding your dream positiononly to find out that your office will be on the 20th floor of an office buildingand you have a phobia of heights. In order to avoid being so high off the ground, you turn the position down and pass up a significant job opportunity because of your phobia.1
Phobias can be debilitating and crippling, and they can keep you from enjoying the things you love with the people you love. But it doesnt have to be this way. There is hope and help for people with phobias.
Claustrophobia: Needing A Way Out
Claustrophobia, an abnormal fear of being in enclosed spaces, is a common specific phobia. A person with claustrophobia can’t ride in elevators or go through tunnels without extreme anxiety. Afraid of suffocating or being trapped, the person will avoid tight spaces and often engage in “safety seeking behavior,” such as opening windows or sitting near an exit. That may make the situation tolerable, but it doesn’t relieve the fear.
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Some Of The More Unique Phobias
As you looked through the list of phobias above, you might find that you have experienced one of these common fears or you can at least sympathize with people who do. However, not all fears are quite so common.
Some of the more unusual phobias include:
- Anthrophobia: The fear of flowers
- Arithmophobia: The fear of numbers
- Barophobia: The fear of gravity
- Chronomentrophobia: The fear of clocks
- Genuphobia: The fear of knees
- Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia: Fear of the number 666
- Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia fear of long words
- Onomatophobia: The fear of names
- Phobophobia: The fear of phobias
- Nephophobia: The fear of clouds
Carcinophobia: Fear Of Cancer
People with carcinophobia or cancerophobia live with an irrational dread of developing cancer. Every bodily discomfort becomes a sign for them that they have a malignant growth somewhere inside. A headache, for instance, is a sign for them that they have a brain tumor. Cognitive therapy can help someone with carcinophobia regain control of their life.
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Symptoms Of Social Anxiety
A person with a social phobia has a fear of people judging them thus, they often withdraw themselves into isolation and display avoidance behaviors. Thus, they often withdraw into a shell of isolation and avoidance behaviors. Additionally, teens with social anxiety feel excessive self-consciousness. Furthermore, they feel extreme concern about being humiliated or rejected. Consequently, severe social anxiety can be paralyzing for teenagers in school, at social events, and at family gatherings.
Teens with social anxiety might fear going out to eat at a restaurant, using a public restroom when other people are there, and talking on the phone. Moreover, they fear having to talk or perform in front of a group. Thus, they are fearful of asking questions in class or acting in a school play.
Furthermore, teens with social anxiety also experience all the physical symptoms associated with phobias.
Thus, social anxiety symptoms negatively impact a teens experience with peers and in many other relationships and situations.
What You Need To Know About Phobias
Fear itself is a natural feeling that is completely normal and even healthy. It is the natural way our brain signals us for possible danger and triggers our instincts of self-preservation.
We are trained to deal with fears and accept them as a natural part of our lives, but it’s different when we talk about irrational fears and phobias. A phobia is a when a person experiences deep and intense fear of something.
The problem with phobias is that often people with certain phobias experience such intense fear that it makes them change their normal lifestyle. If you have several things in your life that cause you intense irrational fear, and you start change your life because of it, you have developed a phobia.
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Agoraphobia: Fear Of Public Places
The agora was a market and meeting place in ancient Greece. Someone with agoraphobia is afraid of being trapped in a public place or a place like a bridge or a line at the bank. The actual fear is of not being able to escape if anxiety gets too high. Agoraphobia affects twice as many women as men. If left untreated in extreme cases, it can lead to someone becoming housebound.
When Anxiety Disrupts Your Life It’s A Problem
One of the most common questions people with anxiety ask themselves is “what is the difference between normal anxiety and an anxiety disorder?” It’s true that not all problem anxiety qualifies as an anxiety disorder.
However, the answer isn’t always that simple. The reality is that if you feel as though your anxiety is causing a problem in your life, it may be beneficial to seek help. Some anxiety in life is normal, but anxiety that disrupts your quality of life is still a problem.
No matter what type of anxiety you’re dealing with, anxiety can be cured by the following strategies:
- Find out your specific type of anxiety.
- Accept that your anxiety is a problem.
- Understand your anxiety causes and triggers.
- Break them down into smaller pieces that you can manage.
- Change your lifestyle to be more anxiety free.
Below, we’ll examine the seven causes of anxiety.
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