Did Humans Evolve To Feel Specific Fears
Throughout human history, certain animals, such as snakes and spiders, have caused high numbers of deaths. Thus, some researchers believe, men and women may have evolved to carry an innate instinct to avoid such creatures, as it would deliver a survival advantage. Some studies have shown that its easier to condition people without apparent fears of any animals to fear snakes and spiders than to fear dogs or other friendly creatures. Studies of other primates show that they share humans fear of snakes, leading some to speculate that such fears themselves may have spurred the growth of primate intelligence overall, as humans and others evolved to avoid the dangers posed by such threats.
When To Seek Help For Phobias And Fears
Although phobias are common, they dont always cause considerable distress or significantly disrupt your life. For example, if you have a snake phobia, it may cause no problems in your everyday activities if you live in a city where youre not likely to run into one. On the other hand, if you have a severe phobia of crowded spaces, living in a big city would pose a problem.
If your phobia doesnt impact your life that much, its probably nothing to be concerned about. But if avoidance of the object, activity, or situation that triggers your phobia interferes with your normal functioning, or keeps you from doing things you would otherwise enjoy, its time to seek help.
Consider treatment for your phobia if:
- It causes intense and disabling fear, anxiety, and panic
- You recognize that your fear is excessive and unreasonable
- You avoid certain situations and places because of your phobia
- Your avoidance interferes with your normal routine or causes significant distress
- Youve had the phobia for at least six months
What Can I Do To Better Cope With Claustrophobia
In addition to seeing your primary healthcare provider or psychologist, you can try any of the following that make you feel comfortable:
- Talk to someone you trust: Having someone listen to your claustrophobic fears can be helpful to you.
- Learn strategies to relax: Try deep breathing exercises , mediation, mindfulness, progressive muscle relaxation and other methods to relax. Visualize and focus your attention on something that makes you calm.
- Join a support group: Support groups can be helpful in knowing you are not alone and for sharing tips and advice.
- Check if an organization provides a course for overcoming your fear: For example, if youre afraid of flying, check if an airline or your local airport offers a class on fear of flying.
- Take care of yourself: Eat a well-balanced diet, follow good sleep habits and exercise for 30 minutes at least five days a week. Healthy lifestyle choices can decrease your anxiety.
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Watch: When Does Fear Become Clinical Phobia
Radhika Aptes spooky film Phobia forces us to question – how do you tell the difference between fear and phobia?
Phobias affect nearly 10% of all adults in the world but a lot of people people use the term I am afraid of in the same breath as Im phobic to – the two arent interchangeable. It is perfectly okay to be fearful of a thing , what is not okay is to loosely use the word phobia or confuse it with every irrational fear you have.
Actor Radhika Aptesintense, psychological thriller, Phobia, which got rave reviews over the weekend, deals with agoraphobia – the irrational fear of open spaces. While the trailer made us scream and want to crawl to safety, the fact is that phobia is a misunderstood term.
The Difference Between A Fear And A Phobia
When the level of anxiety or fear becomes out of proportion to the level of danger, and it has a significant impact on day to day activities then it has become a phobia. This level of fear goes beyond a rational response. American Kennel Club Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr J Klein, describes a phobia as:
an intense and persistent fear that occurs when a dog is confronted with something that they might feel threatening, such as a thunderstorm. Some dogs even anticipate it.
They develop as the result of an adverse past experience which can be a single exposure or repeated exposures to the stimulus which the dog perceives as aversive. Remember, it is not about what we perceive as threatening… it’s what the dog believes!
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When Does A Rational Fear Of Child Birth Become A Phobia
Our latest reader testimony comes from Jennifer:
I have tokophobia and two kids. My mother and both grandmothers were ripped apart during childbirth. They all had lifelong incontinence and sexual dysfunction after countless surgeries. It destroyed one of my grandmothers marriages. My father just resorted to affairs but stayed with my mother despite her complete inability to orgasm and having to wear basically adult diapers most of her life.
When I became pregnant, I thought I could rationalize through my fears of ending up the same way, but I was terrified. My OB ended up performing an elective cesarean at 40 weeks. I had a healthy baby and excellent recovery. I did it again two years later with the birth of my second daughter. Both times I was walking around the halls with my new baby within 12 hours.
So far Im the ONLY woman in my family to give birth without incontinence and sexual dysfunction. Ill advise my daughters to also have surgical births. Sometimes tokophobia is valid.
But this next reader, Diane, thinks that term is being tossed around too loosely:
Heres how Jennifer Block describes The Immaculate Deception in her own book, Pushed: The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care:
This last reader, Marina, says she isnt sure if her aversion to getting pregnant qualifies as tokophobia:
This reader doesnt want to fly off the rails by getting pregnant:
From the article that started this whole discussion:
Examples Of Causes Of Phobias
- Past incidents or traumas. Certain situations might have a lasting effect on how you feel about them. For example, if you experienced a lot of turbulence on a plane at a young age, you might develop a phobia of flying. Or if you were injured by a dog some years ago, you might develop a phobia of dogs.
- Learned responses from early life. Your phobia may develop from factors in your childhood environment. For example you might have parents or guardians who are very worried or anxious. This may affect how you cope with anxiety in later life. You might develop the same specific phobia as a parent or older sibling. If they have a severe reaction to something they fear, this might influence you to feel the same way.
- Reactions and responses to panic or fear. You might have a strong reaction, or a panic attack, in response to a situation or object. You may find yourself feeling embarrassed by this. Especially if people around you react strongly to your response. You could develop even more intense anxiety about the idea of this happening again.
- Experiencing long-term stress. Stress can cause feelings of anxiety and depression. It can reduce your ability to cope in particular situations. This might make you feel more fearful or anxious about being in those situations again. Over a long period, this could develop into a phobia.
- Genetic factors. Research suggests that some people are more vulnerable to developing a phobia than others.
Living with my phobia of bananas
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How Do You Get Treatment For Phobias
Phobias are really difficult to manage alone, and luckily, you dont have to theres help out there. Like many other anxiety disorders, they respond well to treatment. The first step is to see your GP or mental health professional, or get in touch with a professional service online or over the phone.
Your doctor will work with you, at a pace that suits you, to figure out a treatment plan that works for you. This could include a combination of therapy, medication and self-management strategies. Get some more information about treatments for anxiety disorders here.
How The Brain Works During A Phobia
Some areas of the brain store and recall dangerous or potentially deadly events.
If a person faces a similar event later on in life, those areas of the brain retrieve the stressful memory, sometimes more than once. This causes the body to experience the same reaction.
In a phobia, the areas of the brain that deal with fear and stress keep retrieving the frightening event inappropriately.
Researchers have found that phobias are
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How To Deal With Common Fears And Phobias
Try these expert tips to help children cope with common fears and phobias.
Try these expert tips to help children cope with common fears and phobias.
Everyone has fears in their lives and whether its a fear of the dark, a fear of spiders or a fear of heights, fear is a healthy response to what your body perceives as danger. Kidspot shares why its when our fears become phobias that we need to develop ways of dealing with these strong reactions so they dont take over our lives.
Fears vs phobias
Fear is an emotion experienced as a result of a perceived threat. One of our most basic survival mechanisms, fear is what tells us that we are in a potentially dangerous situation and is a healthy and normal reaction.
Phobias are an intense fear of something that actually poses no real danger. Phobias are involuntary and create an inappropriate sense of irrational terror.
When does a fear become a phobia?
Everyone experiences rational fear it is an essential survival mechanism but it is when fears become irrational that they turn into phobias. Irrational fears are not helpful in any way and can begin to dictate how you live your life. Phobias can become extremely disruptive to day-to-day life as the irrationality of fear can lead to avoidance by the sufferer. Most phobias plant their seeds during childhood, but they can also develop in adulthood.
Signs of phobia usually include anxiety-related symptoms such as:
Fears and phobias in children
Top tips for staying on top of phobias
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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Signs And Symptoms Of Phobias
The symptoms of a phobia can range from mild feelings of apprehension and anxiety to a full-blown panic attack. Typically, the closer you are to the thing youre afraid of, the greater your fear will be. Your fear will also be higher if getting away is difficult.
Physical symptoms of a phobia include:
- Difficulty breathing
Emotional symptoms of a phobia include:
- Feeling overwhelming anxiety or panic
- Feeling intense need to escape
- Feeling unreal or detached from yourself
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
- Feeling like youre going to die or pass out
- Knowing that youre overreacting, but feeling powerless to control fear
Symptoms of blood-injection-injury phobia
The symptoms of blood-injection-injury phobia are slightly different from other phobias. When confronted with the sight of blood or a needle, you experience not only fear, but also disgust.
Like other phobias, you initially feel anxious as your heart speeds up. However, unlike other phobias, this acceleration is followed by a quick drop in blood pressure, which leads to nausea, dizziness, and fainting. Although a fear of fainting is common in all specific phobias, blood-injection-injury phobia is the only phobia where fainting can actually occur.
What Is An Imprint And How Does It Impact Us
When you are a small child, if something traumatic happens or you have a very upset adult or screaming and crying going on, the child forms an imprint. The clients first imprint was: Cats are really scary and they kill children.
Some years later she was in the garden and there was a cat there. She wanted to look at the cat, but her father shouted, Don’t touch it. They scratch you and they carry disease. If they scratch you might get septicemia and that can kill you. So the reinforcing message she took from that was that cats can kill you.
It’s actually very unlikely a cat could kill you. However, this client formed a full-blown phobia, reinforced by the fact that every time the father saw a cat he got really upset, screaming and shouting that they are dirty, they scratch and bite. So after we had a look at this, she could understand where her phobia came from. I worked with her so that she was able to let it go, to realize that it was no longer relevant to her life, that it was her fathers fear not hers, and that she had the power and choice to change her mind.
After the session, downstairs we went, and indeed she had my cat in her arms like a baby. I happened to have a cat who loved being held. Off she went to Morocco, her whole life was changed because she got over the fear of cats.
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What Are The Words You Use Around The Phobia
If you have a fear or phobia, look at the words you say about it. I had this lovely guy who had cancer but could not go in the scanner. He said Every time I go in it, I feel like I’m in my coffin and I’m going to die. I have to press the button and come out because I’m so claustrophobic, I can’t do it. The hospital said that he had to go in the scanner, to see if his cancer treatment was working. He said I can’t. I’ve tried, but the minute that drawer goes in I tell myself I’m in my coffin, it’s like a premonition, I’m going to die of cancer and I have to get out. You see what he was doing with the pictures and words he was using, saying I can’t and linking it to dying.
I gave him a really easy simple solution. I told him You are going to get in that scanner and go wow, how lovely, I’ve got 30 minutes to relax. Imagine you are in bed. Tell yourself I’m super chilled, this is so relaxing. I’m just going to lie here and do nothing, it is wonderful and I can easily do it. I am choosing to lie in this scanner and tell my brain this is just like being in bed. When I’m in my bed at home I lie still, I relax, stress drains away.
When he went into a hospital and did it, the whole medical team gave him a standing ovation, because he’d never been able to do it before. He said that meant more to him than all of his businesses.
What Is Masterclass Actually Selling
The ads are everywhere. You can learn to serve like Serena Williams or write like Margaret Atwood. But what MasterClass really delivers is something altogether different.
Image above, clockwise from top left: MasterClass instructors Serena Williams Natalie Portman Gordon Ramsay Malcolm Gladwell
Sometimes an advertisement is so perfectly tailored to a cultural moment that it casts that moment into stark relief, which is how I felt upon first seeing an ad for the mega-best-selling writer James Pattersons course on MasterClass a few years ago. In the ad, Patterson is sitting at a table, reciting a twisty opening line in voice-over. Then an overhead shot of him gazing out a window, lost in thought like a character in a movie. A title card appears: Imagine taking a writing class from a master. It didnt matter that Id never read a book by Patterson beforeI was hooked. What appealed to me was not whatever actionable thriller-writing tips I might glean, but rather the promise of his story, the story of how a writer becomes a mogul. Any hapless, hand-to-mouth mid-lister can provide instructions on outlining a novel. MasterClass dangled something else, a clear-cut path out of the precariat, the magic-bean shortcut to a fairy-tale endingthe secret to ever-elusive success.
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Anxiety Disorder And Anxiety Disorders
Barlow defines anxiety as a future-oriented emotion that is characterized by the inability to be in control and predict future events that can be potentially dangerous to the individual. Anxiety shares commonalities with fear, but the difference between the two being that fear is the initial response made from a present threat, where anxiety is due to a unknown future event. A common
What Causes Claustrophobia
What causes claustrophobia isnt fully understood. Researchers believe causes might include:
- A traumatic event as a child: Some adults with claustrophobia report one or more events where they were trapped or confined to a tight space as a child.
- A triggering event after childhood: You may have had a triggering event such as you got stuck in an elevator or experienced severe turbulence on an airplane.
- Childhood exposure to a parents claustrophobia: You may develop claustrophobia if you felt the anxieties of one of your parents reaction to confined spaces.
Technically, scientists believe neurochemicals overstimulate an area of your brain your amygdala in the presence of fear. Theres also thought that a single genetic mutation can increase your risk of claustrophobia if you have that gene defect.
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