Phobias: When The Fear Of An Object, Place Or Situation Interferes With Daily Living

Phobias: When The Fear Of An Object, Place Or Situation Interferes With Daily Living

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  1. Phobias: When The Fear Of An Object, Place Or Situation Interferes With Daily Living

    Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, this may look like a very large typo when in fact it is the name of a phobia. People that have a fear of long words will be given this “long word” diagnosis. Long words, string, ghosts, and dust are only a handful of the things some people have a fear of.

    Several types of phobias exist. Some people fear large, open spaces. Others are unable to tolerate certain social situations. And still others have a specific phobia, such as a fear of snakes, elevators or flying.

    Not all phobias need treatment, but if a phobia affects your daily life, a number of therapies are available that can help you overcome your fears — often permanently.

    When the fear of an object, place or situation becomes overwhelming and unreasonable or to the point where it interferes in the individuals daily living, it is called a phobia. Feelings of anxiety are normal for the majority of people when in an uncomfortable situation such as taking a difficult test or giving a speech in front of a crowd, however, when someone has a phobia the anxiety becomes overbearing and will interfere with daily life.

    The list of phobias is extensive and includes everything from Ablutophobia (fear of washing or bathing) to Zoophobia (fear of animals). Arachnophobia, the Fear of spiders or Acrophobia, the fear of heights are two of the more common phobias people often associate a phobia with. There are, however, literally hundreds of common and unusual phobias but, they are all placed in one of three specific categories.

    Social phobia. This is not simply being shy, it is an overwhelming fear of the possible outcome when in public. The person will fear humiliation or being scrutinized in public. They have an overwhelming fear of others thing negative of them. An individual with a social phobia will avoid all interactions with others, for example family gatherings or work related activities.

    Agoraphobia. This will typically occur after someone has had a severe panic attack while being outside of their home. The person fears there will not be a means of escape should they have a panic attack while in a public location.

    Specific phobias. This includes phobias relating to a specific person, place or thing. Examples of specific phobias would include, fear of storms, tunnels, bridges, snakes, spiders, small spaces or doctors, to name a few.

    A phobia will produce symptoms such as, an overwhelming feeling to whatever is necessary to avoid what you fear, unable to function in daily living because of the anxiety, sweating, rapid heartbeat, difficulties breathing, intense anxiety and panic. In some situations anxiety will occur just by thinking about the fear and become overwhelmed with anxiety when becoming aware of the fear without being able to control the feelings. The primary symptom is anxiety which begins as an uncomfortable feeling when first encountering the fear, the anxiety then becomes extremely intense.

    The actual cause of a phobia is not known, however, research has shown there is a relationship between the phobias someone experiences with the phobias their parents experience. Many phobias are developed when in childhood from observing the parents fear, for example fearing spiders from watching how their parents reacted to spiders. Research has also shown that traumatic experiences, brain chemicals and genetics can be related to a development of phobias.

    Treatment of phobias is available in several different forms including therapy and/or medications. Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be successful treatment for helping the person alter their thinking patterns in relationship to the phobia. Several different medications have been shown to be effective when treating phobias including the SSRI medications which affect levels of serotonin in the brain. The type of medication and therapy will vary for each individual and their specific phobia.

    Those suffering with phobia can overcome their fear with positive thinking, therapy and/or medications. Talking about the fear and admitting that it has become an interference in daily living is the first step. When the phobia has taken control of your life and you are unable to control the fears, for example if you are consistently late for work because you take a different route to avoid a bridge, this is interfering with life style and it is recommended that the fears be discussed with a medical professional.


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