Understanding and Treating Phobias

Phobia is a common term, often used in passing, to refer to trivial or minor fears. Someone might have an aversion or fear towards a concept like heights or insects, but that does not make it a diagnosable phobia. A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, defined by a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation. The phobia typically results in a rapid onset of fear and is present for more than six months. In most cases, phobias develop as a result of frightening or stressful situations and is an extreme stress response.

Common Phobias

Due to the nature of the environment we live in, there are an infinite number of things that people can develop phobias towards. Some common examples are agoraphobia (an intense fear of going outside), Blood Injury and Injection (BII) phobia (fear of injections/blood) and arachnophobia(fear of spiders). Researchers have found that phobias are linked to the area of our brain that controls the well-known fight-or-flight response system. If the phobia is tied to a traumatic event, usually something goes wrong in the retrieval of that memory that causes extreme anxiety. Phobias usually arise more commonly in those from 4-8 years of age, and seldom after 30, but that does not mean it is impossible; it is possible that instead of phobias people develop other
kinds of disorders like PTSD or depression.

Therapy Options

Luckily, there are treatments for those who are brave enough to seek them out. The most effective treatment is exposure therapy, which slowly brings people to face their fears and in a protected environment. This helps an individual recondition their fears to at least a lower or tolerable level. The biggest goal for these kinds of therapy is to get a patient to feel comfortable and take their lives back from their fears, so that they can return to a life without those fears. There are also some medications like beta blockers and antidepressants that can be prescribed in order to help someone to cope with their anxiety; however, this does not deal with the problem at its source and can come with side effects of the medications. This is why it is advisable to couple medication with therapy and the work that comes with it.

It is possible to overcome even your deepest fears with lots of support. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue, please feel free to contact the professional team at Lifeline Connections for help! Getting yourself help, whether it is through self-help or by reaching out to professionals is an important part of recognizing that you are struggling and is a good step forward to get the help that you need. You can visit Lifelineconnections.org or call 360.397.8246 for more information.

Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/249347.php

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