It is normal and sometimes helpful to experience fear in dangerous situations, as it is an adaptive human response, but when these fears have gone beyond control and are greatly exaggerated or non-existent, they can now be referred to as phobias.
Phobias are overwhelming and unreasonable fear of an object or situation that in reality, poses little danger or no actual danger, provoking one’s anxiety and avoidance. Phobias can affect an individual’s ability to perform normally at work, school and other places he/she may find himself or herself.
Phobias affect people of all ages and can include the fear of people, activities, places, and things.
Though not all phobias need treatment, but if a phobia affects your daily life, several therapies and self-help strategies that can help you get rid of your fears are available.
Symptoms of phobias could range from mild feelings of apprehension and anxiety to a full-blown panic attack. Other symptoms include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- An overwhelming desire to go away
- Trembling or shaking
- Tingling sensations
Causes of Phobias
The actual cause of most phobias is still unknown. However, due to genetics or learned behaviour, a link does seem to appear between an individual’s phobia and that of his/her parents.
Individuals with genetic predisposition to anxiety may be at a high risk of developing phobias as earlier stated. However, other risk factors include:
- Socioeconomic status
- Traumatic events
Medications or therapies may be suggested by doctors or mental health providers for treatment of phobias. These medications help in controlling the anxiety and panic from thinking about or being exposed to the object or situation you fear.
Medications like Beta blockers, anti-depressants or sedatives may be administered to help you fight your phobia.
Phobias could be very frustrating and embarrassing as the tension an inability to control oneself increases in those situations. Get to know your phobia and seek medical help. In our next article, different types of phobias and few remedies would be discussed.