Phobia is an excessive and irrational fear reaction. An individual that has a phobia may experience a deep sense of dread or panic when they encounter the source of fear. Phobia is usually a result of something in particular.
Causes of Phobia
- Genetic and environmental factors can cause phobias.
- Distressing events, like nearly drowning, can bring about phobia.
- Exposure to confined areas, extreme heights, and animal or insect bites can all be sources of phobias.
- Medical conditions or some health issues can cause phobias.
Risk factor of phobia
- Genetic predisposition.
- Socioeconomic status
Signs and symptoms
- Pounding or racing heart
- Shortness Of Breath
- Rapid speech Or inability to talk
- Dry mouth
- Upset abdomen
- Elevated vital signs especially blood pressure
- Trembling or shaking
- Chest pain or tightness of chest
- A choking sensation
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Profuse sweating
- A sense of impending doom
Types of Phobia
Below are some types of phobia:
- Agoraphobia: Agoraphobia is a fear of places or situations that you can’t escape from. People with agoraphobia fear being in large crowds or trapped outside the home. They often avoid social situations altogether and stay inside their home.
- Social phobia: Social phobia is also referred to as social anxiety disorder. It’s extreme worry about social situations and it can lead to self-isolation.
- Acrophobia: This is the fear of heights. People with this phobia avoid mountains, bridges, or the higher floors of buildings.
- Aviophobia: This is also known as the fear of flying. They are scared of air transportation.
- Hemophobia: This is a phobia of blood or injury. A person who has hemophobia may faint when they come in contact with their own blood or another person’s blood.
- Cynophobia: This is a fear of dogs.
- Nyctophobia: This phobia is a fear of the nighttime or darkness. It almost always begins as a typical childhood fear. When it progresses past adolescence, it’s considered a phobia.
Common Criteria for diagnosis of Phobia
- Life-Limiting: A phobia is not diagnosed unless it significantly impacts the individual’s life or stops them from performing activities of daily living.
- Avoidance: Individual attempts to avoid the feared situation and this can be an important criterion for diagnosing a phobia.
- Anticipatory Anxiety: Individual tend to dwell on upcoming events that may feature the feared object or situation and start getting scared even before the event takes place.
Treatment of Phobia
Treatment for phobias can involve using therapeutic techniques, medications, or a combination. They include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the mostly used therapeutic treatment for phobias. This involves exposure to the source of the fear that causes the said phobia in a controlled setting.
- Medications: Medications like some antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can help calm emotional and physical reactions to fear.
- Face your fear” strategy: It’s known as “desensitization” or “self-exposure therapy”, gradual exposure to the source of the fear can reduce the fear feeling the person has.
Complications of Phobia include:
- Social isolation
- Mood disorder
- Substance abuse