Posted on Aug 16, 2021 | Author Dr. Bhavna Barmi

A phobia is an illogical and excessive fear reaction. When you confront the source of your fear if you have a phobia, you may feel a deep sensation of dread or panic. A dread of a certain location, scenario, or thing can exist. 

A phobia, unlike generalized anxiety disorders, is usually associated with something specific. 

Its effects might range from irritating to profoundly detrimental. 

People with phobias are typically aware that their dread is "unjustified", yet they are unable to change it. 

Work, education, and personal relationships can all be hampered by such worries. 

If a phobia gets serious enough, a person's life may get organised around avoiding the source of their worry. It can also create a great deal of distress in addition to limiting the person's day-to-day activities.

A phobia rarely begins after the age of 30. The majority of them start in early childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood. A stressful event, a frightening occurrence, or a parent or household member with a phobia that a youngster can learn can all trigger them.

There has not been a single fear gene discovered, and it is exceedingly improbable that a single gene is to blame for it. Rather, genetic variations in a number of genes may predispose a person to a variety of psychological symptoms and illnesses, including particular phobia.As a result of a painful or terrible prior experience, even witnessing or hearing about a traumatic event can have an impact on how it develops. For example, seeing a tragic plane crash on the news may cause a phobia of flying. 

Phobias are also said to be "learned" at times from a young age. For example, if someone in your family has an arachnophobia fear of spiders, you may get the same fear.

Although most phobias can be treated, no single treatment is guaranteed to work for all of them. It is possible that a combination of treatments will be prescribed in some circumstances. 

There are a few common treatment options that usually get discussed as medication for it. 

Treatments involving talking, such as counselling, are often quite useful in the treatment of phobias. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and mindfulness, in particular, have been demonstrated to be particularly useful in the treatment of phobias. Because talking therapies are usually effective and have no adverse effects, medication is not normally suggested for treating phobias. However, medicine is sometimes administered to address the symptoms of phobias, such as anxiety, on a short-term basis. 

Simple lifestyle modifications can assist to alleviate the symptoms of phobias, such as panic attacks. Regular exercise, eating regular, balanced meals, getting adequate sleep, and decreasing or eliminating caffeine and other stimulants are all examples of this. 

Another option is to use exposure treatment, which is gradually increasing the amount of time you are exposed to your phobia. If you have agoraphobia, or a fear of open spaces and public places, for example, you can start by going outside for a brief time before progressively increasing the amount of time you spend outside and the distance you travel from your home. 

Exposure therapy can help you manage your anxiety in a highly effective way. And as a part of self care you can practice relaxation techniques – a set of physical activities that help you relax and manage your breathing; visualisation – combines relaxation and breathing techniques with mentally visualising how you will successfully deal with a scenario that may create anxiety. 

Self-help groups are a good method to meet people who have had similar experiences and share coping strategies.

If you are experiencing any of these uncomfortable thoughts or feelings as a result of your phobia, know that you can get better with the right treatment. A phobia, like any mental condition, has the potential to have far-reaching consequences. Treatment for the phobia will gradually aid in the reduction of negative sentiments such as humiliation and powerlessness, leading to a healthier life.

The author is a clinical psychologist , HOD, Stress and Well-being Clinics at Fortis Group of Hospitals, India


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