Registered Kingston charity, Voices of Hope, has offered hope and support to people facing challenges in their daily lives through community choirs and well-being projects since 2019.

The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic saw the charity rise to the occasion and quickly change direction. As it became clear that the virus was leaving many people suffering with the Long COVID symptoms of breathlessness, disordered breathing, fatigue and anxiety, they established the Active Breathing Course (ABC). The course helps attendees recovering from Long COVID or long-term respiratory conditions to restore lung function and capacity, as well as muscle support, using breathing and singing techniques.

Sarah Clay, founder and CEO of Voices of Hope, explains: “Voices of Hope aims to help anyone who might be struggling, whether recovering from violence and abuse, dealing with long-term mental and physical health challenges, facing financial hardship or breaking the destructive cycle of isolation and social anxiety. In all of these things, we believe that hope is the seed of change.

“As the pandemic arrived, we had to put all of our projects on hold and think about how we could continue best serving our local community. One way was by setting up the ABC, which in one year has helped almost 360 UK and 140 Kingston-based residents gain relief from some of their COVID-19 symptoms and other respiratory conditions such as asthma. It has also proved to be helpful for people struggling with anxiety.”

On the six-week ABC attendees learn valuable breathing and singing techniques to help manage symptoms as well as receiving support from course tutors and other attendees. The course takes self-referrals but people are also referred by GPs, clinicians at Kingston Hospital and physiotherapists due to its successful impact on people’s breathing capacity.

Kingston GP, Dr Annette Pautz, said: “So many people have had COVID-19 and have been left with on-going symptoms. It will be so important for these people, once they have had any necessary medical investigations and treatment, to be able to attend courses like the ABC programme. As GPs, the programme provides a valuable local service for us to be able to refer patients into to offer them further support in a non-medical environment and to help them get the best possible outcomes.”

Paul Cox, a local resident who has completed the course, added: “Even though I had been extremely fit and active, COVID had a severe effect on my life in that I couldn’t exercise; I struggled even to ascend the stairs. I was unsure whether attending the course would help me or not because it had been so long since I developed the virus, but the first thing I found was that I very much enjoyed being on the course because there was interaction with people in a similar position to mine. To my delight, I experienced change on a weekly basis.”

“I certainly have more hope for my condition since I did the course because all the symptoms have gone except for some of the shortness of breath which does persist. I hope that many people may enjoy the benefits from the course that I have.”

To find out more about the course, visit: Voices of Hope (

To access the course fill out the form here. Once it is submitted you will be sent an email with a referral code that can be used to login to the course.

Voices of Hope is just one of the local services that can help if you have Long COVID. To find out more about the condition and a range of local services, visit: Long COVID recovery – South West London Health and Care Partnership (

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Mental health conditions may interfere with blood pressure and heart rate, a new study finds. Vladimir Tsarkov/Stocksy
  • Apart from affecting psychological well-being, mental health conditions can also interfere with the body’s autonomic functions, creating physiological problems.
  • Previous studies have found that people with mental health conditions commonly experience reduced heart rate variation (HRV), which can indicate a poor stress response.
  • A new systematic review draws a link between mental illness and widely fluctuating blood pressure, which can lead to cardiovascular disease.

A new study has found that people with mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety may be more prone to experience cardiovascular problems.

Researchers behind this systematic review, published in the journal BioMedical Engineering, observed that mental health conditions may have an impact on autonomic functions, which may cause blood pressure to widely fluctuate.

Research so far has on the relationship between blood pressure variability (BPV) and mental illness has been limited. This is important as BPV has been associated with coronary disease.

The study also adds to existing research establishing a link between mental health and physical well-being.

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is a complex network of cells that regulate involuntary physiologic processes like maintaining a constant internal temperature, regulating breathing patterns, keeping blood pressure steady, and moderating the heart rate.

Autonomic dysfunction is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Doctors assess heart rate variability (HRV), which is controlled by the ANS, to see the duration in time between heartbeats. Having a constantly changing heart rate has been linked with having a healthy regulatory system.

Correspondingly, a number of studies have reported an association between reduced HRV and depression and anxiety disorders — including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

For their review, the researchers searched four electronic databases for studies investigating BPV in individuals with mental illness who did not have hypertension. They found 12 studies that met the criteria.

Of the 12 studies, seven measured ultrashort term BPV (beat-to-beat blood pressure measurement over seconds to minutes), three measured short-term BPV (blood pressure fluctuations that occur over a 24-hour time period), and two measured long-term BPV (fluctuations that occur over days, weeks, or even years).

Five of the studies assessed BPV in adults aged 55 and older while the remaining studies assessed BPV in adults between the ages of 18 and 46.

People with depression or anxiety had high BPV in the studies that measured short-term BPV. The studies measuring ultra-short-term BPV also found a significant association between BPV and mental illness.

The two studies that measured long-term BPV had mixed results, meaning the association between mental health conditions and long-term BPV is less clear.

The researchers from the University of South Australia and several universities in Malaysia write that early therapeutic intervention for mental illness “may prevent diseases associated with autonomic dysregulation and reduce the likelihood of negative cardiac outcomes.”

Dr. Richard Wright, a cardiologist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center, told Medical News Today that the systematic review illustrates how mental illness, “at least in theory”, makes patients “more prone to having cardiac issues that we normally only think would be attributable to atherosclerosis, and hypertension, old age, [etc.].”

“I think that’s the main importance of this kind of an analysis: to point out that there are physical ramifications of these emotional issues,” he said.

Dr. Wright said additional research on what to do about the association between mental health and cardiovascular health would be helpful for healthcare practitioners.

“If you’re chronically depressed and you have these issues where the autonomic nervous system is messed up, do you get better if your depression goes away?” he asked.

Specifically, he said would like to see studies on whether BPV variability decreases with mental health treatments like talk therapy, meditation, or medication.

Dr. Cristen Wathen, an assistant professor in the counseling department at Palo Alto University, wasn’t surprised by the conclusions the researchers drew from their systematic review.

“When we are consistently in chronic stress, which is typical of people who have been diagnosed with [anxiety and depression], then our bodies are releasing stress hormones, cortisol, epinephrine,” she told MNT.

“If we’re in that constant state of chronic stress [due to anxiety and depression], then that’s going to relate to our physical health.”
— Dr. Cristen Wathen

Dr. Wathen said she would have liked to have seen more detailed insight into the study participants’ races and socioeconomic statuses.

“There’s so much that’s related to poverty, oppression, trauma, like generational trauma, and access to healthcare, that also can lead to more experiences of chronic stress,” she pointed out.

Even without that information, however, Dr. Wathen felt the study highlighted a weakness of the American healthcare system.

“It speaks to the need for there to be more integrated care and coordination between mental health professionals and medical professionals because of how related our physical health and our mental health is,” she said.

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By Tahnee Jash of the ABC

After two years of dodging Covid-19, Ashley Brown found herself struggling recently with some of the worst cold-like symptoms she'd ever experienced.

Husband housekeeping and cleaning concept, Happy young man in blue rubber gloves wiping dust using a spray and a duster while cleaning on floor at home.

Research shows Covid-19 doesn't survive long on surfaces.
Photo: 123rf

Then, she tested positive to Covid.

"The first few days were awful. I had every symptom you could imagine. I couldn't eat or sleep, was severely fatigued and had shortness of breath," she says.

By day five she felt a slight shift in her energy levels. She missed her family and friends while she was isolating in her apartment alone and it made her determined to get better and back to normal.

"I opened all the windows and disinfected everything: My towels, pillows, blankets as well as the cushions in my lounge room. It was like a mini spring clean," she says.

"I mopped the floor and wiped down all the benches, door handles and light switches in my house.

"Because my symptoms were still there by the second week, I cleaned my house again."

Ashley hopes her mum can come over to visit soon, and so she's taken extra precautions to clean her house given that her mum is immunocompromised.

People with compromised immunity have an increased risk of severe symptoms and treatments may be delayed if they are forced to quarantine.

"My mum has chronic diabetes and while we've had some medical scares in the past, she's now at a good point where she's learned how to manage it," she says.

"I only have one mum and I wouldn't forgive myself if she got really sick."

Cleaning your house after having Covid

Research shows Covid-19 doesn't survive long on surfaces.

Depending on where it's found, the virus only lasts a couple of hours and in some instances a few days. To survive, it needs a "host" and the longer it's been on that surface, the less infectious it is.

Despite this, there's still some social anxiety around catching Covid from surfaces.

When Covid first broke out, there was plenty of advice about how to keep yourself safe. At the time, it included washing your hands, high-touch surfaces and wiping any items brought into your home.

It's partly why cleaning product purchases rose by 50 per cent in 2020. Yet the Doherty Institute reported that 80 per cent of survey respondents did not feel they knew how to thoroughly clean their home after having Covid.

Dr Paul Griffin, an infectious diseases specialist and microbiologist with the University of Queensland, says "deep cleans" (to remove dirt and bacteria from surfaces not cleaned regularly) aren't as necessary anymore.

"We learned more about this virus every day from when it was first discovered," Dr Griffin says.

"While there's talk about deep cleans, and we saw pictures of people with fogging machines we [now know] that surface transmission has been shown to be a lot less important."

Dr Griffin says simply wiping down surfaces with your household disinfectants will do a great job.

"What we typically recommend is just a simple wipe over of high touch surfaces like countertops and door handles [with disinfectant products]."

"If we're trying to decontaminate our home environment, in-wash disinfectants [for clothes etc.] are useful as is simply hanging things on the line to let the sun get on them. But [it's] not a common way of [Covid] transmission."

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Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Ventilation is key

The most common way to catch the coronavirus is through tiny droplets in the air passed through close contact.

Dr Griffin recommends sitting outside if you have people visit soon after your isolation period, maintaining social distancing and avoiding "high risk environments, like prolonged indoor close contact".

"Opening windows helps dilute the amount of virus that's around or even purchasing an air purifier with HEPA filtration will basically clean the air inside your home," Dr Griffin says.

If you're using your air conditioner or ducted system while infectious, opening the windows while it's on can be helpful too.

"It can potentially [transmit through that system], although that's not the most common method of transmission. Have the air moving [around your home] and look at opening the window, and have fans on or consider getting an air purifier so it can improve ventilation," he says.

With flu season just around the corner, Dr Griffin recommends having an air purifier not only to help with Covid but with influenza too.

How long should you wait to visit someone after having Covid?

Current New Zealand health advice is you need to isolate at least seven days after you have received a positive Covid-19 result.

"[The] bulk of the symptoms should resolve within that time but there are a lot of symptoms that can persist, that we don't tend to associate with being infectious [like] fatigue and a dry cough," Dr Griffin says.

Ashley hasn't seen her mum for over three weeks and while she's no longer infectious, it's the lingering symptoms she's worried about.

"I've tested negative now but wouldn't feel comfortable inviting mum over until my symptoms are gone. Knowing I've thoroughly cleaned the house and my car after having Covid makes me feel a lot better," she says.

If you're visiting someone in an apartment block or shared housing, there's a higher risk of spaces like lifts and hallways could be be contaminated, so it's good to take extra precautions.

"Doing your hand hygiene really well will protect those people from potentially being infected, if there are contaminated surfaces," Dr Griffin says.

"They could also consider wearing a mask so if the air is contaminated, they're going to reduce their chance of breathing it in."


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This week, it's all about finding a meditation technique that works for you.

You’ve tuned in to week three of our series on meditating your way to itch-free skin. Another week of meditation work calls for another extension to your meditation sessions. Add just a few more minutes—you should be up to around 10 by now. If you’re just now joining us, click back to week one and week two of this challenge to learn how to get started.

We’re not talking about nixing your psoriasis treatment protocol in favor of a mind-body approach to healing. But since stress is a common trigger for psoriasis flare-ups, per the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, it makes sense that reducing stress via something like meditation can allow your body to be in a place where you can really maximize your treatment strategies. It’s something Reena Ruparelia, of Toronto, Ontario, knows well. The lifelong psoriasis warrior discovered meditation a decade ago on a silent retreat (meant to ease her work-related stress) and she’s never looked back. Meditation helped transform the way she thought about her skin so much so that she became a meditation coach to help other people harness mindfulness to reduce stress and improve both their mental health and skin health.

Evan Rieder, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Langone Health in New York City, often recommends mindful breathing techniques to his psoriasis patients to help them get a handle on their stress, which is a very common trigger for the skin condition. He recommends incorporating deep breathing exercises three times a day, so even if it’s just a minute or two each time, it can help reset your body and brain. This week, Dr. Rieder explains some of the specific techniques he recommends that you can do anytime, anywhere.

Goal: 10 Minutes-a-Day of Meditation

Wondering how you’ll fit this extra meditative time into your day? Try splitting those 10 minutes up, which means you’ll be meditating more often but for short durations. Maybe set aside a few minutes in the morning and then another few in the evening. Or try for midday, when you could really use a calming breath or two. Better yet: Do it all three times.

Since you’re adding more time and potentially more sessions, you may be looking for something else to do besides just breathing. There are far more meditation techniques than just breath work—though you’ll use that in everything else you do, which is why it’s best to focus on that when you’re just starting. We already talked about imagery, but other more physical tactics like body scanning, progressive muscle relaxation, and positive affirmations can all add to your stress-relieving routine and maximize the benefits for your brain and body.

Make a Mantra

Mantras are the proof of the power of positive thinking. For Ruparelia, getting a handle on her psoriasis and preventing it from consuming her thoughts required a lot of work retraining her thinking. Breath work was a good start, but she really had to dig deep and detangle her thoughts and beliefs about herself and her skin to get to a place of acceptance and self-love. Mantras are a great way to redirect your thinking and change your outlook in the moment, and ultimately, long term.

For example, Ruparelia shares that she used to have a ton of social anxiety. “I have psoriasis on my hands and I was working in HR, so I had so much anxiety about meeting new people, shaking hands, networking,” she shares. “I thought, ‘What will they think when they see my skin?’” Same thing whenever she had to wear a dress to a wedding or social event. So, she started doing breath work and repeating positive affirmations over and over to herself. “I remember riding a bus for the first time in shorts, holding onto the railing and saying, ‘I love and accept myself.’ I had to keep doing it because I was so nervous.”

For Ruparelia, this had a real “fake it till you make it” effect. “Meditation helped me with calming some of those immediate overwhelming sensations, and I started to convince myself that I believed the things I said if I said them enough,” she says. “Putting on the confidence was like putting on a costume and [I used my thoughts] to remind me that everything was OK.” Research shows that anxiety and depression are common in people with psoriasis (and can exacerbate the condition), so it can be especially helpful to have these coping tools on hand to reduce negative feelings and stop you from spiraling during a flare. Of course, while meditation can definitely help, it’s important to talk with your health care provider about any mental health symptoms you're experiencing so they can help you get the treatment you need.

Do a Body Scan

The body scan is an easy add to your breath work that will just get you focusing on how your body feels. Again, you’re not there to judge, just simply to observe how your body feels today in this very moment. Ruparelia recommends adding the body scan to your breath work if you’re curious to explore more in your meditation routine. Start by scanning the top of your head, then move slowly to your torso, to your legs, and to your feet. Your meditation app likely has some guided body scans that can help you get started.

Try Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Dr. Rieder recommends this to his patients who need some help reigning in stress levels. It involves tensing one group of muscles at a time as you breathe in, and then relaxing them as you breathe out, before moving onto the next muscle group. You start with your hands and move up your arms to your head and then back down your torso to your legs. So instead of focusing just on your breath, you’re also focusing on bringing awareness to your body.

And it’s really effective. “What happens is there's a feedback mechanism that happens on the HPA axis, which is the axis of stress. In times of stress, that gets upregulated and anything you can do to break down that cycle is good,” he explains. When you breathe deeply or do progressive muscle relaxation, you’re essentially disrupting that feedback loop that happens when you’re stressed, he adds.

If you can, Dr. Rieder suggests using this technique twice a day: Once in the morning before you start your day, and once before bed to help you wind down. “People are often not able to finish their muscle relaxation because they fall asleep,” he says. Sounds dreamy... and worth a shot!

Amy Marturana Winderl

Meet Our Writer

Amy Marturana Winderl

Amy is a freelance journalist and certified personal trainer. She covers a wide range of health topics, including fitness, health conditions, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, nutrition, and more. Her work has appeared on SELF, Bicycling, Health, and other publications. When she's not busy writing or editing, you can find her hiking, cooking, running, or lounging on the couch watching the latest true crime show on Netflix.

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As you help your kids navigate a return to pre-pandemic activities, medical experts say there are some common health issues they may face Jamie Grill Atlas/Stocksy United
  • Children’s physical and mental health has been affected by the pandemic.
  • Research has found significant increases in anxiety and depression in children from 2019 to 2020.
  • Experts share the most common health concerns to watch out for and ways to help kids acclimate.

As kids return to more pre-pandemic activities such as in-person learning and socializing in larger groups, experts warn that they may face certain health challenges.

A study published in JAMA Pediatrics looked at recent trends in children’s health-related measures, including significant changes between 2019 and 2020 that might be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as trends over a four-year period.

The findings pointed to several areas of concern, including a significant increase in anxiety and depression in children between 2016 and 2020.

The researchers noted that more analysis is needed to elucidate varying patterns within subpopulations, however, they stressed the need for children to have access to timely healthcare services, as well as the importance of promoting healthy behaviors, and supporting parents in finding ways to strengthen family well-being.

As you help your kids navigate a return to pre-pandemic activities, the following are some of the common health issues kids may face and what parents can do to help.

Dr. Steven Abelowitz, pediatrician and regional medical director of Coastal Kids Pediatrics, said kids have experienced behavioral, emotional, and developmental effects whether they had COVID-19 or not.

As a pediatrician, he has seen a significant increase in anxiety and depression in children and teenagers.

“Both in those children that had the illness but also in those that never got COVID but experienced living through the pandemic. A lot of this is also likely due to the social isolation many children experienced,” Abelowitz told Healthline.

As kids move from the bubble of their homes to the outside world again, Deborah Serani, PsyD, psychologist and professor at Adelphi University, said to be aware that a certain amount of worry, anxiety, and sadness are normal and expected.

She noted that kids may find it hard to unlearn many of the avoidance habits they’ve created to deal with the pandemic.

“While some children may move back into social and emotional connections as if the pandemic never happened, others will find re-connecting causes anxiety and insecurity. For those who experience this social anxiety, take small steps to help you feel confident as you greet, meet, and share time with others,” she told Healthline.

Additionally, many children will be grieving from losing loved ones to COVID-19 or feeling like so much time has been lost from the pandemic.

“Many will grieve missing moments of graduations, proms, birthdays, weddings, and other meaningful events,” Serani said.

Ways parents can help kids might include the following, according to Serani:

  • Reminding them of the resilience they’ve demonstrated during the pandemic
  • Creating an open dialogue within your family to talk about how re-emerging into the world is going
  • Learning about the signs of anxiety, depression, and feelings of hopelessness in children
  • Seeking professional help for your child

“While moving back into the world can and should feel hopeful, it can cause a surge of despair for some kids, especially if things are not easy and manageable in the post-COVID world. This is where contacting a mental health professional can help,” Serani said.

Children have faced increased academic and developmental challenges during the pandemic, Abelowitz said. He explained that this is likely due to the disruptions in routines, closure of schools, and social isolation that they experienced.

“Also, research has shown that as economic conditions worsen, children’s mental health and development is negatively impacted,” he said.

The best defense against this is to seek extra help for kids if possible, such as assisting them with school work and time management or setting up tutoring if you are able to, and “safely returning to as much as possible of the child’s previous routine and academic setting. This includes school, sports groups, and social activities,” said Abelowitz.

Just as some adults ate more unhealthy foods during the pandemic, so did some kids.

“Eating has been limited by not always having access to healthy foods. So, now that we are emerging and supply chains are improving, be mindful about choosing healthier foods for yourself and your family,” said Serani.

She suggested trying to move past fretting about the weight gain your children may have experienced.

“Be patient as you assimilate healthier nutrition back into their life,” she said.

Ways to encourage healthier eating may include:

  • Getting back on a schedule of eating three meals a day
  • Involving your kids in creating the grocery list
  • Bringing them along to the grocery store
  • Soliciting their help with cooking dinner

Social distancing and pandemic restrictions have created a sedentary and passive lifestyle for many.

“As kids head back to school and the outdoors, you may notice that they get fatigued more quickly than before. Remind them to be kind to their body as it renews its stamina and muscle tone,” said Serani.

Encourage kids to ride their bikes, play at the park, roller skate, swim, go on walks or hikes, and if they are into sports or dance, get them back to playing or into classes.

Participating in family exercise together can also help jumpstart getting back into physical activity.

As preventative and chronic care were impacted by the pandemic, Abelowitz said the diagnosis of illnesses that could have been prevented were delayed or missed.

“And the conditions of many of the chronic pediatric patients worsened,” he said.

Additionally, he noted that as “a result of societal closures as well as newer difficulties with access to care, many children are now delayed with their vaccine schedule.”

Try to schedule physicals and annual visits with your children’s pediatrician as soon as possible. If you’re not able to see them in person, request a telemedicine visit to get access to chronic and preventive care for your child.

Many kids who developed COVID-19 recovered fully; however, Abelowitz said some children experience lingering effects, such as:

  • Breathing problems: Because COVID-19 most often affects the lungs, lingering respiratory symptoms from infection can be common. “These can include chest pain and a cough, as well as breathing difficulty with exercise. Some of the symptoms may last months or even longer,” said Abelowitz.
  • Physical fatigue: After developing COVID-19, some children may fatigue more easily and have less physical activity tolerance. “This fatigue can also last for months, but generally tends to improve over time,” he said.
  • Headaches: prolonged headaches after developing COVID-19 are common and can last for months, according to Abelowitz.
  • Mental fatigue or brain fog: Some children and teenagers may experience unclear thinking and concentration. “As a result, they may have school performance difficulties,” said Abelowitz.
  • Cardiac issues: Children who were diagnosed with myocarditis, which is the inflammation of the heart muscle, may continue to experience chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, and irregular heartbeats for months after developing COVID-19, explained Abelowitz.
  • Loss of smell and taste: suggest that bout 20 percent of children exhibit changes to their sense of smell and taste, which typically resolves a few weeks after developing COVID-19.

If your child experiences health effects after recovering from COVID-19, contacting their pediatrician or primary care provider for help is a good first step.

If you live near an academic hospital, reach out to see if they have a long COVID or post-COVID clinic. These clinics have clinicians who are focused on caring for patients with long COVID symptoms.

And don’t forget to keep your health in mind too, Abelowitz noted.

“Parents also need to be able to take care of their own physical, mental, and emotional well-being in order to properly take care of their children and any challenges they may be facing,” he said.

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A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder that causes excessive, marked, irrational fear of a specific object or situation. Someone with a phobia could be afraid of certain people, animals, objects, places, situations, activities, or interactions. 

Common symptoms of phobias include shortness of breath, panic, rapid heart rate, shaking or trembling, and the urge to flee. When people go to extreme lengths to avoid what makes them afraid, their daily functioning in work, school, and relationships can suffer.

Read on to learn more about phobias, including common types, rare types, and possible treatments.

Anna Frank / Getty Images

Types of Phobias

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), there are several different types of phobias. The three main types of phobias include:

  • Specific phobias: Specific phobias refer to an intense, persistent, and marked fear of a specific object or situation (such as flying, dogs, or heights). People with specific phobias may be aware that their anxiety is disproportionate or unnecessary but feel helpless to control their distress.
  • Agoraphobia: Agoraphobia refers to an intense fear of being in an environment where escape might be difficult or help unavailable in the event of developing panic-like or other incapacitating or embarrassing symptoms.
  • Social phobia: Also called social anxiety disorder, social phobia involves intense fear and self-consciousness in social situations. Social phobia can lead people to avoid speaking in public, attending events, meeting new people, or even seeking employment.

All three types of phobias fall under the broader category of anxiety disorders. About 30% of U.S. adults experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lifetime. Meanwhile, between 3% and 15% of people meet the diagnostic criteria for a specific phobia.

List of Common Phobias

Many phobias involve situations in which we sense a loss of control. Here is a list of common specific phobias for which people seek treatment:

  • Acrophobia: Fear of heights
  • Aerophobia: Fear of flying
  • Aquaphobia: Fear of water
  • Astraphobia: Fear of storms
  • Claustrophobia: Fear of confined or tight spaces
  • Dentophobia: Fear of dentists
  • Hemophobia: Fear of blood
  • Nosocomephobia: Fear of hospitals
  • Zoophobia: Fear of animals

Less Known Phobias

While you’ve probably heard of agoraphobia, claustrophobia, or animal phobias such as arachnophobia (fear of spiders) at some point, there are many other specific phobias. Some less well-known specific phobias include:

  • Medical phobias, such as nosophobia (fear of getting sick) and trypanophobia (fear of injections)
  • Sexual and bodily phobias, such as erotophobia (fear of sexual intimacy) and trichophobia (fear of hair)
  • Environmental phobias, such as thalassophobia (fear of the ocean) and xylophobia (fear of the forest)
  • Situational phobias, such as ergophobia (fear of work) and amaxophobia (fear of driving)

No matter how strange or unexpected your phobia may seem, help is available. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your healthcare provider for help with your anxiety symptoms.

Additional Phobias

This list of phobias is not meant to be comprehensive. Almost anything human beings experience in their everyday lives can become a source of fear or anxiety.

Phobia Treatment

There is no single known cause of phobias. In some cases, a traumatic event can trigger a persistent, intense fear. In other cases, phobias may run in families. 

However, phobias are usually treatable. Treatment for phobias may include:

  • Exposure therapy: This is a kind of behavioral therapy that involves gradually confronting the source of your anxiety in order to break the cycle of avoidance.
  • Psychotherapy: Specific psychotherapy approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in a group or individual setting may be helpful with phobias.
  • Prescribed medications: These include antidepressants, beta-blockers, and anti-anxiety medications (such as benzodiazepines).
  • Relaxation techniques: Examples are breathing techniques and mindfulness exercises

Some people with phobias are afraid to seek help out of shame. Others don’t know that phobia treatment options are available. But with a qualified therapist, most treatment for phobias is effective.

Can You Outgrow Phobias?

Many common phobias, such as trypanophobia (fear of injections and needles), begin in childhood. Around 25% of children and adolescents experience an anxiety disorder at some point. In some cases, childhood phobias may persist into adulthood. With effective treatment, however, many children leave their phobias behind as they get older.


A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder that causes persistent, intense, and often irrational fear about a certain situation or thing. Phobias can lead to avoidance behaviors, emotional distress, and difficulty functioning in relationships and other aspects of everyday life.

Some of the most common phobias include social phobia and agoraphobia. Social phobia refers to the fear of social situations in which the person is exposed to possible scrutiny by others. Agoraphobia refers to the fear of certain environments where escape or help might not be possible if panic or other overwhelming symptoms emerge.

Specific phobias—which involve intense fear about a specific object or situation—include claustrophobia (fear of small spaces), acrophobia (fear of heights), hemophobia (fear of blood), and aerophobia (fear of flying). 

Treatment is effective for most people with phobias. Phobia treatment options include exposure therapy, prescribed medications, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and mindfulness techniques.

A Word From Verywell

Many people with phobias are ashamed to talk about their fears and anxiety. But help is available and usually effective. Don’t be afraid to talk to your healthcare provider if your anxiety is interfering with your daily life.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are some rare phobias?

    Almost any object, situation, environment, person, or animal can become a source of intense fear or anxiety. Some rare phobias include plutophobia (fear of money), ablutophobia (fear of bathing), chaetophobia (fear of hair), and eisoptrophobia (fear of mirrors).

    There are also many specific phobias that involve fear of a specific animal, such as ailurophobia (fear of cats), cynophobia (fear of dogs), equinophobia (fear of horses), and ophidiophobia (fear of snakes).

  • Is it possible to get rid of a phobia?

    Phobias can be safely and effectively treated. Common phobia treatments include psychotherapy and anti-anxiety medications. Exposure therapy, which involves facing the source of your fears with the support of a qualified therapist, may also be effective.

  • Why do phobias exist?

    The exact cause of phobias is currently unknown. Some phobias are caused by traumatic events, especially during childhood. In some cases, certain phobias run in families.

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KENDALL Jenner is no stranger to crippling anxiety.

The 26-year-old model and reality TV star has learned to cope with the condition by using techniques such as breathwork to her daily routine.

Kendall Jenner suffers with anxiety


Kendall Jenner suffers with anxietyCredit: The Mega Agency
Kendall opened up about her social anxiety and the ways she recharges


Kendall opened up about her social anxiety and the ways she rechargesCredit: Instagram/ Kendall Jenner

Posting to Instagram on Monday, Kendall shared a short video of a peaceful garden, in which a trickling water feature could be heard.

She then opened up to her fans in a lengthy caption, beginning: “Happy Monday y’all!

“My anxiety (especially social anxiety) has been on 100 lately. I’ve come to a place where I don’t feel bad about it.”

The KUWTK-alum continued:  “I love my space and my alone time. I am finding ways to help me start my day off with a calmer, more positive mindset. 

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“That being said, I wanted to just spread some good vibes.”

Kendall then listed some activities that she did that morning to help with her mental wellbeing, and told fans to “give it a try”.

Kendall  - one of four sisters in the Kardashian-Jenner clan - has had to work out how to manage her anxiety like millions others globally.

She has been open about her battle with the condition, which first showed when she was a child and resurfaced as an adult. 

In a 2018 interview for Harper's Bazaar, Kendall said her anxiety was “debilitating” and caused “full-on panic attacks” in the night and sleep paralysis. 

The model has experienced a panic attack in scenes of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

The 5 steps

  1. Avoid phone

It’s so easy to reach for your phone first thing in the morning.

Kendall said she takes “10 deep inhales/exhales before even touching my phone”.

Scrolling, checking emails or messages as soon as you wake up can induce feelings of stress and anxiety before the day has even started.

Experts also say it may be the reason you feel so tired in the morning, because you are forcing yourself to look at a screen and artificial light before daylight.

2. Journal

Next, Kendall “went in my yard and journaled”.

Journaling is simply the act of writing thoughts, feelings and ideas down.

It’s beneficial for a number of reasons; putting your racing thoughts onto paper can help you visualise them with more clarity.

Writing about an event, or feelings that you can’t shift, may also help to leave things on the paper and move on.

One study found that people with medical conditions and anxiety who journalled over a 12-week period had increased feelings of well-being and fewer depressive symptoms after one month. 

3. Express gratitude 

Kendall then “expressed gratitude for all of my blessings” and “wrote down all the things i’m looking forward to today/this month”.

Gratitude journaling is a simple practice in which you write down things you are grateful for. It might be as minor as a supportive text from a friend or a delicious meal you ate. 

Psychologists have shown that those who have written down positive events and thoughts have improved wellbeing.

It’s not going to be life-changing or treat clinical depression or anxiety. But it can certainly train your mind to focus on the good things in life.

4. Sunshine

Kendall made sure to set some time aside to “take in the sun” of the serene-looking garden.

It’s no secret getting some rays makes you feel better, and it’s proven in science, too.

Studies show that a lack of sun exposure can cause serotonin - a “happy hormone” - to drop.

It’s why some people suffer depression in the winter (seasonal affective disorder or SAD).

The sun is also crucial to help the body produce enough vitamin D, which is vital for healthy bones, teeth, and immunity. 

And exposure to daylight in the morning helps keep your body clock on track, which in turn will improve your sleep routine.

Just make sure you've got some SPF on!

5. Breath work

To finish, Kendall does some more deep breathing and drinks tea.

Breathwork helps to banish stress and anxiety and is easy to do.

Day-to-day, a lot of people breathe shallowly, which means their lungs do not fill entirely.

Deep breathing that comes from the stomach encourages full oxygen exchange in the lungs, which can slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure, Harvard Health says.

Those that use breathing exercises every day, or at least routinely, see the most benefit.

There is an abundance of breathing practices online, some with guided narration.

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To get started, try this method on the NHS website while sitting or lying comfortably:

  • Let your breath flow as deep down into your belly as is comfortable, without forcing it.
  • Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Breathe in gently and regularly. Some people find it helpful to count steadily from 1 to 5. You may not be able to reach 5 at first.
  • Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let it flow out gently, counting from 1 to 5 again, if you find this helpful.
  • Keep doing this for 3 to 5 minutes.

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