Facing the Fear

Phobia: the word is derived from the name of the Greek god of terror, Phobos. Phobias are conditions rooted deep in the psyche, compelling a person to fear beyond reason. That’s the key: phobias are beyond reasonable, and don’t easily respond to logic or discussion. Phobias can be crippling – but are fortunately often responsive to a combination of counseling and anti-anxietal medications.

Learning about Phobias

  • Are phobias common?
  • Do phobias interfere with ordinary life?
  • Can phobias be treated?

Do Many People Have Phobias?

Phobias among the most common forms of mental illness: indeed, it can be claimed that all people suffer from one phobia or another, to varying degrees. Whether you are afraid of spiders, dogs, cats, or parrots; public speaking or bees; being inside elevators or of leaving your home, you’re in good company. The degree to which a victim experiences a phobia can vary wildly, from being merely unsettling, to being strong enough to be insurmountable, or even strong enough to send a victim into temporary hysteria.

Most people suffer phobias at a low level under most circumstances. Of these some can, under some circumstances, be triggered occasionally into more severe incidents. A few, however, can experience a phobia at the most intense of levels most of the time. For these, phobias can become painful, intrusive conditions that warp their lives in all aspects: at work, at home, and in the public forum.

How do phobias affect lives?

It’s very ease for those who don’t suffer from a severe phobia to underestimate how overwhelming and complete the experience can be, and how many ways it can impinge on life. Perhaps it can be clarified by considering the case of a simple and common phobia: apiphobia, the fear of bees. A person with a severe phobia can respond with intense panic when they even suspect the presence of bees. Panic can be triggered by a fly, a bit of blown chaff, or a faint buzzing noise. If a sufferer is unprepared and a sound or movement occurs and is mistaken for a bee, panic can occur before the sufferer has time to realize his or her mind misinterpreted a signal. A moment of inattention and a buzzing fly can lead to a panic attack. For those with agoraphobia, the fear of public spaces, just stepping out the front door can start the fear.

Obviously, fears this intense and easily triggered can become major burdens, coloring life on all levels. If you or someone you know suffers from a severe phobia, life can become an endless round of defensive actions made to prevent an encounter with whatever serves as the focus of fear.

Even lesser phobias can be a burden. A moderate fear of public speaking can be downright disastrous for an executive rising in the ranks of many professions. A person with even a moderate case of claustrophobia, the fear of being enclosed, can find themselves suffering stress and dismay every time they go up an elevator or standing in a packed line at a bank. While many can live with their phobias without ever being severely inconvenienced, many others are constantly affected by their fear.

Treating Phobias

Fortunately, phobias can be treated, with a combination of fear-reduction conditioning, behavioral conditioning, personal counseling, and medication. Many phobias respond well to desensitization programs and hypnotherapies, as well. That allows victims of phobias a wide array of options when they decide to master their fear. By piecing together the therapies that work most effectively with the sufferer and the nature of the phobia, a reliable program can be developed – or in some cases a preexisting program can be entered without need for any tailoring.

Finding a reliable program to deal with a phobia can often be arranged in minutes, simply by performing a web search, or consulting a referral agency.

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