Fear is a common human emotion. In fact, you could say that fear is very important for safety and appropriate sanctuary. Fear lets you know when there is danger. It can enable you to make better decisions to stay safe and escape harm. However, what happens when your fear response goes into overdrive? Particularly, when you are experiencing fear as a result of phobia symptoms?
In such situations, fear can be crippling. You are afraid that your health and physical safety are threatened. So, you do what you feel you need to do to cope.
Still, over the long term, that reaction can create even more problems. Fortunately, therapy can help you cope well and even overcome phobias.
Understanding Phobias and Phobia Symptoms
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the word phobia as: “an exaggerated, usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation.”
The three key words in this definition are inexplicable, illogical, and fear. Together, they create a powerful combination. That’s because phobias are not based on any actual danger. Rather, it is a perceived threat.
For example, someone who is afraid to fly on airplanes struggles with aerophobia. They may fear that the plane will fail mid-flight and crash into the ground. So, they avoid traveling long distances. And if they do need transportation, they choose to drive, take a bus, or ride a train. They do so, even this increases the duration of their journey and makes it more inconvenient to travel.
Common Phobia Symptoms
When someone is triggered by a phobia, they may experience particular symptoms. For example:
- Shortness of breath
- Tightness in the chest
- Shaky hands
- Talking very fast
- Elevated blood pressure
- An urgent sense of danger
As you can imagine, experiencing a phobia is distressful. Not everyone who has a phobia will have all of these symptoms. But even one symptom can be troubling and greatly interfere with your day-to-day activities.
When Afraid is Too Afraid
A phobia becomes a big problem when you are frequently feeling triggered. The symptoms become unmanageable and use up a lot of time in your everyday life.
For instance, let’s say you have a fear of spiders. Is it real but manageable? Perhaps you can see a spider, step back, and ask a family member to deal with it. If necessary, you could also dispose of it yourself. In this case, you are not frozen in fear.
On the other hand, what if seeing a spider caused you to refuse to enter a room for days or even weeks? Or, woke you up at night, fearful that a spider was on you? An out-of-control phobia robs you of your peace of mind. You are essentially living your life in fear ar anticipating the object of your fear.
Treatment for Phobia Symptoms
To treat your phobia, professional help is needed. Thankfully, there are several anxiety treatment options available to address this problem. For example:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy allows you to identify thinking errors and how to replace those thoughts with those based on fact.
- EMDR encourages you to use eye movements and coaching to resolve past memories that are the source of your phobia (such as a particularly bad experience with a spider or a dog).
- Neurofeedback utilizes brain wave analysis to coach and the brain into new thought patterns and emotions.
- Brain Mapping provides data regarding which parts of the brain are activated when you experience phobia symptoms.
Additionally, included in these treatments are ways to develop healthier coping skills. Then, when fear does strike, you can avoid getting caught up in phobia symptoms.
Many people have irrational fears. But sometimes those phobias take over. When you experience severe, intrusive phobia symptoms that diminish the quality of your life, it’s time to get help. Find out today how anxiety therapy will help treat and resolve your fear.