Usually defined as a type of anxiety disorder, a phobia can make it difficult to live your life like a normal person. You develop a fear of an otherwise harmless situation or object. While certain phobias can be extremely devastating, most of them are quite treatable.
Here are some of the most common phobias and ways to deal with them.
Also called the fear of spiders, arachnophobia is a common phobia. 30.5% of the sufferers come from the United States. Some experts believe that the phobia is evolutionary in nature. Because some spiders are deadly. Hence, it is your natural instinct to protect yourself from them.
To deal with the fear, you may consider exposing yourself to spiders. Build an exposure hierarchy. Determine the amount of time you will be spending around spiders each week.
It is better to start with pictures of spiders – toy spiders will also help.
The fear of height or acrophobia affects the quality of life of more than 23 million people around the world. With this phobia, you just cannot stand the idea of being on a tall building, tower, or bridge. Usually, a traumatic experience is the underlying cause of this phobia.
Left untreated, acrophobia can sometimes lead to severe panic attacks.
The best way to deal with acrophobia is to learn relaxation techniques. Such as yoga, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and deep breathing. Often, deep breathing can protect you from having a panic attack caused by acrophobia.
Also called the fear of holes, it may not be a common as acrophobia, but can be quite severe, as many people have a panic attack just by thinking of holes. Sometimes, these people have to avoid objects, such as meat, coral, sponges, and even dried honeycombs.
In many cases, general talk therapy really helps make your fear more manageable. You may have to take medications, such as sedatives and beta-blockers to reduce panic attack symptoms. Relaxation techniques may help as well.
Usually stemming from a traumatic experience, you’re claustrophobic when you have a fear of small, enclosed places. In most cases, people who may have to stay locked in an elevator for an extended time end up having claustrophobia.
Deep breathing really helps manage claustrophobia better. But you need to see a psychologist make yourself understand that your fear is irrational. Challenging your fear may also help here.
About 6.5% of the world’s population is dealing with aerophobia or the fear of flying.
Studies show that a person who suffers from aerophobia usually has other phobias too. Such as agoraphobia or claustrophobia.
The fear can keep you from traveling to different countries. This could affect your personal and professional life in many ways.
The combination of medication and therapy is usually needed to treat aerophobia. You may have to take anti-anxiety medications to manage your symptoms before your flight. Sometimes, exposure therapy proves effective, as it exposes you to the sensations of flying in a controlled manner.
Who doesn’t love dogs? Well, there are people who just cannot even think of being close to a dog, and these are the ones with cynophobia or the fear of dogs. A childhood traumatic experience with dogs is usually the underlying cause. But other issues can also lead to the development of this phobia. Sometimes, the phobia can be so severe that a sufferer cannot walk past a home knowing there is a dog living in there.
You may get good results using cognitive-behavioral techniques. Such as flooding and systematic desensitization. You may have to take medications in case your phobia is quite severe. These medications often reduce anxiety and make it possible for you to focus on therapeutic techniques.
The fear of germs is quite crippling and hampers the quality of your life. You will be worrying about cleaning yourself all the time. Sometimes, it is also related to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). People with mysophobia also find it difficult to eat because they think it’s contaminated.
Exposure therapy is usually an effective option. But, you may also need to take medications if you’re dealing with anxiety or OCD as well. Psychotherapy also has its place in the treatment of mysophobia.
Also to these, there are many other common phobias, such as social phobia, necrophobia (the fear of dead things), homophobia (the fear of blood), trypanophobia (the fear of needles), and so on.
Traumatic experiences contribute to many types of phobias, but they can be managed. This can happen if you seek timely help and decide to work with your psychiatrist to resolve the issue.