What is your phobia? We all have what we fear as a result of the danger we associate those stimulus to. Is it the fear of rats, snakes or cockroach ?Well, there are two normal basic innate fears. These are the perception of falling —not heights and loud noises which are all innate. This fears are necessary because they protect us from harm or danger.
The rest of all fears are learnt or developed. Phobia on the other hand is an excessive and irrational fear of something and it’s seen to be a mental disorder (though treatable with therapy)
I was attacked by a dog when I was a kid and since then I have become petrified of just the sight of dogs. i can’t stand them, they scare me, anytime i see a dog, my heart starts racing and i don’t even want to get close said Misbah, a research student.
Phobia doesn’t just make sense. It’s an over bloated kind of fear. That kind of fear cannot make you to go on with your normal lives. Phobia is often followed by panic attacks where the person begins to experience internal disturbances like accelerated heart beat, distorted thoughts and inability to make a decision. This may lead someone engaging in homicide.
How does our phobia get so uncontrollable?
Phobias are deep-seated traumas that have been buried in the unconscious mind. This traumas powerful as they are exert an enormous influence on the conscious mind coming in as phobia. Many medical professionals see phobia as a physiological disorder.
They think that drug therapies are sustainable in treating phobias but they ignore the source of phobia. Some say phobias are genetic but those genetic explanations are not well profound because fear has an associative factors.
Slater and Shields in their book “Genetic aspect of anxiety” (1969) found out that monozygotic twins with the same guy genetic inheritance were more likely than dizygotic twins to develop agoraphobia. This suggests some genetic predisposition to anxiety responses.
However, we can’t be exact to say phobias are genetic. Apparently, it may be right to say individuals may inherit a tendency to anxiety and fear responses but it’s learned by association.
For instance, a woman may experience agoraphobia due to social factors. If she was unable to go out as a pregnant woman till childbirth and has to look after the infant alone for a long time coupled with having other several kids.
The most explanation for phobia that is well accepted is given by the behaviorist school of thought because the explanation has been used to treat phobias in individuals. The behaviorist school believes that phobias is learnt. This form of learning can be deeply buried in the unconscious and a child may acquire that form of learning. This they do by modeling.
Children learn by watching the moods, responses of parents. What made them terrified? angry? worried? If a parent was scared by the sight of a snake or rat, that response can sit deep in the child, unconscious mind.
Apparently, because of this distorted form of learning, behaviorist have now developed various treatments for phobias which helps the individual develop new habits and other ways of responding to the things they fear.
Some list of Phobia
Claustrophobia – The fear of small spaces
Aerophobia – The fear of flying
Thanatophobia – The fear of death
Monophobia – The fear of being alone
Enochlophobia – The fear of crowds
Aphenphosmphobia – The fear of intimacy
Aquaphobia – The fear of water
Hemophobia – The fear of blood
Xenophobia – The fear of the unknown
Vehophobia – The fear of driving
Nyctophobia – The fear of darkness
Entomophobia – The fear of bugs and insects
Somniphobia – The fear of sleep
Zoophobia – The fear of animals
Ombrophobia – The fear of rain
Scoleciphobia – The fear of worms
Tachophobia – The fear of speed
Necrophobia – The fear of death
Hippophobia – The fear of horses
Breaking Free From Phobia
In breaking free from phobias, a doctor, psychiatrist, and or psychologist may provide medications, behavior therapy,or combine both. This is aimed at reducing the symptoms of fear and anxiety, and to help clients/patients manage their reactions to the source of their fear.
These medications below have been shown to be quite effective for the treatment of phobias:
- Beta blockers
This drug helps reduce the symptoms of palpitations, as well as trembling limbs associated with phobia. It’s side effects are gastrointestinal disturbances, tiredness, insomnia, and cold hands.
- Tranquilizers (sedatives)
benzodiazepines are proven to ameliorate anxiety symptoms. Alcoholic clients should avoid sedatives.
Doctors prescribes mostly SSRI’s (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) to individuals with phobias. It affects serotonin levels in the brain, boosting ones mood.
It’s side effects are initially cause nausea, insomnia, and headaches.
- Tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) such as clomipramine (Anafranil). It’s side effects are insomnia, blurred vision, indigestion, urinary difficulties, irregular heart palpitations and tremors. Alternatively, the doctor may prescribe a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) for phobia, an example is moclobemide (Manerix). It’s side effects at first are sleepiness, stomach disturbances, in ability to remain calm, headaches, and insomnia.
Through Cognitive Behavior Therapy
- Exposure Therapy
If done properly, this can help clients alter their response to the source of their fear. The clients are exposed gradually to an anxiety-provoking situation by the therapist. For instance, someone who is afraid of being in an enclosed place may start off just by thinking about being alone in a room , then looking at an elevator, going to a shopping mall, and then finally entering an elevator alone.
In treating phobias, the client is exposed to a flood fear arousing stimulus that is not terminated just because the client experiences high level of tension. Emotional responses to such frightening thoughts and images will be extinguished through burn-out.
- Systematic desensitization
The therapist helps the clients learn different relaxation techniques. Medications may be part of the relaxation training. This is combined with cognitive activity. Here, the client is induced in a relaxed state as the client imagines scenes related to fear in a radical order. This techniques helps the client find ways of perceiving the source of their phobia, so it becomes easier to cope with. The client is taught how to change his paradigm and how to gain mastery of their own emotions, feelings and thoughts.