We all have something we’re afraid of that we probably shouldn’t be. Spiders are a good example. Very few types of spiders, out of thousands of different kinds, are actually dangerous. When you think about it, you know it’s not rational to fear them, but yet, many people do. These kinds of irrational fears are called phobias, and they are very, very common.
Phobias can cause major disruptions to your life. Claustrophobia? Can’t take the elevator to your office on the eighth floor. Aviophobia? Forget that weekend trip to San Francisco. If you suffer from a phobia, the only way to regain control of your life is to get treatment. The good news is, phobia treatment is relatively simple, readily available and has a high success rate.
Is it Normal?
If you’ve had your phobia since childhood, you may not be entirely certain that your phobia isn’t justified. A good rule of thumb to determine if your fear is irrational is to ask yourself a couple of questions, such as, “How many people have been harmed by what it is I am afraid of compared with how many people have not been?” and, “Are my friends, family or co-workers afraid of what I am afraid of?”
Phobias are very common, especially a handful that almost everyone has heard of, such as claustrophobia, which is the fear of small, confined spaces, and aviophobia, which is the fear of flying. Some other well-known and commonly held phobias are fear of animals, such as cynophobia—the fear of dogs; and musophobia—the fear of rats: and fears of environments, such as hydraphobia—the fear of water; and astraphobia—the fear of storms: and health phobias, such as trypanophobia—the fear of needles or injections; and emetophobia—fear of getting sick.
How Does It Feel?
How does it feel to have a phobia? It’s different for different people, but common symptoms are shortness of breath, rapid or pounding heartbeat, dizziness, nausea, sweating and shaking.
Does everyone with irrational fears need phobia treatment? Not necessarily. If you are afraid of snakes and live in an urban area where few snakes are found, your life is not likely to be disrupted. But if you find yourself avoiding activities you would normally have participated in due to your phobia, you should seek phobia treatment.
What Can I Do?
Phobia treatment doesn’t necessarily have to mean going to a therapist. You can try facing your fears a little at a time, such as with dogs, start with a tiny puppy, then move up to a larger dog—making sure that the dog’s owner has a tight grip on him, and move up to eventually petting a large, unleashed dog.
However, if you find that you are just not able to get your phobia under control, seek professional help.
When looking for phobia treatment contact Salt Lake Behavioral Health. Reach them online at Saltlakebehavioralhealth.com or by phone at 801-264-6000.
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