Phobia means “fear.” However, a phobia is an extreme version of a fear where the person who is “phobic” is unrealistically terrified of something extremely specific. For example, arachnophobia is the fear of spiders. Someone who is afraid of spiders might be afraid of these creatures attacking them in their sleep and might not be able to stop thinking about this. Someone who is afraid of heights might be afraid of suddenly falling off a building for example or flying on an airplane. People are afraid of all sorts of things, but a phobia develops when the person is extremely afraid to the point where they have difficulty functioning. The articles in this section will focus on how fear can negatively impact our lives and make it hard to live a functional life. We will uncover specific techniques to help people (like you) learn to face their fears and become healthier.
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Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
What are Phobias?
Phobias are extreme fears that make it hard for a person to function. If you have a specific phobia, you go to drastic measures to avoid the thing that you’re afraid of. The individual who has the fear or phobia understands that their fear is it logical, but they still are incredibly fearful. People are afraid of all sorts of things including dying, spiders, the dark, or being alone. They can cause so much pain that it’s difficult to live your life. That’s when you know that you need help.
Examples of Phobias And How To Get Help
Nyctophobia is the fear of the dark. Many children are terrified of the night. They might believe monsters are waiting to attack them. Parents can assure their kids that there’s nothing to be afraid of, but as we’ve established, phobias aren’t rational. Adults can be frightened of darkness also. They might experience sweating, hypervigilance, dry mouth, shaking or, panic attacks. These are common symptoms that anyone with a phobia can feel.
Sometimes people become so fearful of something that they develop debilitating anxiety. A common phobia is agoraphobia. A person who is agoraphobic is afraid of leaving their home because they believe something terrible will happen to them. A person with agoraphobia might be scared to leave their house to enter large crowds. They may worry about getting hurt in public or being embarrassed. People who have agoraphobia are scared of being in an unfamiliar environment where they don’t have control over their surroundings.
Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders. Did you know there are 35,000 different species of spiders? People with arachnophobia are scared of a spider injuring them or even killing them. Their fear of these creatures can cause them intense anxiety to the point where they’re panicking. About 3% of our population is affected by arachnophobia.
Cynophobia is the fear of dogs. An individual with this fear will go to extreme measures to avoid areas where there are dogs. They don’t want to be around them because they’re afraid that dogs will harm them. The person may have a bad memory of a dog. Maybe a canine bit them when they were a child. Many people adore their dogs and can’t imagine being afraid of them. And then some people are terrified of these creatures who seem innocent to others. Fear of dogs is quite common. Among people who get treated for phobias, it affects approximately 36 percent of those individuals.
People with phobias may get to the point where they have panic attacks that are induced by the thing they’re afraid of. A panic attack is a sudden episode where the person experiences intense dread or fear. It seems to come out of nowhere. In the case of someone with a phobia, there’s a trigger for their panic attack. When you get to the point where you’re having panic attacks about your phobia, it’s time to seek help. That’s where online counseling can support you in treating your fear.
If you have a phobia, you might be powerless. You may not know how to get help. You’re scared to encounter what makes you afraid. Maybe you’re scared that you won’t survive, but even though you are afraid, remember that there is help for you. Online therapy is an excellent place to get help with your fears. It’s terrifying to feel out of control of your mind and body, but you can overcome your fear. Online counselors are there to help you develop skills to handle your anxiety. Exposure therapy can help you learn to tolerate the thing you’re afraid of in small doses. Cognitive Behavior Therapy is an excellent type of treatment that will support you as you learn to change the way you think about your fear. You’re not alone, and you can tackle your fears in online counseling. Search the network of counselors here at BetterHelp and find one who can help you heal from your fears.