Fear is a normal reaction throughout one's daily life, and it is an instinct that exists for a reason. It has saved countless lives from all kinds of different scenarios. To live a life of caution is to be smart, but not all fears are productive or lifesaving, and some fears can hinder one's daily life. These fears can manifest themselves into a phobia, which is a form of an anxiety disorder that is defined as the persistent fear of an object or situation. Here you will find a list of the most common phobias that affect people today.
Arachnophobia is the irrational fear of spiders. For someone who has arachnophobia, they can feel physically ill at the sight of a spider, or just the mere thought of a spider lurking around the corner. If they spot a spider, they may freeze in their place, and they may not be able to take their eyes off of it.
Arachnophobia is the number one fear that affects humans daily. The severity of this phobia ranges, as some people may just get queasy about the idea of a spider, and some physically avoid areas that the spider may be in, such as a park, basement, etc.
Ophidiophobia is the irrational fear of snakes. This is the second most common fear amongst people. Many people who have this fear have difficulty going outside, where they know that snakes are prevalent. They may avoid going hiking or over to a friend's house whom they are aware of owns a snake.
This phobia is different than seeing a snake standing up and hissing at someone. At that moment, fear is expected and fuels the survival instinct. However, an overwhelming fear of a snake without any imminent threat would be irrational.
Acrophobia is an intense fear of heights. What is ironic about this phobia is that whoever experiences it may feel fear at just several inches off the ground. They do not need to be lifted several hundred feet into the sky. For those who experience this type of phobia, just the thought of engaging in an activity that involves heights may be enough to raise their heart rate and begin their panicky feeling of fear.
However, treatment to overcome this fear is seemingly simple. Many people report that while they had a fear of heights, they went skydiving or bungee jumping to conquer their fear. While they were scared, they reported that they felt more in control of that fear by surviving their brave actions and living to tell about it.
Agoraphobia is the fear of leaving home, going outside, or open spaces. This phobia comes from the fear that the environment is not safe around them, so they must remain inside to eliminate the safety factors. Many people who have agoraphobia have great difficulty leaving their homes and often require mental health treatment to overcome this.
Cynophobia is the irrational fear of dogs. Just as with snakes, if the dog is foaming at the mouth and growing, being fearful is an appropriate response. However, if one is fearful at the mere thought of a dog or a dog walking down the street calmly with its owner, that leans more towards a phobia.
Many people who have this phobia acknowledge that their fear of dogs may be a bit irrational. They understand that it is not a fear that many others feel, but they also acknowledge that their fear is very real and very powerful. Due to this, they may avoid situations or locations where dogs are likely to be. They may ask their friends to put their dog in another room before they come over to alleviate that fear.
Astraphobia is the fear of thunder and lightning storms. Unlike the phobias that include animals, a thunderstorm is highly unpredictable and is difficult to avoid. Due to this, those that have this phobia may become obsessed with watching the weather reports. They may plan their day around the chances of a weather storm occurring. They may take protective measures inside their home to feel as though they are safe from the thunder and the lightning.
Claustrophobia is the fear of being in an enclosed space and being unable to escape. These fears can be found particularly in small enclosed spaces, such as an elevator, a room without windows, or a small, crowded space. For someone who is experiencing claustrophobia, they may firmly believe that they will run out of oxygen or feel as though they are suffocating. They look for open space or a window to get "fresh air" and to feel as though they are no longer closed in.
Mysophobia is an irrational fear of germs. Those that have this phobia may be called germaphobic. They have a fear of contamination and germs. Mysophobia can be a symptom found in those that also experience Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Aerophobia is an irrational fear of flying. While it is common to be cautious of certain things while flying, like the demeanor of the passengers you are flying with or the health and safety of your children, the fear of simply flying in an airplane can go beyond that. Aerophobia may also couple with claustrophobia in that one is fearful of being in the enclosed airplane.
Trypophobia is likely the most unusual phobia on this list. It is the irrational fear of a cluster of holes, such as in a flower or a honeycomb. While this has yet to be recognized as a mental health condition, at least 15% of people experience this phobia. Some research suggests that holes can depict danger due to organisms having the ability to live inside them. The fear can develop after an insect bite or a bee sting.
Once a phobia has been identified by a professional, it can be treated. You do not have to live your life in fear. In fact, there are some very effective treatment options out there to help alleviate your fears and improve your quality of life.
One of the most common forms of treatment for phobias is called exposure therapy. Before we look into exposure therapy, we must say that a licensed therapist will never force you to do anything that is too much. Most therapists will start as slow and small as you can need. Exposure therapy is a common and effective method.
In a controlled setting, you are exposed to whatever it is that you are fearful of. This can include having you look at an aquarium of snakes, going to a dog park, or looking out a second-floor window. By having you expose yourself to the very things that create irrational fear in you, it deters you from continuing to avoid them, which has been a learned response throughout your life. This behavior change helps you to feel more in control of your life and the environment around you. Exposure therapy is proven to work, and you can gradually move up to petting a dog, riding a Ferris wheel, or taking an uncrowded elevator. Then, you can continue to make progress.
Another form of treatment is called cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is geared towards changing your behavior and thinking process. Your therapist will assist you in developing appropriate coping skills to help you when you are feeling fearful. By utilizing these coping skills, rather than engage in the avoiding behavior of the object of your fear, you will learn that you can have control over your surroundings. This form of treatment has been found to be very effective.
Another form of treatment is hypnotherapy, which is used in alternative medicine. Through hypnosis, you can retrain your brain to respond in a different way that does not respond to the phobias that you have.
Your provider may also suggest that you begin a medication regimen. Certain medications can help to alleviate the panic and anxiety that you feel when your phobia triggers you. These medications treat the symptoms of your anxiety but do not help to address the underlying issue, such as why you are fearful of such objects. Through counseling with your therapist, you will dig deeper into why you are experiencing these phobias while utilizing the treatment options to improve your quality of life.
No one wants to live their lives in fear. If you have a debilitating phobia that affects your daily living, consider seeking the advice of a medical professional. Untreated anxiety and stress can lead to heart disease and high blood pressure. By taking control and conquering your fears, you will improve your overall health, both physical and mental.
You can start by finding a licensed online therapist here at BetterHelp. Our therapists are standing by to help you get started on conquering your fears. Discuss your phobia in a private chat room, which is accessible only to you and your therapist each day. Check out a couple of reviews below.
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Fear can be a natural and healthy part of life, but when fear becomes unnatural and unhealthy, it is time to take action. There is help, solutions, and hope right around the corner. Take the first step today.