We often see people around us who avoid going to certain places, touching certain things or doing certain actions, because they are afraid of what would happen if they interacted with that thing. Sometimes these people are ridiculed or not given importance, they are considered strange, capricious, because others cannot understand, cannot accept the meaning of that phobia. So what are phobias? Can these people trapped in their own inner “cage” escape?
What are phobias?
Phobias are states of anxiety that are manifested by irrational and involuntary fears of certain objects or situations, which can be exaggerated, although they do not necessarily present a real danger to the person in question, they are usually harmless. These can be specific phobias, representing the fear of things, animals, certain objects, such as fear of spiders, mice, dogs, fear of heights, injections, bees, darkness, etc . . .; it is more common among women than among men, but with an almost imperceptible difference. Social phobias refer to the interaction with other people and the environment in which they find themselves, such as the fear of speaking in front of a crowd of people or being criticized by other people.
How does it manifest?
When the person is exposed to the object of his phobia, a deep fear, an involuntary state of anxiety is triggered, which may be accompanied by the following reactions: panic attacks, sweating, shortness of breath, dizziness, palpitations, nausea, trembling, loss of consciousness in extreme cases. . Sometimes the person may experience these reactions only at the thought of confronting, that which frightens him.
Why do phobias occur?
Phobias develop in childhood or adolescence, the genetic factor participating to a small extent in its occurrence. Children can take phobias from their parents, especially if they notice defensive behavior in certain situations. They can also be acquired through direct confrontation with a thing or situation and can result from an unfavorable event, an unpleasant, marked experience regarding that thing.
Can phobias be treated?
Several treatment methods have been implemented, all of which require a lot of will and involvement from the patient:
- Behavioral therapy: the patient learns how to deal with his fear, first through dialogue with the therapist, trying to know more about the object of his fear, in order to learn to live with it, or even eliminate it. You have to participate in engaging activities to realize that fear is irrational.
- Drug treatment: by administration of sedatives, antidepressants, beta-blockers by the specialist.
- Direct exposure to the object of his phobia: the person has to deal directly with the situation, it is the hardest method of treatment and difficult to accept for patients, but it has proven to be the most effective and fast. It requires a lot of willpower and mastery on the part of the patient, but the results can be tailored.
In order to be able to control or cure your phobia, it is very important, before resorting to any of the above options, to understand the reason for your fear and to prove to yourself that it is unfounded. Start by finding out as much as possible about the object or situation and ask the opinion of as many people as possible about it. Ask for help and talk freely about the problem you are facing. Getting closer to other people and sharing experiences has a positive impact on the way you conceive that fear and can help you understand it better.