Things You Need To Know About Phobias
It's not just being creeped out by spiders.
Phobias. They come in all shapes and sizes.
There’s a chance you may not know much about them (other than that they involve a whole lot of fear). So, as it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, here’s the rundown on all things phobia…
They’re Actually Anxiety Disorders
Phobias are totally connected to anxiety. In fact, they’re defined as ‘an extreme form of fear or anxiety triggered by a particular situation or object, even when there is no danger’.
There Are Two Different Types
They tend to be split into two categories - specific and complex.
Specific phobias are those around a particular object, event or situation (e.g. dogs, flying, small spaces, certain types of food), whereas complex phobias tend to have a more widespread impact on your life (e.g. social phobia, fear of public speaking, or agoraphobia).
It’s Not As Simple As Just ‘Fear’
The number one pet peeve for people with phobias is when someone says to them, “OMG I totally get it. I hate spiders too”.
Fear is one thing - a phobia is very different. It can often lead to a seemingly completely irrational reaction, and can encourage anxiety even when the situation or object in question isn’t present.
They Feel Different For Everyone
Everyone has different symptoms, and those symptoms can vary in severity - some people just have to think about an object to start feeling frightened.
Phobias can often lead to panic attacks, with phobics feeling lightheaded, chest pain, hot or cold flushes, nausea, trembling and an acute feeling that you’re going to faint (or even die).
They Can Be Caused By Anything (Or Nothing In Particular)
Like so many mental illnesses, phobias don’t usually have one specific cause. However, things like genetics, particular traumatic incidents and long-term stress can contribute to them.
Avoidance Can Make It Worse
Obviously feeling terrified, anxious and panicky is horrible, so many people with phobias go out of their way to avoid the thing or situation that frightens them - by steering clear they can take back an element of control. However this can eventually lead the phobia to become worse...
There Are Things You Can Do To Help
Just like with Generalised Anxiety Disorder, treatment for phobias include things like CBT, exposure therapy and even medication. The most important step is going to see your GP or a mental health professional so that they can talk you through every option available to you in your local area, and help you to work out exactly what the best option for you is.
The best way to start dealing with your phobia is to tell someone about it - it can feel like an embarrassing thing to talk about, but phobias affect more people than you realise. With the right support and treatment you could be on the way to a cure.
If you are dealing with mental health issues, want to find out more information or want to show your support for those around you who are, visit YoungMinds.org.uk right now. They have piles of advice, support and resources just waiting for your eyeballs to check them out.