Phobias: the Unknown

Published: 2021-08-04 23:00:07
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Category: Psychology

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One day a group of girls took a trip, walking, after school. It was three of them, and they had all been best friends for years. The girls usually walked home together every day, but this walk was different. The girls were on a mission. Today the girls were trying to overcome a common fear together. As they knew, they were all afraid to walk over their town’s bridge. The girls chatted about their school day and what they would do once they got home all the way there, each girl trying not to let their nervousness show. They all started walking slower and slower as they reached the scariest bridge their fifteen-year-old eyes had seen.
One of the girls told the others that it was time to cross the bridge and get it over with. She went first. Treading lightly for the first few steps, she looked down at the water under the bridge, trying not to think of the worst that could happen. Once she made it to the middle, the highest point, of the bridge, she smiled back at her other two friends and motioned for them to try next. The next girl, after seeing the first friend easily walk up the bridge, was eager to get the next go. Like the first girl, her first few steps were treaded lightly. She then raced to the middle of the bridge while admiring what was beneath her. She met her friend with a high five and a hug and then they turned together to encourage the last girl standing. The last girl took a hesitant deep breath. Her heartbeat had increased and she had started to sweat. Her chest heaved up and down as she began to get more and more worked up. She could not do it. Even though she had just seen her two friends make it safely across the bridge, she could not do it. The last girl had a phobia of heights classified as acrophobia. A phobia is more than just fear. Whereas fear is the response to a ‘real threat’, a phobia is the exaggerated response to an ‘anticipated’ threat. While the anxiety disorder of Phobias may seem like an unimportant formal name for fear, a phobia is much more complicated.
Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder. Phobias came to be known as what they are in the early 1800’s. The writer, Mario Maj, defined a phobia as an, … intense fear that is out of proportion to the apparent stimulus, cannot be explained or reasoned away, and leads to avoidance of feared stimulus. pg. 1 As in the example with the three girls, the first two were just afraid to go over the bridge. There was nothing holding them back and in the end, they accomplished their goal of getting over the bridge. But the third girl, no matter how hard her friends tried to motivate her and plead her to come across there was no way it would ever happen. While her friends may never understand what happened at that moment, a phobia is not something a person can just get over. This chart from Harvard University Health Business Blog shows that phobias are the most common type of anxiety disorder in the United States. With nineteen million people, that have been reported, in the United States with the phobia disorder, it is unbelievable that people don’t know half as much as there is to know about the disorder. There are three different categories to a phobia. Once a person is diagnosed with a phobia, they then have to decide if they have a specific phobia, social phobia, or agoraphobia.
Specific phobias are one type of phobia. Specific phobias are the most common types and are often called ‘the simple phobia’. This type of phobia could include a wide variety of phobias, as a specific phobia is defined as a phobia of a specific thing. The phobia of flying, spiders, or closed spaces, for example, are all specific phobias and all have their own name. The name for the phobia of closed spaces is claustrophobia. These phobias usually develop in the early ages of childhood from four to eight years old. A child usually develops phobia from a traumatic childhood experience. A child could also develop a phobia from just being around someone with the same phobia. Social phobia is one other listed type of phobia. Social phobia is one of the ‘complicated phobias’. The phobia is complicated in the way that no one really knows how they come to be. Social phobia is when the person is afraid of large groups of people. This phobia brings out the fear of being ‘singled out’. Even if no one is paying them any attention, a phobiatic person in this setting would think they are being judged by every single person in the room. Agoraphobia is the third type of phobia to be named. It is the second type of complicated phobia. Agoraphobia is the fear of the possibilities of what could happen. A phobiatic person with the type agoraphobia would live their lives, always on the verge of panicking. A person with any type of phobia avoids their fear, but with agoraphobia the fear becomes almost impossible to avoid.
A phobia can only be diagnosed once symptoms start to show. There are many symptoms of phobia. A phobiatic person would have anxiety that they can not control in the presence of fear and try to avoid it. A person may also begin: sweating, having abnormal breathing, a heartbeat acceleration, trembling, getting hot flashes, having chest pain, nausea, and dizziness. BS6 Once the symptoms are recognized it is best to seek help so that treatment can be applied. Although phobias are treatable, many people with specific phobia usually just avoid their fear. With the complex phobias, treatment is almost necessary. There is no one medication for a treatment. The doctor usually tailors the medication to the person and their phobia. Some possible treatments could include: beta-blockers which help with anxiety, anti-depressants which help the mood of the person, and tranquilizers which help with symptoms. Treatments could also include behavioral therapy which is a more head-on approach to the phobia. This usually just helps the person find the source of the fear and learn how to cope with it.
Phobias are different from fear. Phobias are more complicated. There are three different types of phobia. Some phobias are simple and some are complex. A phobiatic person is normal; they just feel and deal with fear differently. It is important to understand the concept of phobia in case it ever reaches someone near you. Phobias are more than fear.

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