Phobias are something very close to my heart. The definition of a phobia is “An extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.”
What is a phobia? A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder and it can make a person feel very anxious or panicky.
Symptoms: May include dizziness and getting lightheaded, nausea, sweating, upset stomach.
Phobias can vary, there are simple or specific phobias or more complex phobias. Specific or simple phobias may center around a particular object, e.g. an animal, situation, or activity and are often developed during childhood. A common example may be the fear of a dog or an environmental phobia e.g height or deep water. Other examples maybe a bodily phobia e.g. injections or vomit.
Complex phobias tend to be more disabling and are often associated with a deep rooted fear or anxiety about a particular situation or circumstance. The two most common are agoraphobia or social phobia.
Agoraphobia is often a fear of open spaces, a person who is agoraphobic, usually avoids situations, such as being alone, or being in crowded places such as bars restaurants.
A social phobia also known as social anxiety disorder often centers on a person speaking in public and in some cases it can be so debilitating it can affect everyday activities, such as eating out or meeting friends.
What causes phobias?
The answer is there is no single cause but it may be associated with an incident or trauma.
Simple phobias can be treated through gradual exposure to the object, animal, or place or situation.
More complex phobias often involve counseling, psychotherapy, or cognitive behavior therapy. Medications are sometimes used to help people cope with the side effects of anxiety. Medications which may be prescribed are tranquilizers, antidepressants, or beta blockers.
I have battled with emetophobia as long as I can remember, which is a fear of being sick. When I was a child I used to suffer from very severe travel sickness every time my parents took me on holiday it would often take us several days to get there if using a car because I kept stopping to be sick.
I can only assume that I now associate being sick with a bad situation and memory. It has affected my life in an adverse way. I have not had kids because I am scared that I will get morning sickness, I avoid certain foods in case I am sick, or get food poisoning. Back in the day I wasn’t really able to get much help and was basically told to get on with it. But in recent years I have had counseling and cognitive behavior therapy and I am gradually dealing with it. I think it has improved greatly. My hope is eventually the phobia will go.
My message is if you have a fear or phobia seek help early, there is lots of help and support groups out there which will help. I just wish back in the day there was more help for me. Your first step maybe to discuss it with your GP.
To anyone out there who has a phobia good luck x.
Claudette is a passionate campaigner and activist for mental health stigma and domestic abuse. She believes that everyone should be treated equally regardless of their disability or gender. She has diagnoses of Bipolar Disorder, endometriosis, Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. Claudette has a certificate in Management studies. Her interests include beauty, makeup, animals politics, current affairs and social networking.