Have you ever been scared of something that makes no sense? For example, did you know that there are people who are scared of the colour yellow? That is called Xanthophobia.
Fear is one of the most intimidating emotions, it can take you out of your safe space and make you realise that you are not in control. But did you know that there is a type of fear called phobia?
What is a phobia?
According to Healthline a phobia is an extreme and irrational fear reaction which can make you feel a deep sense of dread or panic when you encounter the source of your fear. A phobia can develop from something that’s unlikely to cause harm. Phobia originates from the Greek word phobos, which means fear or horror.
Healthline claims that a phobia can be anything from an intense fear of a certain object or even a situation. Did you know that phobias can be so intense that they can affect daily life at home, work, or at school? Which is why phobias are a type of anxiety disorder.
What causes phobias?
Fear is always motivated by something, even if its irrational. Scientific America says that for fear to escalate to irrational levels, a combination of genetic and environmental factors is at play. For example, Healthline says children who have a close relative with an anxiety disorder are at risk of developing a phobia that falls under environmental factors. While for genetics, distressing events, like almost drowning, can cause a phobia.
Environmental vs genetic factors
Scientific America claims that genetics contribute about 25 to 65% to a specific phobia. But there is still no research on which genes play a leading role. Scientific America says that no specific phobia gene has been identified, and it’s unlikely that it’s a single gene involved. For environmental factors, a person may develop a phobia after a particularly frightening event, especially if he or she feels out of control.
Even witnessing or hearing about a traumatic occurrence can contribute to its development. Like the example of the children who develop phobias based on the experiences of their relatives. Traumatic experiences from your childhood can also play a role. For example, many people who were raised under toxic conditions like alcohol abuse, violence or divorce, sometimes grow up with phobias they created to protect themselves.
But it’s important to note that phobias don’t develop from one thing, there are different factors because humans have different experiences. Also, Scientific America says the origin of the disorder can be difficult because people find it difficult identifying the source of their fears.
Five categories that phobias fall under:
There are different types of phobias that are caused by different things from different areas. We would spend all day reading them out, which is why they are put into these five categories to help determine what a person is dealing with so they can get help:
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders handbook (DSM), specific phobias typically fall within five general categories:
1. Fears related to animals (spiders, dogs, insects).
2. Fears related to the natural environment (heights, thunder, darkness).
3. Fears related to blood, injury, or medical issues (injections, broken bones, falls).
4. Fears related to specific situations (flying, riding an elevator, driving).
5. Other (choking, loud noises, drowning).
Ways to overcome your phobia:
Phobias are anxiety disorders and they can be treated. There are many ways of trying to overcome your phobia but Scientific America calls exposure treatment the most effective.
During exposure therapy, you work with a psychologist to learn how to soothe yourself to the object or situation that you fear. The process is done with the help of a qualified mental health professional who will guide you through everything. Healthline says phobias can be treated successfully even without necessarily knowing their origin.
Also, your doctor may recommend certain anxiety-reducing medications that can help you through exposure therapy. While these medications aren’t exactly a treatment for phobias, they can help make exposure therapy less stressful. According to Healthline these medications include beta-blockers and benzodiazepines.
2020 has been a tough year for everyone, finding relief from the things that cause you the most stress has become important. Taking care of yourself must start with making sure that you are feeling your best mentally, which is something people tend to overlook. If you have an irrational fear, we hope this article will help in understanding your phobia more.
Do you know about the magic of the mind? Read here to find out more.
Tell us: Do you have an irrational fear? If so, what is it and how have you dealt with it?