What is a Phobia?
Anxiety and fear are wired into everyone and helped our species survive long ago in response to threats. Although we don’t face the life and death dangers our ancestors did thousands of years ago, many people still develop a fear response to specific objects, events, or experiences. The same fight, flight, or freeze mechanism gets activated with phobias. Keep in mind many people have some anxiety and feel a little uncomfortable in situations such as a first date, giving a presentation, or perhaps before a performance or game. Most people endure this type of anticipatory anxiety without too much trouble, and it dissipates usually once they have begun the event. Phobias on the other hand become quite debilitating and impairing.
How do Phobias Begin?
There is some debate about what drives phobias to evolve. There is some research that says it may have a genetic underpinning as some similar phobias are seen in some first-degree relatives. Others believe that some personality traits make you more susceptible to developing phobias such as neuroticism, perfectionism, or introversion to name a few. Many agree that some phobias develop on the heels of upsetting or traumatizing events. For example, being attacked by a dog may thereafter fuel a phobia of dogs. Many have an awareness that their phobia is irrational and unfounded yet struggle to prevent their response to the phobia.
Type of Phobias
It is estimated that about 12% of the population has a specific phobia that may at times impair their functioning. Phobias are usually divided in five main groups of phobias. Fear of environmental events such as storms, height, or the dark. Fear of animals such as snakes, spiders, or bees. Fears related to blood or injuries like breaking something, injections, or the like. Fear related to specific events such as driving, riding elevators, or flying. Lastly, there are “other” categories of unique and specific types of phobias such as choking, drowning, or being alone. There are literally hundreds of phobias some of them quite unique and rare such as baraphobia which is the fear of gravity. On a positive note, phobias are one of the most successfully treated mental health issues there are.
Maple Grove Psychiatrists
If you are interested in exploring a specific phobia and learning more about how they are treated, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule a consultation with one of our psychologists or psychiatrists so we can help discuss treatment options. Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete a thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.
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