What is a phobia?
Phobias are an extreme, overwhelming, or irrational fear of a situation, object, or animal that, in reality, may do little harm or damage to us but can bring on feelings of intense stress or anxiety. Phobias are actually very common, and many people suffer from phobias, such as a fear of spiders, going to the dentist, heights, or injections.
Phobias are more intense than fears and often develop if you have a magnified or unreasonable sense of risk or danger about something. While a phobia of any kind might seem odd or slightly strange to anyone who doesn’t have one, they’re an acute type of anxiety disorder. The anxious feelings associated with the phobia don’t have to start when you experience the place, object, or animal. But they can begin by thinking or talking about them, causing distress.
Having a phobia is not unusual, so you won’t necessarily need treatment. But if a certain phobia begins to affect your daily life or behaviours, counselling or psychotherapy can help you understand and overcome your fears – often permanently.
What types of phobias are there?
There are a great number of places, objects, or animals that could develop into a phobia for someone, but they tend to fall into two different categories: Simple phobias are common and can start in childhood, generally becoming less severe as you get older, or Complex phobias that commonly begin and intensify as an adult.
- Animals such as spiders, bats, dogs, mice
- Nature such as heights, water, darkness
- Situations such as flying, dentists, or tunnels
- Physical such as injections, clowns, or being trapped
- Agoraphobia an intense fear of open or crowded spaces
- Claustrophobia an intense fear of enclosed or small spaces
- Social phobia an intense fear of social situations (social anxiety)
The symptoms people face with any phobia can differ, and they may not occur until you’re experiencing your phobia in the moment. Other people can suffer symptoms just by thinking about the phobia. Common symptoms can include:
- Sweating or trembling
- increased heartbeat
- difficulty breathing
- feeling sick
What causes phobias?
Phobia counselling and psychotherapy
Our experienced Devon Therapy Services counsellors and psychotherapists can help anyone living in or around the Exeter or Torquay areas find techniques and coping strategies to manage the symptoms of anxiety you feel due to your phobia. They will also offer cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and other treatments to help you understand how and why your phobia has developed and how to reduce your symptoms.
Suffering from a phobia can be distressing and sometimes exhausting, affecting your daily life and restricting your actions or where you go. But with effective counselling or psychotherapy treatment, your phobia can be managed and overcome to help you lead an everyday life, free of fear or anxiety.
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