What is a Phobia?

Phobias are one of the most common type of anxiety disorders.    A phobia is an obsessive, intense and extreme fear of an object, place, situation or creature. People with phobias have developed an irrational apprehension about something they perceive as a danger.

Phobias centre on our normal fear mechanism, so someone who has a phobia is perfectly normal except that they have learnt to get frightened at the wrong times or in the wrong places. The nervous system, which carries messages to and from the brain, is continually telling the brain of a phobia sufferer, that there is something to be frightened of when they are in their ‘trigger’ situations or places, even when there is no real danger present. We logically know there is no actual danger as the danger only feels real to the sufferer and not anyone else.

Fear is a natural response in all of us. It keeps us safe by making sure that, most of the time, we are not in dangerous situations. However, sometimes when we are not thinking about what we are doing we do things which are dangerous, e.g. stepping off the pavement without looking and consequently nearly getting knocked down. The shock to our system, when something like this happens, is enormous and very unpleasant. We sweat, shake, tremble and feel sick and our heart pounds.   As the vehicle, gets closer, it will probably sound its horn and our ‘fear’ response (taking flight) gets us out of danger. Without the ‘fear’ response we would have just stood in the road.

Fear is something we learn. When you see a child run onto a busy road, they have not yet fully learned the ‘fear’ response. The only thing they focus on is their ball rolling onto the road and so they rush out oblivious to the oncoming dangers. So clearly ‘fear’ in the right place is essential to our well-being.

It is only when some kind of traumatic event triggers panic and the person goes on to attach the awful symptoms they are experiencing with their surroundings, situation or object around them that a phobia might develop.

The good news is Phobias, like all anxiety disorders, can be overcome. It is all about proving that what you are phobic of can not harm you, finding the evidence to prove this and by using some essential tools and steps desensitise the ‘fear’ trigger in your body.

How can No Panic help?

No Panic specialises in self-help recovery and our services aim to providing people with the skills they need to manage their condition and work towards recovery.

Become a member of No Panic and join one of our Recovery Groups or One to One Mentoring services with a trained leader and work on Anxiety Management and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to overcome your phobia. 

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