What is a phobia?
There are many different types of phobia. The word phobia comes from the Greek meaning 'fear' or 'dread'. People tend to experience fear of a specific situation because it gives rise to certain uncomfortable symptoms. Consequently they try very hard to avoid it. In many cases the symptoms become the focus of anxiety rather than the situation itself. The result is a persistent fear of the situation, out of proportion to the reality of the danger.
If people's day-to-day lives are not affected by their phobia, then they may not require treatment. If, however, you find it takes up a lot of your time, you think about it obsessively, and it forces you to do things the hard way, then you should seek treatment for overcoming your phobia.
Simple phobias & social phobias
Simple phobias relate to an object or an event like an animal, object, or illness/injury. The elaborate steps taken by some people to avoid the trigger for their phobia can seriously restrict their quality of life.
Social phobias are fears of events which involve contact with other people - such as speaking, eating, or drinking - and often result from low self-esteem. The fear of public embarrassment can be very strong.
Some Common Phobias
Agoraphobia (literally fear of the market place) is becoming more common nowadays. The anxiety suffered often relates to how far the sufferer is from home (and perceived safety) and the possibility of a disaster or embarrassing event happening while they are out in public. There is also a fear of the symptoms present in these situations (a 'fear of the fear').
Some people with simple or social phobias refuse to go out in order to avoid potential problems. A full-blown anxiety attack may occur when in a feared situation, or even when just thinking about it. The bodily responses may include rapid heart rate, sweating, trembling and nausea.
Why do people suffer from phobias?
The exact cause of phobias is not known but can often relate to childhood events, or from expectations of ourselves resulting from parental or peer conditioning. It may be transmitted from another person, especially a parent, with an existing phobia. Sometimes it can result as a subconscious way of avoiding situations which are causing anxiety, such as an abusive relationship or a stressful job. It may be the product of a series of traumatic experiences occurring over a number of years.
How to overcome a phobia
You can treat yourself by 'unlearning' the fear through gradual desensitization, or seek professional treatment. Combining Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) with modern hypnotherapy techniques and EFT techniques, you can rid yourself from phobias within minutes, the old 'phobic' programming in the brain can be interrupted and a new programme established enabling the mind to respond differently in the future.
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