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Feeling of fear

A phobia is an intense feeling of fear caused by a certain phenomenon, object or situations such as heights, snakes, water, light, enclosed places or other potential sources of fear. These causes are referred to as panic-triggers. These are fears that often disrupt some people’s daily lives. When any of the events occur, the body experiences an internal predisposition and the victim might be even forced to flee. At that instance, it is virtually impossible to control these feelings. They experience a sense of insecurity and vulnerability when exposed to these conditions in question.

Phobias can be experienced by anyone irrespective of age or gender. Phobias are usually hard to notice their existence not unless a person is exposed to these conditions. Phobias are neither hereditary nor contagious. They may go to the extent of causing anxiety attacks or disorders if they occur for a long period. Most phobias are named using the name of the panic-trigger followed by the word ‘phobia’ whose origin is Greek. For instance, ‘Arachnophobia’ is the fear of spiders and the word ‘arachno’ comes from the word arachnids which refer to all eight-legged invertebrates of which the spider is a member.

Grouping of phobias: There are several groups of phobias. These are: (a) Social phobias: These are the types of phobias that are caused by certain panic triggers such as people or public or social situations. The panicking occurs when the victim is exposed to these conditions. These are often noticeable by other people close to the victim as he or she is usually very afraid of standing before people and may even go to the extents of refusing to do normal things such as eating before the public.

This is usually because of the fear of scrutiny by members of the public. Some of these social phobias may go to the extent of causing physical disorders and discomfort. A person suffering from paruresis may go to the extent of being unable to pass water in reduced situations of privacy (Davey, 1997). (b) Specific phobias: These are the types of phobias that are caused by some specific conditions or objects such as water, heights, dogs, cats, spiders, light and many others.

These are more common and are easily noticeable when any of these panic triggers is around or within. They usually cause the victim a lot of discomfort however harmless they may be in reality. This may even cause severe panic attacks if brought into immediate contact with these victims. Specific phobias may either be triggered by the environment of the victim, animals, and medical aspects such as the fear of getting injected or situations such as the fear of crossing bridges.

Many of these however are just extra fears of what most people fear; spiders and heights among others. (c) Agoraphobia: This is the fear of being in an unavoidable situation which is inescapable and the victims are usually afraid of leaving the enclosed areas that are around them and very familiar to them such as their homes, places of work. They are usually very reluctant to leave these areas and more often than not are panic stricken when they happen to leave these areas and something frightening happens in the areas they are unfamiliar with (Wagner, n.

d). The level of the severity of phobias in different individuals varies widely. Some people suffer mildly and often just experience some mild fear and all they often do is avoid the situation or object. Others suffer the full extent when they experience these phobias and may even get anxiety disorders. Symptoms: The common symptoms of any type of phobia when around the phobia’s panic-trigger are an intense feeling of fear, nausea, breathlessness, dizziness and occasionally, an anxiety disorder. Treatment:

Exposure to the panic triggers is one of the treatments administered on the phobia victims. The victim gets used to these conditions and though very difficult, may be able to dismiss these intense feeling by getting used to these conditions. These conditions may be brought forth to the patient in question via virtual reality. The doctor is often in control of the situation and is capable of disabling the virtual reality program when the patient is about to get any fully-fledged attack (Saul, 2004).

Counter-conditioning is another way of phobia treatment. In this mode of treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is used. The patient is taught, through therapy, how to react to the phobia. The patient learns how to control his or her thought patterns and several relaxation techniques. The patient should be willing to undergo several moments of discomfort (Bourne, 2005). Anti-anxiety medications can also be administered to these patients in order to mitigate the effects of the phobia once panic-stricken.

References: Bourne, E. J. , (2005): The anxiety & phobia workbook, 4th Ed. ISBN 1572244135, 9781572244139, New Harbinger Publications Davey, G. , (1997): Phobias: a handbook of theory, research, and treatment. ISBN 0471969834, 9780471969839, Wiley, Original from the University of Michigan Saul, H. , (2004): Fighting the Fear. ISBN 1559706937, 9781559706933, Arcade Publishing, Wagner, Van K. , (n. d): What is a Phobia? Retrieved on 4th April 2009 from: http://psychology. about. com/od/phobias/f/dis_phobiadef. htm

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