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Understanding Phobia

Fear is always part of human existence. It is very common to us and has been considered as our fundamental enemy. It is stimulated by external factors from harm which may result to anxiety. Thus, we make a decision to fight the threat or escape from it. If you, however, encounter absurd and tenacious fear of a certain situation, thing, event or person, that is precisely what we call phobia. Phobia originates from the Greek word phobos which means “fear”. The word transpired in the late 18th century which was originally based on fear of an imaginary evil.

In the recent decades, the term phobia progressed together with the growing number of professionals who respectively studied the different scopes of phobia. A study made by the National Institute of Mental Health reveals that between 8. 7% and 18. 1% Americans suffer from phobia. Result also shows that phobia has become the most common illness among millions of Americans. Now, findings tell us that persons who have phobia are prone to experience anxiety and disorders. If one finds his self unable to perform his usual tasks and activities because of fear, he is said to be suffering from clinical phobia.

And if by chance you notice an individual who is apparent to rapid pounding of heartbeat, diarrhea, flushing of face and faintness over certain stuff, certainly, you can say that he or she has an absurd fear of it. Phobia may arise from a traumatic event. Apart from that, it is believed that heredity, genetics, and brain chemistry that are associated with experiences play a crucial role in stimulating phobias. The amygdale, an almond-shaped mass of gray matter found in each hemisphere of brain, exudes hormones that control fear and aggression.

This helps interpreting the emotion felt through the facial expressions. Whenever fear begins, the amygdale discharges hormones towards the body in order to initiate a signal that we are ready to move, run or fight. Through our powerful instincts, we usually move away from these threats. Everyone has the notion of fear. Fear just comes. Even the great persons and the elite in our society experience fear. Edward VII, once King of England, had this fear of the number thirteen. Thirteen of course is known to be an unlucky number and many people are worried when it’s the thirteenth day of the month.

Napoleon Bonaparte, the famous general who nearly conquered the world, couldn’t help but stop in front of tall buildings and count the floors one by one. Edgar Allan Poe, a well-known American writer, was a claustrophobic and used his real-life fear of closed spaces to illuminated classic tales of confinement such as “The Premature Burial” and “The Black Cat. ” Sir Laurence Oliver, one of the greatest theater artists of all time, recently revealed that he suffered from bouts of stage fright so sever that he’d actually lose his voice. This somehow tells us that even those highly regarded individuals were not spared from this mental bug.

According to Dr. Tony Whitehead (1983), author of the book Fears and Phobias, to be totally without fear is to be in serious danger for fear is an elemental defense mechanism. When you have this fear of failure for instance, you strive harder not to experience it. Regarding fear as a precautionary measure of avoiding the worse thing to happen is healthy. But too much of it is not commendable. Fear is an emotion that has to be treated with equally strong disposition and open mind. While it holds true that fear is not a weakness of character, it doesn’t follow that a person is inadequate if he is afraid.

On the contrary, it is just as real as ulcers or diabetes that is curable. It is important to eliminate fear slowly so we can get ourselves “secured”. Eliminating fear should start from oneself. First, you should know what caused your fears or phobias and ask yourself why it developed. If traumatic experience constantly haunts you, then try to accept what has happened and learn to orient yourself of the facts that remain true in the passing of time. What happens in the past could not always be the same case in the present and in the future.

However, if you feel like you cannot deal with your fear or phobia by yourself alone anymore, you need to seek help from a doctor, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or a therapist. Either of them is the best person to help you and give you the professional treatment. A therapist can make use of the modeling method with which he can expose himself to phobic situation and let the patient witness. He can caress a dog or a cat in front of the patient to tell him or her that a dog or a cat is not really as harmful as he thinks it. A therapist can also teach the patient by imagining pleasant thoughts. This method is called desensitization.

The psychologists and psychiatrists can let the patient realize that he or she can get rid of fears if he or she is willing to cooperate with whatever professional help there is. In doing the best we can to, it is possible that we can digress from these irrational fears that we meet almost, if not always, everyday. If you may find one of your friends and loved ones facing with phobia, give him/her the attention he/she badly needed. The factors that contribute to fear are so complex to understand. However, there are many effective measures to prevent fear. Work Cited Whitehead, Tony. Fears and Phobias. New York: Arco Publication, 1983.

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