Phobia: what is it? Well, a phobia is an irrational fear, a type of anxiety disorder in which the phobia sufferer has a relentless fear of a living creature, some object, situation, place or activity.
A phobic fear is way out of proportion to the tangible harm or danger that is possible. It is also the sort of fear that can be hard to get rid of.
A phobic fear is so severe that the sufferer will do anything they can to steer clear of coming into contact with the subject of their fear.
And most often spend a lot of time thinking about whether they’re likely to face it when they go about their day to day activities.
If you suffer from a phobia, you will have possibly realized that your phobic fear is irrational, yet, the thing is, you still can’t keep it under control.
If you come across the thing that you loath you become swamped with tremendous feelings of fear, anxiety and panic. The encounter is so horrible that you will go to enormous lengths to keep away from the situation or object you dread.
The major symptom of this condition is the extreme, unreasonable need to keep away from the dreaded subject.
The severity of a phobia can vary among people. Some people can just keep away from the cause of their phobic fear and undergo only moderately mild unease over that fear.
Other people can suffer extreme panic attacks with all the accompanying immobilizing symptoms. The majority of phobia sufferers know that they are suffering from an irrational fear, but are unable to overcome their initial panic response.
How Does a Phobia Start?
A phobia can start to develop in childhood, during puberty or early adulthood.
Phobias are frequently connected to a stressful situation or a frightening event. Though, it’s not always known why some phobias start.
Different Types of Phobias
The word phobia is applied in a non-medical sense for repulsions of all kinds. Though, when the word is used in a medical or clinical setting, various psychiatrist and psychologists categorise most phobias into one of two groups: specific/simple phobias and complex phobias.
First group: Simple/Specific Phobias
Specific or simple phobias are the fear of a solitary, specific, anxiety trigger such as snakes, dogs, spiders, escalators, closed-in places, tunnels, heights, highway driving, flying, water, blood, catching a specific kind of illness and many more. These kinds of phobias aren’t just intense fear they are also an irrational fear.
A lot of these specific phobias are expansions of fears that many people have. Many specific phobias are developed at an early age and can be traced back to a specific traumatic occurrence in childhood or adolescence and may possibly become less of a problem as you get older.
Like, for instance, if you get stuck in a restricted space when you’re a young child, you may then develop claustrophobia – a fear of restricted spaces – later on in life.
Furthermore, it’s similarly thought that these kinds of phobias can also at times be picked up at a young age from a member of your family. For instance, if somebody in your family has arachnophobia – a strong fear of spiders – you may then also pick up the same sort of fear yourself.
Also, other influences in the family setting, such as having close relatives who are predominantly anxious, may also influence the way you cope with anxiety later on in your life.
Specific/simple phobias can be broken down into one of 5 categories:
(1) Natural environment phobias: these phobias are fears that are triggered by things and subjects found in nature. For instance, fear of storms, fear of heights, fear of the dark, fear of water, fear of fire, ect.
(2) Animal phobias: these are fears are caused by snakes, insects and other animals, like for instance spiders, rodents, cats and dogs, ect.
(3) Blood-Injection-Injury phobia: this phobia involves the fear of blood, the fear of injection shots or any other medical procedure that might result in injury.
(4) Situational phobias: these phobias are fears that are triggered by a specific situation. Like for instance, fear of enclosed places, tunnels, driving, public transportation, bridges, elevators, flying, elevators, fear of dentists, ect.
(5) Other kinds of phobias. This sub-type should be specified if the fear is triggered by other stimuli that don’t fit into one of the first four specific categories. Like for instance, the fear of costumed characters, such as clowns, or the avoidance of certain situations that could lead to vomiting, choking or catching an illness, fear of death, fear of injury, fear of loud sounds. Also, “space” phobias – for instance the person is frightened of falling down if away from any physical support, such as walls, desks, tables, ect.
Second group: Complex phobias
Complex phobias are inclined to be more restricting than simple/specific phobias. They usually develop during adulthood and are frequently connected with a deep-rooted anxiety or fear about a particular circumstance or situation.
It’s still not known how complex phobias develop, such as Social anxiety disorder also known as social phobia and agoraphobia two very commonplace complex phobias. Though, it’s thought that life experience, brain chemistry and genetics, may all have some part to play in these kinds of phobias.
The symptoms (physical reactions) that is experienced by a person when faced with the subject of their fear are tangible and aren’t just simply in their head.
The way the body responds to the threat is by discharging adrenalin – a hormone – which produces physical symptoms, such as shortness of breath, trembling, sweating and tachycardia – a rapid heartbeat.
Sensations of going mad, dying losing control
A sensation of choking
A sensation of being detached from yourself
Cold or hot flashes
Discomfort or Chest pain
Shortness of breath
A smothering sensation
Accelerated heart rate, palpitations
Shaking or trembling
A tingling sensation or numbness
A sick feeling or stomach distress
Feeling lightheaded, unsteady or faint
As well as the physical symptoms, phobia sufferers will do anything they can to keep away from their phobic trigger.
If you have a severe phobic fear, your avoidance of the dreaded situation could unsettle your life big time and be a source of enormous anxiety and stress.
If you suffer from a phobia you can try the following NLP technique to eradicate it – the fast phobia model. This technique will allow you to re-experience the trauma without you having to experience the emotions surrounding the event, or having to face the trigger that would usually set off the phobic reaction.
This means that you observe an unpleasant event while you are doubly dissociated from the memory of it: forming a separation between you (in the present time) and the emotions of a phobic response or a trauma.
In the list that follows, the double dissociation is done through having you watch yourself in a cinema theatre (dissociation), while watching yourself on a cinema screen (double dissociation).
Make sure that when trying out this technique that you are in an environment that you know to be totally safe. Also work in the presence of another person, so they can help make sure that you are grounded. There are various variations of this technique, here is one of them.
The NLP Fast Phobia Model
(1) Think of when the last time was you had a phobic response to a stimulus, or to a traumatic or unpleasant thought that you would like to get rid of. What you are going to do is to make a film of the experience in your mind.
(2) What you need to remember is that you were safe before and after the nasty incident.
(3) Now imagine yourself sitting in a cinema looking at yourself up there on a black and white cinema screen.
(4) Next imagine that you are floating out of your body – the body that is you sitting in the cinema. Imagine that you are floating into the projection booth.
(5) So now you can see yourself in the projection booth looking at yourself sitting in the cinema seat watching yourself on the cinema screen.
(6) Now bring the memory of the phobia back and make it into a black and white film. Run this film on the cinema screen, starting just before the memory you wish to get rid of started right through to the end of the unpleasant experience when you were safe.
(7) Now freeze frame the film.
(8) Now float out of the projection booth into your body in the cinema seat, and then float from your body in the cinema seat into the end of the film up there on the screen.
(9) Now run the film backward very fast, do this in a few seconds, and in colour. Do this just as if you are experiencing the film, Go right back to just before the beginning to when you were safe. If you can think of any funny music while you are running the film backward this will help strengthen the results.
(10) Repeat steps 8 and 9 until you feel that the charge has dispersed from the experience.
(11) Now imagine that you are in the future. And test an imaginary time when you might have experienced the phobic response. If the phobic feeling doesn’t come back then your job is done. If it does then repeat the process.
Remember if your phobia involves real danger like being scared of poisonous spiders, or snakes, or any dangerous animals then you should still keep a bit of the anxiety you feel when you see them. This also goes for things like the fear of height, ect.
This is because you still need to have a healthy respect for any dangerous animal, insect or situation. If you get rid of the fear completely you might find yourself going up to a lion and patting it on the head, and that will never do! Good Luck!