How Phobias Interfere with People’s Lives

A phobia is an irrational fear that can grip an individual’s life. Some people who live with phobias may not be affected by them as much as some others. Here are ways that phobias can affect a person’s life.

We have all heard about some wild phobias like the fear of the number 13 or the fear of milk or dead bodies. These types of phobias, while unrealistic, don’t often affect people to the point of immobilizing them. You can conceivably stay away from dead bodies and the number 13 if you are careful. You can still live a normal life.

But, there are other phobias that can be very detrimental. Phobias are part of a category of mental illness that includes anxiety and fear. The difference between anxiety and phobias is that anxiety usually surrounds a situation or event and usually subsides once you are removed from the situation. Avoiding the situation can help you to stop the attacks.

With phobias, there are three types: social, specific and agoraphobia. Social phobia revolves around other people and social situations. This can be something like the fear of speaking in public or being in a crowd of people. That can be hard to manage in everyday life if you must take the subway to work or travel a lot on planes for your job. You are not scared of people per se, but the different situations involving them.

Specific phobias surround a certain object or issue. You may be afraid of dogs. This may even be triggered by seeing a dog and imagining what they may do to you. If you are fearful of escalators or elevators, you might have a problem entering buildings that go above the first few floors. It is not always convenient to take the stairs.

Agoraphobia is the fear of being trapped in a public place. Some agoraphobics avoid certain public places due to the fear of experiencing an attack there. In severe cases, they don’t venture out of their homes in public.

Any phobia has the potential to be debilitating if it in some way will clash with your lifestyle. There is no definitive answer as to why certain people develop phobias. Some may be due to trauma or injury that keeps repeating itself in the brain like a bad film loop.

In any case, even though the rational mind knows that the likelihood of the perceived fear occurring is low, the rest of the body refuses to accept this.

Treatment Options

Unless the fear is interfering with life, treatment may not be sought. In other cases, a therapist may try a number of relaxation techniques, behavior therapy, alternative therapies, stress management and eating regimens to deal with the specific phobia being experienced. Medicine therapy like antidepressants may be prescribed in some cases to accompany or be in lieu of other forms of treatment.

Phobias are irrational or unrealistic fears, but they can grip your life in such a way that you are not living at all. Find out about your phobia and seek treatment to regain control of your life.