A phobia is characterized as an irrational, unwarranted and deep-seated fear of an object and/or situation. A phobia can cause you to avoid non-dangerous situations and/or objects because you believe you will be harmed. You may have a specific phobia like acrophobia, in which you are specifically afraid of heights or you may have a general phobia like agoraphobia, in which you are afraid of public places. If you have an extreme fear of social situations, then you probably have a social phobia.
Other common phobias include: fear of dogs, water, blood, interstate driving and enclosed spaces like closets and tunnels. Phobias usually arise during adolescence and continue into adulthood. The causes vary, but there appears to be a genetic link. Treatment typically consists of medication and/or psychotherapy. Minds for the Future psychologists can help you find the root of your fears and banish them forever.
Signs & Symptoms
Common signs and symptoms associated with phobias:
- Anxiety & Fear
- Accelerated Heartbeat
- Shortness of Breath
Although there is still a lot to learn when determining the exact origin of many phobias, there appears to be a relationship between genetics and this health condition. In fact, many people with one or more phobias, report that others in their family also have phobias. Moreover, it appears that some children learn phobias by watching their family members react fearfully towards certain situations such as: a snake, spider, blood, etc. Other factors that may contribute to the development of phobias include: brain chemistry imbalances, cultural traditions and childhood/life experiences.
- Education: One of the most effective ways to treat a phobia is through education. Minds for the Future psychologists can teach you about your phobia (causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatments). Your psychologist may have you read about your health condition and then discuss it with you during your next session.
- Repeated Exposure: Repeated exposure to the stimulus can help you overcome your phobia. Minds for the Future psychologists can help change your reaction to the dreaded object or situation so that you are no longer afraid when you encounter it. In fact, gradual, repeated exposure to the root of your fear can help you permanently overcome your phobia.
- New Perceptions: If you are experiencing a phobia, Minds for the Future psychologists can help you look at the situation in a new light. Your Minds for the Future psychologist will teach you more positive ways of looking at the feared object or situation. During sessions, you will learn how to form new perceptions of your fears so that they no longer negatively affect your life.
- Modeling: Another effective way to treat phobias is through modeling. Minds for the Future psychologists can help successfully eliminate your phobia by teaching you how to “mimic” the coping mechanisms of others. During sessions, your psychologist will encourage you to “copy” the model in an effort to lessen the effects of the phobia.