A phobia is a fear that is so intense it causes a person to quit functioning rationally and normally. There is a big difference between a normal fear and a phobia.
When someone is simply afraid of something there is a good chance that that something could actually cause them physical or mental harm.
Phobias are different because the fear that is experienced is not rational and could not normally cause the person any type of harm.
Let’s say that someone has a phobia about mice. In reality, the mice cannot actually harm us; but to someone with a phobia the mouse might pose a life and death danger, which is imagined.
If you consider your fear to have reached proportions that are irregular then it would be wise to visit a psychologist. They will ask many questions about how you feel when you are afraid and how it affects your life.
Try and keep a journal recording these types of things so that when your doctor asks you do not have to rely on your memory for information.
Commonly, phobias appear alongside other psychological disorders like anxiety or depression. Abuse of alcohol or drugs can also contribute to the problem. The doctor will want to make sure that none of these other problems are contributing to your phobia.
Phobias do not typically appear for no reason. There are several things that can lead to them. The first, and most common, is experiencing a traumatic experience first hand. An example of a direct experience would be a child nearly drowning and developing a phobia of water.
The second type of trigger is a false alarm. A person might experience a panic attack during a social gathering and begin to relate it to the situation.
Observing others has also been known to cause people to develop phobias. A good example of this would be a young one hearing screams from a peer in a dentist chair and then becoming utterly afraid themselves.
The last reason that people develop phobias is word of mouth. This is really easy for parents to do to children because their minds are so malleable. A parent telling their child about how dangerous and scary spiders are can develop an irrational, lifelong fear of them. So, make sure you are careful about what you tell your child!
There are many things you can do to help yourself deal with a phobia. Try using herbs such as St. John’s Wort, Valerian, Scullcap and Passiflora Incarnata for their ability to lower anxiety and calming effects. Meditation and deep breathing exercise can also prove very helpful!
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