Controlling your Fears and Phobias

A phobia is a persistent irrational fear of and wish to avoid a specific object, activity or situation. This sense of fear is out of proportion to the real danger, which the person recognizes as exaggeration. The person finds it difficult to control fear and will attempt to avoid the object or situation. A specific phobia can cause you considerable anxiety, and depends on whether you come across that particular trigger area often or not. Those suffering with a phobia feel anxious not only in the presence of an object or situation but when thinking about them.

It is estimated that 10% of the population experience a fear of phobia, and most will not seek treatment, as it does not affect them very often. Some are easier to live with, such as fear of snakes, unless you come across snakes on a day to day basis.

Animal phobias are more common, rats, spiders, birds and dogs. These phobic responses develop in childhood, where they may be considered ‘normal’. It is only when they persist into adult life and cause a disruption that they are then called a phobia.

There are so many phobias, in fact anyone can have a fear or phobia about anything in the entire world, some of which are, fear of heights, crowds, open or enclosed spaces, elevators, thunder and lightning,
injury, hypodermic needles, illness. These phobias are a cause of the person’s perceptions on what could go wrong, or have experienced something that did go wrong, perhaps a previous trauma. The person then places more emphasis on the negative, building up into a gross fear that it will happen again. Sometimes it is a ‘learned response’ from their parent who had a specific fear or phobia.

Fear of flying is encountered by many individuals, some are unable to fly at all. The fears range from the wings falling off, to claustrophobia, not being able to get out, wheels not fixing for a landing, and many other fears of something that could go wrong.

Hypnotherapy is extremely helpful in treating phobias. By finding and removing of where the specific fear or phobia developed, allows that person to feel so much better, and by providing more control using a cognitive approach in those situations, where they will feel more comfortable.

Fear of flying
Of course everyone is different and therefore have different thoughts and feelings about flying. Some people believe that the wings will fall off, or that the plane will run out of fuel. Others feel sick a long time before flying, to being in total panic arriving at the airport. The thought of suffocating, feeling trapped, claustrophobia and many other worst case scenarios that can be thought of, will create fear and total panic.

Fear and panic are acute states of arousal that occur repeatedly and unexpectedly which can have some of the following symptoms:-
Difficult rapid or laboured breathing, palpitations, chest pains, choking or smothering sensations, dizziness, fainting fear of dying, fear of mental illness, or of impending doom, hot / cold flushes, hot / cold clammy hands, tingling / burning sensations, trembling / shaking, sweating, unrealistic feelings.

Most people with a panic disorder feel anxious about the possibility of having another panic attack.

A panic disorder can progress to produce a phobia due to avoiding a situation that they think will cause a panic, including agoraphobia where panic is felt in crowded places, shops, and when flying. Even the thought of flying on holiday or a business trip can create anxiety.   

This problem responds well to cognitive behavioural therapy.