4 Questions to Ask Your Therapist About Phobias and Fears
Treatments are available for phobias and fears. Talk to our team of leading healthcare professionals today at Success Health Systems. Call us or schedule an appointment online! We have convenient locations to serve you in Columbia MO, West Plains MO, and Olathe KS.
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Phobia and fears are related but different in their normality of the fear. Fear is an emotion that we feel naturally to protect us from harm when we are faced with real and imminent danger. An excessive level of fear or anxiety that is out of proportion with the actual level of danger that an object or situation presents is called a phobia. Phobias are an abnormal reaction of fear or anxiety that can cause avoidance behavior when the individual is exposed to the object or situation at the center of their phobia. Fears are a natural part of our human nature and are shared across all species as a means to protect themselves from danger to life and limb. It allows us to anticipate danger to be able to react to it accordingly and ultimately protect ourselves from harm. Phobias on the other hand are an anxiety disorder that is excessive and not in line with the actual danger, if there is any, of the object at the center of the phobia.
While your treatment will depend on a number of different factors, there are some things that everyone can do in order to work toward relief of their anxiety symptoms. Often, removing yourself from certain situations in order to avoid undue stress or other triggers can significantly reduce symptoms on a daily basis. By working with an experienced therapist and psychiatrist, you can ensure you learn appropriate coping strategies and effective techniques to manage your anxiety symptoms. Some patients may also benefit from prescription medications that are either taken daily or when a person expects to encounter stressful and anxiety-inducing situations. At Success Health System, our compassionate healthcare providers will help you understand the breadth of treatment options available and design a treatment protocol that will improve your quality of life.
A therapist who specializes in fears and phobias can help with identifying the object causing the reaction and identify what it is about that object or situation that triggers the fear response. The most common form of treatment for phobias is exposure therapy. This type of therapy involves exposing the patient to the object or situation that causes their avoidance behavior, first through small exposures and then slowly increasing. The goal is to overcome the fear response through repeated and gradual increases of exposure by teaching the individual how to calm themselves and deal with their anxiety-based reaction to the object or situation. While exposure therapy has proven successful, it isn’t actually a cure for phobia. Patients will need to continue to be exposed to the phobia-inducing object or situation, either with ongoing help from a therapist or on their own, to ensure the phobia remains under control. Psychotherapy and medications are additional options for treatment but haven’t been shown to be as effective as exposure therapy.
Phobias can range in severity from one person to the next and vary in the type of object or situation that each person has a reaction to. Phobias can cause a number of negative effects in the lives of people who suffer from them, such as severe and life-limiting anxiety, feeling out of control and helplessness. Phobias can cause severe and life-limiting anxiety which can impact an individual’s ability to perform daily tasks such as running errands, going out with friends or even going to work. It can have a negative impact on your career, friendships and overall quality of life. Phobias can cause sufferers to feel out of control. In many cases, people realize and understand that their phobia is irrational or excessive, but they are unable to get it under control, no matter how hard they try. When your phobia affects several aspects of your life such as your job, social life and general quality of life and happiness, it can be common to feel helpless. This can come from feeling like there is no way to heal or overcome your phobia and wishing things could be different. There is help available for people who suffer from phobias, so you don’t have to suffer in silence.
Yes, phobias are a mental illness under the umbrella of anxiety disorders. They are treatable though with the help of a mental health professional who will work with you to understand and overcome your phobia. While you may always have some negative feelings towards the object or situation at the center of your phobia, a therapist or other mental health professional can help you find ways to deal with the anxiety it causes and provide you with techniques you can use to calm yourself down when exposed. There is no cure for phobias, so it is important to continue working on your treatment using the techniques provided by your therapist along with continued exposure to the object or situation that causes you fear and anxiety in order to keep your phobia in check.
For more information, call us or schedule an appointment online! We serve patients from Olathe KS, Columbia MO, West Plains MO, Harg MO, Prathers Ville MO, Midway MO, New Century KS, Olathe KS, Overland Park KS, Carson MO, Pomona MO, and Potters Ville MO.