Specific phobia is a type of anxiety disorder characterised by overwhelming, unreasonable, extreme, persistent and irrational fear or aversion to something; a specific object, situation, activity or person. People with specific phobia may experience a deep sense of panic when encountering their source of fear. People with phobias usually realise that their fear is irrational but however they may not be able to get over with it. Their fears are disabling to an extent where it interferes with their everyday life in schools, work and relationships.
Actual cause of specific phobias are unknown. Possible causes include:
- Genetic factors
- Environmental factors
- Experience negative or distressing events
- Certain medical conditions
- Substance abuse
- Changes in brain function
Common symptoms of specific phobias include:
- Panic attack
- Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath
- Increased rate of heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Inability to speak
- Dry mouth
- Feeling an intense need to escape the situation
- Aware that your fear is irrational, but cannot overcome it
- Avoiding the situation
- Difficulty in daily activities due to fear
- Physical exam
- Medical and social history
- Psychological evaluation
- DSM 5 criteria (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)
Try to deal with your own fears and seek help at the earliest signs.
- Psychotherapy: a treatment method in which you learn about your thoughts, emotions, feelings, moods or behaviours and helps you to eliminate or control your troubling symptoms. Different methods or types of psychotherapy such as exposure therapy and cognitive behaviour therapy are used in the treatment of specific phobias.
- Medications: drugs such as beta blockers and sedatives are used to reduce the stimulating effects of adrenaline and help in relaxing.
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