A phobia is an overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal.
Phobias are more pronounced than fears. They develop when a person has an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object.
If a phobia becomes very severe, a person may organise their life around avoiding the thing that’s causing them anxiety. As well as restricting their day-to-day life, it can also cause a lot of distress.
There are a wide variety of objects or situations that someone could develop a phobia about. However, phobias can be divided into two main categories:
- specific or simple phobias
- complex phobias
Specific or simple phobias centre around a particular object, animal, situation or activity. They often develop during childhood or adolescence and may become less severe as you get older.
Common examples of simple phobias include:
- animal phobias – such as dogs, spiders, snakes or rodents
- environmental phobias – such as heights, deep water and germs
- situational phobias – such as visiting the dentist or flying
- bodily phobias – such as blood, vomit or having injections
Complex phobias tend to be more disabling than simple phobias. They tend to develop during adulthood and are often associated with a deep-rooted fear or anxiety about a particular situation or circumstance.
The two most common complex phobias are:
- social phobia
Many people with a phobia do not require treatment, avoiding the object they are fearful of is generally enough to control the fear.
However not all people can avoid their phobia(s) and in this instance Professional help and support is an option that some would choose if available.
The main type of treatment we can provide is:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT):Can help you to manage your phobia(s) better by changing the way you think and behave, it also helps you to develop practical ways to deal with your phobia(s).
CBT can be used to gradually expose you to your fear which in time reduces your anxieties, known as ‘desensitisation/exposure therapy’.