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Phobias are abnormal fears of any object or situation. A phobia can be so obsessive that it disrupts a person's lifestyle. Excessive fears become irrational fears or phobias. These phobias are magnified out of proportion to any actual threat of danger. The victim or sufferer may realize this and acknowledge it as a phobia but is unable to control his reactions towards the phobia. He is no longer able to fight his phobias and wants to take flight from them.

Some people have phobias without realizing it. If you can identify yourself in these common symptoms of phobia, then it's time to get some help. What happens in a phobia encounter is that the sufferer becomes breathless, experiences fast heartbeats, dizziness and unsteady movements.

There are three common types of phobias. The Simple Phobia is the exaggeration of a common fear. Two examples are excessive fear of heights, which is called acrophobia, and phobia of enclosed spaces, which is called claustrophobia.

The second main type of phobia is agoraphobia. This is the fear of being in crowded rooms or the opposite; fear of being in large, open spaces. Sufferers have the unfounded fear of losing consciousness or suffering heart failure in restrictive or open places. Victims of agoraphobia confine their activities to avoid these places and situations. If left untreated, sufferers become virtual hermits, holing themselves at home. They become so scared of stepping outdoors that they become prisoners of their own fears.

The last main category of phobia is the Social Phobia. Sufferers fear embarrassment or humiliation in public or in social situations. They avoid official and social functions. This is a serious setback if the sufferer is required to attend official gatherings like business meetings.

Many people have one fear or another. They may not exhibit adverse life style changes but their fears make them suffer stress. The source of fears and phobias originates in childhood. The root of the fear is not dissipated by adult or parental help so it grows. Fortunately, in most cases, the phobias are shaken off as the child matures into adulthood. If the phobias persist, it is a signal that professional treatment is needed.

Phobias are normally treated without medication. Exposure Behavioral Therapy is used to expose the person to his phobia. Trained therapists teach relaxation techniques to overcome the symptoms of fear. Continued exposure of the event will eventually condition his responses to accept control over his phobia.