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Kathy Marshack News

When a Fear Becomes a Phobia

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Fears are normal. They are a natural and healthy part of life. They can allow a person to be on their toes and to be watchful of what is happening around them. Even though there is a positive side to fears, they can easily turn negative. When fears become irrational, out of proportion to the situation, or without basis, it becomes a phobia.

Phobias can be the fear of being in an enclosed area, fear of snakes, or fear of riding an airplane. A social phobia can be manifested in the fear of public speaking or of being surrounded by a crowd. They do not have to be complex to be a phobia. Some people who have developed phobias are aware that the fear is not based on rational thinking, but unfortunately, they are not able to get hold of their emotions and rise above their irrational fear. 

How do you know if you have a phobia?
Phobias often come with physical symptoms such as: heart palpitations, difficulty in breathing, rapid breathing or choking, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, shaking, shuddering, sweating, dizziness, insomnia, and increased sensitivity to sounds and light.

Even though the symptoms are severe, the good news is phobias can be relatively easy to treat. It depends on the individual but oftentimes therapists find that digging deeply into the root cause of the phobia is unnecessary. There seems to be little correlation between phobias and personality or personal history. Specifically, therapies that focus on treating the symptoms are the most effective. Deep relaxation, systematic desensitization and “flooding” are all behavioral techniques that have proven remarkably effective with phobias. A promising therapy, called “Eye Movement Desensitization,” is showing rapid cure also.

Do not allow fears to turn into phobias and control your work, social life, or your health. Seeking help the right kind of treatment from a qualified therapist will help you overcome your phobias. Do not delay is making the appointment – contact my office if you live in Portland, Oregon or Vancouver, Washington and are looking for a therapist to help you manage your phobia.

For additional information, visit Conquering Fears and Phobias.


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