June 28, 2017

Phobias and Fears

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

~ FDR


New places, high bridges, and old elevators may make all of us a bit uneasy or even frightened. All of us may try to avoid things that make us uncomfortable. However, most people generally manage to control their fears and carry out daily activities without incident.

On the other hand, people with very strong fear reactions may work too hard to avoid common places, situations, or objects, even though they know there’s no threat or danger. Their fear may not make any sense, but they feel powerless to stop it. If you experience these seemingly excessive and unreasonable fears in the presence of or in anticipation of a specific object, place, or situation, then you may have a specific phobia.

A phobia and the associated anxiety can disrupt daily routines, limit work efficiency, reduce self-esteem and place a strain on relationships. People will do whatever they can to avoid the uncomfortable and often-terrifying feelings of phobic anxiety. While some phobias develop in childhood most seem to arise unexpectedly usually during adolescence or early adulthood. Their onset is usually sudden and they may occur in situations that previously did not cause any discomfort or anxiety. Specific phobias commonly focus on animals, insects, heights, thunder, driving, public transportation, flying, dental or medical procedures and elevators.

Many people with phobias realize that their fear is irrational and even thinking about it can often cause extreme anxiety. While fear has helped our species survive and thrive, an excessive amount of fear can be debilitating and get in the way of our success and happiness.

Read more at the National Institute of Mental Health (www.nimh.nih.gov) and the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (www.adaa.org) websites.

If you would like to get rid of your fear and anxiety about a specific object, place, or situation, please call me at 603-448-3588. You may also use my e-mail and my address is Karen@Psychologist-NH.com.