How to overcome a phobia? Useful tips and treatments

Fear is one of the basic emotions when faced with situations or stimuli that pose a threat to us, real or otherwise.. We’re all afraid of something. It’s normal and common. What is unhealthy is that it causes inhibitions and detracts from our quality of life. Such is the case with social phobia and the fear of flying or driving.

Fears have their origin in learned behaviors and, consequently, they can be deactivated. How? We’ll tell you, but first we’re going to know in depth what a phobia is and what its symptoms and main causes are.

Phobia: What It Is, Causes, and Typical Symptoms

A phobia is an overwhelming and irrational fear of something in particular (of spiders, of heights, of driving a car…) or of a particular circumstance (of meetings of friends, of flying by plane…). If this symptom picture persists for several months, a psychologist can diagnose us with an anxiety disorder, which requires a specific and professional treatment.

This exaggerated fear of anxiety leads us to adopt preventative behaviors. For example, a person has a distressing fear of the presence of a dog and avoids walking down the street or in areas where he knows he might come across a dog. This is a waste of their daily life.

Another example would be an individual who suffers from fear of public speaking.and therefore avoids as much as possible to face this situation that generates stress and anguish. If you don’t solve this phobia, your working life is likely to be limited, as most companies place a high value on workers’ ability to communicate.

Phobias, as we have already said, start from learned situations, that is, from negative experiences. (having been bitten by a dog develops cinophobia) or inherited (a mother transmits to her children the fear of injections -tripanophobia-).

Symptoms

Some of the common symptoms in phobias are the following:

Anxiety about the object or the threatening situation, even just thinking about it.

  • Feelings of helplessness (lack of control).

  • Avoidance behaviors.

  • Notorious deficit in the performance of daily tasks (work or family life).

  • Physical reactions to the feared object or situation: sensation of dizziness, tachycardia or sweating.

What are the most common phobias?

We are going to know which are the phobias that affect a greater number of patientsand its main characteristics.

1. Social phobia

Fear of being judged negatively in social or public contexts (for example, at a party or an exam).

2. Agoraphobia

Anxiety and feeling of anguish when in open spaces, especially because of the fear of losing control in a situation that is perceived as hostile and helpless.

3. Claustrophobia

Exactly the opposite of agoraphobia. It is the fear of enclosed spaces, such as elevators or other similar rooms.

4. Aerophobia or fear of flying

Fear of moving aboard airplanes.

5. Amaxophobia or fear of driving

Causes anxiety or panic attacks in command of a vehicle.

How to deal with fears, for example, of open spaces

“We’re all afraid at some point in our lives. The important thing is that you don’t paralyze us,” says the psychologist. Tomás Santa Ceciliawho has a “non-pathological” view of fears or phobias.

“These and other situations can overtake us thinking we don’t know how to deal with them. At that point, having a psychologist can be a great help,” suggests the professional who, in dealing with these issues, is guided by the cognitive-behavioral model, its effectiveness and great scientific support.

The first step is to become aware that this is an uncontrollable fear. The second is to treat it. How? “Unlearning” fears and learning new coping strategies to overcome them and gain security.

It is possible to overcome social phobia, as well as the fear of driving, flying or open spaces. The important thing is to get professional help as soon as possible. “My goal is for you to recover your emotional well-being,” says psychologist Tomás Santa Cecilia.