Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Let’s Talk Some More About Phobias

I do have a fascination with people’s responses/reactions or fear to what they perceive as danger. For many these fears translate into phobias where the fear is either irrational or excessive. In other words, their reaction is an abnormally fearful reaction to a danger that is neither real or is greatly exaggerated. I find this particularly interesting when it comes to watching people's reactions to horror or violence.

Phobias affect people of all ages, from all walks of life and in every part of the world. Statistics tracked by the American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education report that in any given year, 7.8% of American adults have phobias. They are the most common psychiatric illness among women of all ages and are the second most common illness among men older than 25.

Phobias are emotional and physical reactions to feared objects or situations. Symptoms of a phobia typically include:

 Feelings of panic, dread, horror, or terror
 Recognition that the fear goes beyond normal boundaries and the actual threat of the danger
 Reactions that are automatic and uncontrollable, often taking over the person’s thoughts
 Rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, trembling and an overwhelming desire to flee the situations.

Phobias are divided into categories according to the cause of the reaction and avoidance.

AGORAPHOBIA is the fear of being alone in any place or situation where it seems escape would be difficult or help unavailable. Some people can become so disabled they literally will not leave their homes. Interestingly, two-thirds of those with agoraphobia are women.

SOCIAL PHOBIA’s are categorized as people who fear being watched or humiliated while doing something in front of others. The activity involves is usually very mundane, like eating a meal. The most common social phobia is the fear of speaking in public.

SPECIFIC PHOBIA, as the name suggests deals with people who have a specific phobia reflected by an irrational fear of a specific object or situation, like spiders or of being in closed in spaces.

Any phobia that interferes with daily living should be treated and can be treated either with therapy or mediations.

So embrace those phobias and live it up.

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