Dealing with Phobias

The show Fear Factor is about fighting your fears. In the show, you can see people leaping from tall buildings, grab unimaginable stuff (dead rats, pig intestines, etc) using your mouth, being enclosed in tight spaces and eating all manner of gross objects. The toughest and the fastest contestant wins the grand prize. And people do their best to get through the stunts and the tests for the prize, usually amounting to $50,000.

However, there are people who can’t face their fears even if you offered to pay them a million dollars. To a person with a phobia, the fear just debilitates.

More on Phobias

With a phobia, the fear is intense, persistent, excessive and often unfounded or illogical. Although fear is a natural (and healthy) defense mechanism that can warn us of dangers, those with a phobia have taken fear to a higher level. The fear they feel is often disproportionate to the actual situation and the danger it presents. The fear is often illogical because it is caused by things that will not happen, things that have happened already and can’t be changed or things that are insignificant and not truly dangerous.

There is a long list of things people have phobias with: spiders, rats, snakes, thunderstorms, riding in planes, heights, and the number thirteen. Sometimes the fear is about relating to other people in social situations. And the list goes on…

Here are some interesting phobia facts and figures:
–    Roughly 6 million Americans have a specific phobia while some 11 million suffer from generalize phobia such as social phobia or agoraphobia (fear of open spaces).
–    Females are more likely to develop a phobia than males.
–    Social phobia is one of the more common phobias, as well as fear of speaking in public and fear of death.

When a person with a phobia is exposed to the thing he or she fears, he can suffer from intense distress. Some symptoms may include:
–    Excessive sweating and shaking
–    Shortness of breath or the feeling of being choked
–    Nausea or dizziness
–    Breathing problems
–    Palpitations and chest pains
–    Fainting
–    Numbness
–    Heart palpitations resulting in panic attacks or heart attacks
–    Hot or cold flashes

The fear is debilitating in that it interferes with the person’s ability to live a normal life and perform day-to-day and work activities. For instance, a sales person cannot successfully do his duties when he is afraid of flying. Or, a person who is afraid of heights may simply refuse a position just because the office is situated at the top of a high rise. Another example would be a person who would prefer letting his teeth rot because he is afraid of going to the dentist.

Therapy for Phobias

Learning relaxation techniques. Being able to relax can help ward of anxiety that may be welling up as a result of exposure to your phobia. You can learn to breathe deeply to slow your heart rate down and minimize the adrenaline that aggravates the “fight or flight” mechanism in you.

If you suffer from a phobia, it is best to go to a Utah therapist earlier on. Over time, the phobia becomes more complex and debilitating because of extreme measures one performs in order to avoid the source of his fear.

Utah counselors can help those with a phobia to come to terms with their fears and be able to face them so that they eventually do not produce the same level of anxiety and panic in them. In fact, therapists in Utah consider specific phobia as highly treatable among the anxiety disorders. Usually, exposure therapy is utilized. With this, the patient is exposed to the thing he fears under controlled circumstances.

Provo counselors can provide ways for an individual to cope and process their situations. With constant visits to therapists in Provo, one can eventually unearth the underlying causes for the fear and learn how to deal with the cause themselves.

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