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Phobias

Some people get very nervous before giving an important presentation, or maybe even a book report in front of a class of other students. But there are some people that are so afraid of public speaking that they will do anything to avoid it. They will worry for weeks before the special event and will even make themselves sick just thinking about it.

There are also people that are so afraid of spiders, or snakes that they will become deathly sick just from the sight of one.

Elevators scare some people to the point of not being able to breathe just thinking about getting on one. Being in closed up areas can cause some people to panic.

Some people will reroute their trip and go miles out of the way to avoid going through tunnels.

Some examples of phobias.

A phobia is a persistent, abnormal, and irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous. When someone has a phobia they will try to avoid that fear by doing anything they can to avoid it. This sometimes causes complications at the workplace and in other social settings and sometimes causes an inabililty to function at other particular tasks.

There is hope for people that have phobias of objects and situations. Your health care professional can help you to decide what is best for your type of phobia. They may suggest a type of behavioral therapy or medication that will help someone with a phobia to ease the stress that accompanies the fear and the doctor may even suggest you try both as a way of alleviating the anxiety, stress and fear and to help you manage your reaction to your fears.

Treatment:

Your health care professional may suggest Beta Blockers as a medication for your fears. These medications work by blocking the stimulating effect of adrenaline. They help with the anxiety, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, the pounding of the heart, shaky voice etc. They can be very effective for stage fright, but not all beta blockers are able to do this and the only way to get them is through prescription. Seek help from your doctor, ask him to lead you in the right direction by referring you to a specialist in the field of phobias, and get a proper diagnosis. Getting help is the best thing you can do for yourself and be able to function and live a normal life.

Antidepressants can reduce anxiety. The most commonly used antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medications act on the chemical serotonin, a neurotransmitter in your brain that's believed to influence mood. If SSRIs aren't effective or cause intolerable side effects, your doctor may prescribe a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), which blocks the chemical monoamine oxidase in the nervous system.

Sedatives called benzodiazepines help you relax by reducing the amount of anxiety that you feel. Sedatives need to be used with caution because they can be addictive. It's generally safe to use low doses of sedatives infrequently or only for short periods of time. But sedatives should be avoided if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, you don't need addiction on top of an already stressful situation.

Desensitizing or exposure therapy works by changing your response to the feared object or situation. You are gradually introduced to the object or situation that causes the phobia and this sometimes helps the person that has a phobia to learn to cope conquer the fear.

If you are afraid of flying, therapy may include talks about flying and progressing to looking at pictures of airplanes, or pictures of someone in an airplane and the pictures they have taken while in the air, and then being taken to an airport, then sitting in a plane, and then moving to flying.

Or if you have a fear of spiders, therapy may include talking about spiders, then progressing to look at pictures...you get the point. This has worked for many people, although there are some that their fears are so severe that this therapy may not work, but accompanied with medication, it may or may not work.

Cognitive behavior therapy is a more inclusive. This form of therapy involves the person with the phobia, along with the therapist learning wys to view and cope with the feared object and/or situation differently. By learning alternative beliefs about the feared object or situation it has less of an impact on your life and the way you function. You learn to develop a sense of control of your thoughts and feelings

Coping with Phobias:

If you are a friend, family member or spouse of the person that has these fears, do not reinforce the phobia by avoiding situations that cause the fears to become greater. For example, if someone is afraid of riding in an elevator, tell them they can take the stairs, but you will ride in the elevator and will meet them at the destination. If your child is afraid of the dark, show them that there isn't anything in the dark that they need to be afraid of, and take every opportunity to prove to them that it is okay to be in the dark and they won't be hurt. Talk to the person about their fears, and help them by being supportive. Don't belittle them for their fears, this will only make matters worse.

Try going to a local support group in your community if possible and talk to other people who have phobias. A positive support group involving people that have overcome their fears can help someone else to overcome as well. Being involved in a support group where everyone is full of fear and there is no positive intervention could be devastating. So try to avoid situations like that. Family members can also help by attending the support groups, this will in turn help them to know what to do in the event of a panic attack or other emergency situation.

If you cannot find a local support group, try looking on the net for support chat rooms for people with Phobias that are monitored by moderators. Some chat rooms out there can be horrible, so make sure they are monitored by someone that can keep out trouble.

Learn breathing and relaxing techniques, they could help you during a bad situation when you feel as though you are going to panic. Reinforce positive suggestions to yourself. Try saying "I can do this, I know I can do this." Believe in yourself.

A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. It is a strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. There are many specific phobias. Acrophobia is a fear of heights. You may be able to ski the world's tallest mountains but be unable to go above the 5th floor of an office building. Agoraphobia is a fear of public places, and claustrophobia is a fear of closed-in places. If you become anxious and extremely self-conscious in everyday social situations, you could have a social phobia. Other common phobias involve tunnels, highway driving, water, flying, animals and blood.

People with phobias try to avoid what they are afraid of. If they cannot, they may experience:

Panic and fear
Rapid heartbeat
Shortness of breath
Trembling
A strong desire to get away

Treatment helps most people with phobias. Options include medicines, therapy or both.

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