If you have anxiety or fear of something – like spiders or flying – you know what a phobia is. Cognitive behavior therapy exercises can help.
What is a phobia?
A phobia is an irrational, extreme fear of a specific thing. Common phobias include fear of spiders, dogs, flying, injuries involving blood, heights, and driving on the highway. Fear of closed-in places like elevators and tunnels are also common phobias, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
While these fears may sound silly to people who don’t experience them, there’s nothing funny about the debilitating anxiety and suffering phobias can cause.
About 20 million Americans have phobias, the NIMH points out, and if you are one of them, the consequences may damage your quality of life. Phobias can put a strain on relationships if you can’t take trips because you are terrified of flying or driving on the highway, for instance. And phobias can disrupt daily routines, reduce-self-esteem, and even limit work efficiency if you go out of your way to avoid a situation – like riding in elevators – that brings on the terrifying panic associated with phobias.
Even if you’ve tried unsuccessfully to get over your near-hysteria when spotting a spider or faced with any other situation that triggers your phobia, there’s hope your condition can be resolved with the right type of therapy.
April 01, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN