It is estimated that 5-10% of the global population have a specific phobia. Phobias are intense and irrational fear of specific objects, situations, and activities. They can affect the daily life of a person and overall wellbeing. Consequently, phobia management and support are important to assist individuals cope and overcome their fear. Controlling and supporting phobias can result to positive outcomes such as improved quality of life, reduced anxiety and distress, and increased functioning and productivity. Here are effective strategies in phobia management and support.
Understand Causes, Symptoms, and Triggers
It may be difficult to acknowledge personal phobias. However, if these fears already prevent proper functioning and daily life from taking place, it is vital that they are confirmed so that the reasons, symptoms, and triggers are understood. Typically, phobias are diagnosed and assessed by mental health professionals such as psychologists and psychiatrists. These professionals possess the expertise and training to evaluate and confirm various phobias.
They usually employ specialized assessment and diagnosis of the condition using clinical interviews, psychological assessments, and observations. In general, phobias may be caused by a combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors. In fact, evidence suggests that the condition can run in families. They can also be triggered by a traumatic or scary experience. For example, a person who had a near-death experience or who experienced a traumatic death can develop an intense phobia of death. The awareness of one’s mortality can also trigger fears related to death.
Phobias may also be acquired by associating a specific object or situation with a previous negative experience that can lead to the development of phobia. Even observing other people’s fear can contribute to the enhancement of phobia. Witnessing someone display extreme fear or avoidance behavior is another factor while negative thought patterns or irrational beliefs reinforce and maintain phobias. Furthermore, certain cultural beliefs or exposure to specific environments can contribute to phobias. The bottom line is the interplay of various factors and individual differences influences phobias. Therefore, understanding the potential causes can help in the formulation of treatment approaches and interventions for managing the condition.
Follow Therapies and Techniques
Exposure therapy is a common technique used by professionals to treat phobias. By gradually and systematically exposing a patient to the feared object or activity in a controlled and safe environment, an individual can overcome their phobia. Relaxation techniques can also manage anxieties associated with phobias. These techniques include deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness meditation. People with phobias can do the therapeutic exercises themselves and gradually overcome their fears.
Another technique that can be done is to challenge negative thoughts. Because phobias often involve irrational beliefs and thinking, using logical reasoning to defy these thoughts and replace them with realistic and positive reflections can help the condition. In addition, setting achievable goals to gradually overcome phobia is a step in the right direction. Celebrating accomplishments, no matter how small, can reinforce positive thoughts and behavior. It helps as well if there is a support system in place. This may come from friends, family, or support groups. Sharing experiences and hearing from others who have overcome similar fears can provide comfort and motivation. Above all, it is vital to practice self-care by ensuring a wholesome physical and emotional health because it can help reduce anxiety and make it easier to manage phobias.
Conquering a phobia takes time and effort. However, with patience, persistence, and commitment to a treatment plan, it is possible to overcome and manage fears.