What are phobias? These are a type of anxiety disorder, which manifests as an intense and extreme fear of a situation, an animal or a feeling.
In general this fear is irrational in naturebut its intensity is such that it leads people to avoid confrontation as much as possible and to relate to the environment in a safe way.
Many types of phobias exist; however, science has grouped them into two categories to understand their nature.
Simple or specific phobias
They develop in childhood or adolescence. Its origin lies most of the time because the individual faces an extreme situationunderstanding his psychic abilities, leading him to experience a very uncomfortable situation and triggering avoidant psychic defense mechanisms which lead the individual to assume a resistance and a radical blockage against the initial stimulus and the trigger of Fear, Anxiety or Distress.
Among the examples of simple phobias we find animal phobias, environmental phobias which refer to all the stimuli present in the environment such as heights, water, depth, darkness, medical environments, among others . Body phobias are related to this intense, irrational and paralyzing fear of blood, bodily fluids, injections. There is a group of sexual phobias, which manifest high anxiety indicators specifically before sexual performance.
Finally, there are situational phobias such as flying, speaking in public, visiting certain environments such as hospitals and other places that can be very specific.
Complex phobias tend to develop in adulthood, causing the same crippling effects associated with extreme anxiety held in the body. Complex phobias generally tend to have a much more debilitating effect in the person who suffers from it, generating a significant impact on their quality of life, since it takes the person away from certain environments permanently, deeply impacting the mental health of the individual.
The most common are social phobia (fear of social exposure to a greater or lesser degree) agoraphobia (fear of open spaces) claustrophobia (fear of closed spaces).
How do I know if I have a phobia?
Those who suffer from a phobia usually tend to show symptoms associated with anxiety such as palpitations, sweating, dizziness, intense lightheadedness, shortness of breath, debilitating muscle tremors, abdominal pain; among others bodily symptoms and psychological symptoms such as blockages. Some people only express the symptoms if they are confronted with the stimulus that warrants their phobia, while others just thinking about that stimulus tends to trigger all the symptoms that underlie anxiety.
The causes of phobias can be very different, they can even be unrelated. Clinical cases have been studied which show that at the genetic level there is a predisposition that would facilitate the development of the disease. The environment plays a very important role, since we know that children learn by modeling.
Therefore, there are socially acquired phobias, usually children exposed to punitive parents and having a tendency to extreme fear, either develop a personality type very similar to that of their parents, or in contrast to this it turns out and becomes the opposite extreme. It should be noted that they are also explained independently of genetics and upbringing and are related to the environment. Extreme traumatic situations can trigger post-traumatic stress and then a phobia.
Post-traumatic stress is understood as a triggering consequence that it is directly related to a specific situation or trauma experienced by a person or a group of people. The deterioration of mental health is linked to the psychic manifestation of each individual and to the way in which he manages the perception of the trauma in his experience and in his reality, leading him or not to make adjustments to achieve a serene understanding that facilitates trauma management. Post-traumatic stress is associated with people of all ages, but occurs particularly in women.
It is manifested by the following symptoms:
- Relive the traumatic event
- Avoidance of trauma-related stimuli
- mental dullness
- State of hyperactivation
We have all known fear, since this phenomenon is associated with the subjective perception that the subject has of his own environment; however, in extreme situations where life and integrity are in danger, a considerable impact is generated at the psychic level. People with PTSD typically experience the same symptoms associated with the triggering situation over and over again.
Experience becomes a cycle where the event and the emotions associated with the event recur and hardly stop if the person does not seek clinical help that facilitates the management of the psychic universe, the structure of the unconscious and consciousness who inhabits it to process the trauma.
Acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder are two different clinical diagnosesthe latter is characterized by a greater precipitation and duration of symptoms around the trauma.
How to treat it
In general, these types of problems require professional help, from a clinical point of view, by a specialist who accompanies you in managing the symptoms, identifying the stimuli that trigger the psychological discomfort and preparing the individual to resignify the perception that has the traumatic event or events or events.
Symptoms associated with anxiety are usually accompanied by an educational and therapeutic model of proximity, where perception of trauma changes and techniques of relaxation, conscious breathing, cognitive restructuring are used… Or even more complex processes such as hypnosis, which have been shown to have a very positive impact on the lives of people suffering from this type of diagnosis.
It is very important to understand that the brain has a mechanism of neuroplasticity, which facilitates the processes of learning and relearning. The unconscious processes, being timeless, allow to enter new perceptions around the same situation; it is therefore recommended support aimed at repeating the traumatic eventwhich makes it possible to shape the perception around a situation.
If you consider yourself to have any of the symptoms described, it is very important that you seek professional help, someone who facilitates the process, and allows yourself to live a life away from the distorted memory associated with the trauma; no matter how complex the situation, your brain is ready to generate new ideas, perceptions, emotions and stories associated with well-being.