Specific phobias or simple phobias they refer to disproportionate fears of specific stimuli. We can all have some type of phobia to a greater or lesser degree or know someone who has it.
In this article we will see what phobias are and what symptoms and characteristics they exhibit.
What are phobias and how do they appear?
Throughout our life, especially in childhood, a stage in which we still do not know how to manage especially the emotions, some situations in which a great fear, a feeling of disgust, an unforeseen fear has been felt, Etc., associated with an object, a situation or a living being, can memorize or leave a mark that maintains this association on our brain.
In this way, the appearance of the associated stimulus or any other related to it, it generates again the same sensation and in the same intensity as when we live the traumatic situation or unpleasant in the past.
Sometimes phobias can be so intense that they seriously limit the lives of people who suffer from them; imagine a severe phobia in birds or any stimulus related to them, be it feathers, their song, etc. This disproportionate fear will not allow that person to go out on the street normally, to go on a school trip or to live in places close to nature.
We can differentiate the following types of phobias.
1. Type of animal
They refer to a wide range of species, which can cause extreme fear to the child or adolescent, such as dogs or cats, certain types of insects or reptiles, worms, etc.
2. Type of environment
Fear of weather phenomena as they may be lightning and thunderstorms, heights, etc.
3. Sacred type, injections and damage
They suggest excessive fear or fear of surgical items, equipment and procedures, so it will generate intense anticipatory anxiety before blood test, going to dentist, gynecologist, going to hospital . too much there may be intense fear at the sight of blood or injury (Hematophobia), etc.
4. Type of situation
As the name suggests, they take the form of a disproportionate and irrational fear of situations such as tunnels, bridges, elevators, buses, being left alone, the dark, etc.
phobias they are an example of how our survival system worksExtremely potent and linked to our hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain. This memory, so intense of lived and dangerous events, is the reaction of our body when it considers that it must defend itself from this danger in the future.
Characteristics of these anxiety disorders
While fear is a reaction in proportion to the stimulus that triggers it, phobia is characterized by a disproportionate fear reaction to stimuli or situations that do not present a real danger.
Although the person is aware that their fear is irrational and disproportionate, they cannot control the fear, which triggers physiological reactions of anxiety such as tachycardia, nausea, dizziness, hyperventilation, cold sweats, Chills, stomach knot, etc.
The symptoms are so intense that many times situations where phobia may appear are avoided, To the point of limiting oneself to everyday life.
Psychology has developed techniques to overcome phobias; cognitive behavioral therapy is particularly effective, With techniques developed for the “unlearning” of anxiety such as systematic desensitization, progressive exposure and cognitive restructuring.
The latest advanced therapies such as EMDR or ICT give very positive results in overcoming phobias and trauma, being today one of the most effective and innovative treatments alongside cognitive behavioral psychology techniques.
From our experience in the field of mental health, at Advance Psychologists we have found that this class of anxiety disorders they can hardly be dealt with by going only to the logical and rational side of the human mind. The alteration focuses on how emotional memory is experienced, and therefore a comprehensive therapeutic approach should particularly affect this component.
Authors: Laura Palomares Pérez and Sofia Rodríguez de la Plaça.