What is a Phobia and How to Overcome Fear and Phobias?

Page content

What is Phobia

A phobia is a psychosomatic disorder and varies uncontrollably in degree. While there are some mild phobias which can be ignored and must not be considered as real psychiatric disorders, there are many cases of phobias that seriously influence people’s lives and limit their ability to live an average life.

If a person is suffering from unfounded fears of a particular experience or situation he or she is termed phobic. After years of scientific research on rats, scientists have finally identified the location where fear resides in the brain. Nobel Prize winner Eric Kandel describes it as “The one, the only area in psychiatry in which we have an anatomical substrate.”

According to New York University Neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux, “The hub in the wheel of fear is the small, almond-shaped brain structure called the amygdala.” Stress can set off all kinds of fears and phobias, says LeDoux.

How to Overcome Fear and Phobias?

Allopathic medicines are not the only answer for treating phobias, be it any doctor-prescribed anti-anxiety pills or anti-depressants. It is possible through therapy, to learn to confront your own fears and challenge any negative thoughts.There are few tested and tried ways that can help us overcome fear and phobias:

1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an effective psychological approach for the treatment of anxiety, fear, panic, phobia etc. The National Institute of Mental Health also supports this claim and reveals that almost 75 percent people suffering from phobias were able to overcome their unfounded fears through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT works with phobics to understand fear triggers so that one can cope up with it as just a simple unrealistic fear, not a dangerous one.

2. Just like CBT, there’s a therapy called exposure therapy or systematic desensitization. In this therapy, the patients confront their fears in a controlled and safe way. The patient encounters objects that incites fear in his or her mind and then confronts them in reality. For example a person suffering from arachnophobia (a scientific term for fear of spiders), will undergo different phases where at first he might be told to draw the picture of spider on paper, read books and watch videos on spiders and finally confront with a real spider to overcome his fears.

3. A vigorous exercise for a few days may help ease out the tension. Meditation and listening to a relaxation tape will also help to keep the mind calm.

4. Don’t allow stress to engulf your mind, instead question their reality. When you feel a panic trigger, just stay calm, breathe normally and explain to yourself that it is just an unrealistic fear.