Although most people do not distinguish between phobias and fears, the fundamental difference is that fears are more justified in reality.
The difference between phobias and fears
Phobias are a special form of fear associated with particular objects, places, activities, or situations. People who have phobias are aware that it is unrealistic, illogical, and excessive. The word phobia itself comes from the Greek phobos, which means panic, horror, and escape.
Fears are natural reactions to dangerous stimuli, accompanied by physical symptoms that prepare the body for “fight or escape,” while phobias are excessive and unfounded fears that hinder the daily functioning of a person.
Over 10% of the adult population has some phobia, and phobias from childhood may get activated in adulthood. Often the original object is replaced by another, and the real cause is suppressed to the unconscious; this is the mechanism which creates phobias.
Symptoms of phobias
People who have phobias do not have to contact the phobic object to feel symptoms. It is enough to see it on a picture, screen, or just imagining it.
Typical symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Excessive sweating
- Trembling hands or body
- Dry mouth
- The feeling of a lump in the throat
- The feeling of weakness and languor
This experience can be so uncomfortable that a person thinks he has a heart attack
Types of phobias
There are over 200 phobias of various categories, and given that the objects of fear can be completely irrational, the real number of phobias is difficult to determine.
There are specific phobias, social phobias, and many others. Some of the most common are:
- Arachnophobia – fear of spiders;
- Ophidiophobia – fear of snakes;
- Acrophobia – fear of heights;
- Agoraphobia – fear of open space;
- Claustrophobia – fear of closed space;
- Astraphobia – fear of thunder;
- Trypanophobia – fear of injections;
- Social phobia – fear of social situations and other people’s judgments;
- Pteromerhanophobia – fear of flying;
- Mysophobia – fear of dirt and bacteria.
Treatment of phobias in Dr Vorobjev special hospital
It is important to know that phobias can be cured and we have found an effective way to treat them.
The most effective method is exposure therapy or the technique of systematic desensitization. Its essence is gradual exposure to a phobic object. It is desirable to practice desensitization through imagining before exposure in real situations as this causes a lower degree of fear that can be tolerated.
Exposure therapy requires the patient’s will and a high degree of commitment. If you are ready to bear a certain degree of discomfort, with will and perseverance, you will eventually reach your goal, and our experts will be here to provide you with all the necessary support to free yourself from phobias.
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