We all experience or know someone who experiences a profound fear, such as a fear of spiders, snakes or heights. This is because holding fears towards certain objects or situations is extremely common. However, in some cases, the fear reaction is so severe, and the feared stimulus is commonly encountered that the fear becomes a major burden, which interferes with our ability to function day-to-day.
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder that may present as persistent fear and irrational avoidance of an object or situation. Common phobias include claustrophobia, blood or injection phobias, animal and insect phobias, height phobias, flying phobias, storm phobias, fear of death; choking and vomiting phobias, dental phobia and fear of disease. It is important to seek help if a phobia is disrupting your everyday life, or causing significant distress.
So how do you know when your worries or fears have crossed the line and are starting to affect your quality of life? There are a number of indicators which could suggest that you are experiencing a phobia, including:
A phobia can occur towards anything, and will uniquely effect each person in a different way. Therefore, it can sometimes be difficult to identify. You may have experienced some of the above features, but not know specifically what the cause of them are. This could indicate a phobia towards an everyday behaviour such as socialising or leaving the house, or it could even indicate a more general experience of anxiety.
If you have a phobia which you know has been impacting on your life for a long time, or if you feel nervous and anxious without knowing why, a VCPS practitioner can help you work through this. There are a number of practitioners who specialise in phobias and anxiety, and they can assist by: