Fear is an essential emotion for survival. Nowadays, there are certain people who seem wired to ignore their sense of fear completely and push it (and themselves)to the edge. They are often referred to as “thrill seekers” or “adrenaline junkies”. It’s not that they have a death wish. Although the chemical reactions to fear are the same for everyone, they handle the emotion of fear in a different way.
When faced with a threat, our body immediately jumps into fight or flight mode. What happens essentially is the unneeded organs take a step back reserving energy for the vital ones. The body releases high amounts of adrenaline raises the heart rate along with breathing and increases sweating. This is exactly what happens to a phobic when confronted with their source of fear. Evidently, this would be quite troublesome in their day to day life.
Neuro Chemicals in each of us distinguishes those who control, even, enjoy their fear from those who are controlled by it. Depending on levels of dopamine and testosterone, some may be inclined to, say, jump off a plane, therefore, risking their lives on the chance their parachute works. Without a doubt, a person with a phobia of heights would not even consider getting on the plane. Different people handle the emotion of fear in various ways creating the extremes on both ends of the spectrum.
There is not one cause that triggers a phobia. Experience, trauma feeling a lack of control can all lead to the same destination. Phobias are also learnt; hence culture, society and peers have a role in the cultivation of phobias. During our younger years, is when we are most susceptible to others thoughts and feelings. This means we will often acquire our phobias at a young age.
Thrill seekers never seek thrills from the same place twice. They get bored quickly. If they have done something more than once with the same outcome, it doesn't feel as risky. For this reason, repeated exposure is used to cure people with phobias. The idea is that if they continuously face their fear, it will eventually feel ordinary. Systematic Desensitization is another form of treatment which is completed in three stages. The first being deep muscle relaxation to discourage negative emotions and stress. Stage 2 is completing the fear hierarchy. The patient must either imagine or be exposed to their fear repeatedly however each time it gets worse. For example, the first time they would simply think about it then look at a picture of the object and next have the object in the same room. This continues until step 3 which is to do step 1 and 2 at the same time.
If you’re looking to treat a phobia, please do not try any of these techniques on your own. If they are carried out incorrectly, it can easily make the situation worse. It is also important to have the support needed from someone trusted and knowledgeable.
To understand what a phobia is, you first have to know the difference between fear and phobia. Fear only exists in the present when faced with the source of fear. For example, if you have a fear of flying you will only feel uncomfortable once you are on the plane. Unlike a phobic, you can make it throughout the flight without too much trouble.Phobias are far more extreme. For arachnophobes, simply seeing a picture of a spider would severely distress them. They might even go as far as to check a room for spiders every time they enter a room. To put it simply, fear turns into a phobia when it disrupts and interferes with people's lives creating several inconveniences.
You probably already know that all of us were born with only two fears: loud noises and falling. The rest we acquire usually during the childhood years of our lives. This is because young children trust their role models and naturally, follow suit. An adult or a parent is the only source of information for a child so if they see authority figures acting afraid of something irrational, they will not question them.
A frightening experience can also trigger a phobia. Children often get scared and on some of these instances, the brain establishes the thing or situation as a real danger. Reassuring statements alone will not change their feelings once they have a phobia. Often nothing will be done about phobias in hopes that they will simply go away. However, the more a child is left to think over their phobia the worse it will get over time. Although adults are not as impressionable as children, they can still develop phobias in the same way. Nonetheless, adult phobias are more likely to be linked to a negative experience.
When it comes to phobias, it is worth getting professional help. An untreated phobia can persist for years on end, restricting the way you live your life. Harley Streets phycologist and hypnotherapist Adam Cox is the leading expert in curing phobias quickly and uses different methods depending on what the individual needs. These are psychotherapy, different hypnosis techniques and forms of neuro-linguistic programming to change your perception of your phobia. So, what is the best technique for you? Click on the button below and book a free consultation!
Do you remember the last time you left a room with people in it? The answer for most people is probably, no. However, for those suffering from social anxiety disorder(not to be confused with Generalised Anxiety Disorder), a moment as mundane as this causes anxiety and overthinking. They could be thinking anything from:
“If I get up now, I’ll get to the door at the same time as that person. I might bump into them and be awkward and blush. That would be embarrassing.”
“I need to leave but if I get up before everyone else, they will all stare at me and I’ll freeze or do something silly.”
This is an example of SAD on a small scale, but what could be the repercussions of thoughts and feelings like this on a larger scale? For one it could affect work life as meetings would be a nightmare for a person with SAD, so they’d prefer to avoid it altogether. This, of course, would cause many disruptions in important areas of not only their own lives but also of those around them. If it gets to this point, after 6 months there would be a formal diagnosis of Social Phobia or Generalised Social Phobia, if it involves more than one specific social anxiety. Some examples of specific social phobias are:
• Fear of blushing in public
• Fear of choking or spilling food in public
• Fear of being watched at work
• Fear of public toilets
• Fear of crowds
• Fear of taking exams
SAD could be an issue for up to 14% of adults at some point in their lives. The most common social phobia is public speaking/performing. A condition Barbra Streisand had the unfortunate luck of experiencing first hand. Streisand forgot the words to her song while performing and a large concert. Due to this negative experience, Streisand refused to perform in public again for the next 30 years.
Fortunately, studies have shown that up to 50% of people with SAD experience a huge amount of improvement within 2-3 years. However, for the other 50%, the condition could go on longer without the right treatment.
The former group's improvement could be due to relieved stress levels at school, work or in personal life. Although some of these situations may be out of our control, with treatment, SAD could be relieved and at best expelled, creating a new beginning filled with far more opportunities.