A phobia is an overemphasized and illogical fear. The term phobia refers to anxiety which arises when something triggering is sensed by an individual.
However, there are various types of phobia identified by APA ( American Psychiatric Association). Such as:
- Specific phobia- as the name suggests it is defined as the fear that you experience against a particular trigger.
- Social phobia or social anxiety disorder- is defined as an intense fear of moving out and interacting with people. People with social anxiety are constantly preoccupied with thoughts of being judged, humiliated, mocked at, bullied by others when present in the social situation such as the classroom, school canteen, family functions, etc. The idea of attending social functions, family gatherings,s and going outside with friends terrifies the person having social anxiety. Also, it should be noted that social anxiety is different from introversion or shyness.
- Agoraphobia- This is defined as the fear of being in a situation from which escape would be difficult due to which a person experiences intense panic, such as being in an elevator, or sitting on a corner seat of a restaurant, getting stuck in-home, or getting stuck in a moving bus, etc. It is majorly misinterpreted as a fear of an open environment but could also imply being fixed in a small environment, such as a car, taxi, elevator, etc. People with agoraphobia are more prone to having panic disorder.
Symptoms of phobia
An individual with a phobia might experience the enlisted symptoms. They are most prevalent among the major kinds of phobia.
- A strong sensation of uncontrollable anxiety and fear when encounters with the source of the trigger.
- A feeling that the origin of that fear and anxiety must be ignored or avoided at every cost.
- Not able to function properly, loss of control when exposed to the source of the trigger.
- Multiple physical sensations such as sweating, shaking, trembling, rapid heartbeat, intensely breathing, chills, shivering, heavy-headedness, nausea, dry mouth, hot flushes, choking sensation, loss of body control, detachment with reality, chest pain, pain in the stomach, etc.
- In small children, parents can observe that they might be crying, become very clingy, or make various attempts to behind their parents, their body parts, or an object placed in the room. They may also become irritable, tough to handle, or show tantrums to express their stress and fear.
There are no specific causes of behaviors. It can be experienced in any age group, however, it is quite unusual to experience symptoms after the age of 30 years, it generally begins in early childhood, the teenage years, or adults.
It can be caused by stressful or traumatic experiences, a strange event, or it can also travel in the genes of individuals, it can also be learned by children when their close family member or relative exhibit panic attack.
Apart from all these causes, it is not necessary that there are confined triggers. Sometimes there is no physical trigger but still, the person experiences panic.
A complex phobia is much more likely to impact the wellbeing of an individual than a specific or simple phobia does. Complex phobia includes social phobia or social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia.
For example, people with agoraphobia- may also have many related phobias. Which can include claustrophobia or a fear of being stuck in closed spaces or monophobia or fear of being left alone.
These usually develop around or before the age of 4 to 8 years. In a few cases, it might be due to early trauma exposure.
For example, claustrophobia will develop badly after a small child has an unpleasant encounter in small places.
Phobia experienced in childhood can also be caused by encountering phobia of family members, for example, if a child has encountered fear of using online teaching apps or classroom apps in older siblings might later develop the same fear.
In order to properly deal with the symptoms, an individual should constantly acknowledge that the fear and anxiety are irrational, illogical, and overemphasized, combined with an incapacity to control one’s emotions.
An individual is more prone to experiencing feelings of a panic attack and immense anxiety when encountering the object of their panic. A feeling of anxiousness can be obtained simply by imagining or thinking about the source of the phobia.