These can be so distressing and the number of Phobiasis extensive. There are many common ones but there are just as many different and unusual phobias, all with a common theme.
It is true to say that phobias can keep people from having a normal life, depending on how often they must encounter or avoid their fear. However, be assured that Hypnotherapists deal with these frequently and with a very good rate of success.
To put things into context, a phobia is just a name for a strong, persistent fear of situations, objects, activities, or person(s). The main symptom of this disorder is the excessive, unreasonable desire to avoid the feared subject.
Phobias are believed to be developed by heredity, genetics and brain-chemistry combined with life-experiences. The name of your phobia will exist but remember, it is just a name.
There are three types, or groups of phobia. These are Social Phobias, Specific Phobias and Agoraphobia. Yours will belong to one of the phobia groups.
SOCIAL PHOBIAS Social phobia is sometimes called Social Anxiety Disorder. Social phobia is not just shyness, it is more severe than that. With social phobia you find you get very anxious about what other people may think of you, or how they may judge you. As a result, you have great difficulty in social situations, which can affect your day-to-day life. Your big fear is that you will act in an embarrassing or humiliating way and that other people will think you are stupid, inadequate, foolish, etc.
In some cases the fear is only for certain situations where you will be looked at by others, even if you know them. For example, you become very anxious if you have to ‘perform’ in some way, such as giving a talk or presentation, taking part in a discussion at work or school, etc. You may have weeks of anxiety prior to a social event or an event where you have to ‘perform’ but are perfectly fine in informal social gatherings. Alternatively, there is a comedian who can "perform" on stage with little difficulty but is unable to make "smalltalk" in a shop or social gathering.
In other cases the fear occurs for most social situations where you may meet strangers. This can even include eating in public places as you fear you may act in an embarrassing way.
If you suffer from a social phobia, you will find yourself avoiding such situations, as much as you possibly can. If you do go to the feared situation you become very anxious and distressed. You may find you develop some of the physical symptoms of anxiety such as a fast heart rate, palpitations, shaking (tremor), sweating, feeling sick, chest pain, headaches, stomach pains, a ‘knot in the stomach’, fast breathing, or blushing very easily. You may have an intense desire to get away from the situation and you may even have a panic attack. Children often demonstrate these fears as tantrums, crying, clinging etc.
Like the other phobias, social phobia can greatly affect your life. You may not do as well at school, or work, as you might have done, as you tend to avoid any group work, discussions, etc. You may find it hard to get, or keep, a job as you may not be able to cope with the social aspects needed for many jobs, such as meeting with people and ultimately it can result in you becoming socially isolated and finding it difficult to make friends.
It is one of the most common phobias and 1 in 10 adults have social phobia to some degree. It usually develops in the teenage years and is usually a lifelong problem unless treated. In one study about half of affected people said their phobia began after one memorable, embarrassing experience but the other half said it had been present ‘as long as they could remember’. Statistically just over twice as many women are affected than men. So, it’s common, your not alone and you can get help.
Many people experience specific phobias. These are experienced as intense, irrational fears of certain things or situations, for example, spiders, dogs, closed-in places, heights, escalators, tunnels, highway driving, water, flying, and injuries involving blood. These are a just a few of the more common ones. These are irrational fears. For example, you may find you are able to ski the world’s tallest mountains with ease but panic going above the 10th floor of an high rise office building.
Adults with specific phobias realise their fears are irrational, but often facing, or even thinking about facing the feared object or situation, brings on a panic attack or severe anxiety.
Specific phobias strike more than 1 in 10 people. No one knows just what causes them, though they seem to run in families and are a little more prevalent in women. They start suddenly and tend to be more persistent than childhood phobias and only about 20 percent of adult specific phobias vanish on their own. When children have specific phobias, for example a fear of the dark, those fears usually disappear over time, though they may continue into adulthood. No one knows why they hang on in some people and disappear in others.
This is an anxiety disorder and is related to panic attacks. It is characterised by anxiety in situations where you perceive the environment as being difficult to escape from, and being embarrassed, trapped and helpless or unable to get help. Some of these situations include, but are not limited to, wide-open spaces, as well as uncontrollable social situations such as being in shopping malls, airports, on bridges etc. This never happens in your own home.
Although mostly thought to be a fear of public places, it is now believed that Agoraphobia develops as a complication of panic attacks. So Agoraphobia involves the fear of incurring a panic attack in those places. If you suffer from Agoraphobia you may go to great lengths to avoid these situations, and in severe cases find yourself unable to leave your home or place you know as your “safe haven”. It is not the opposite of Claustrophobia(fear of closed spaces, such as lifts) and onset is usually between ages 20 and 40 years and more common in women.
Hypnotherapy is a type of therapy that is used to direct suggestions to the unconscious mind for the purpose of changing one or more behaviour patterns. When the unconscious mind is spoken to directly, it is for the purpose of finding the issue that is triggering the phobia and introducing new ideas and positive suggestions. These positive suggestions may then be used to help make the changes you desire.
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