Also known in the medical vernacular as “simple phobias”, phobias are intense fears that develop in relation to specific things, places or events. Some major types of phobias include
The fear associated with the phobia can range from mild to highly distressing and may even manifest itself as a full-blown panic attack. Symptoms may include heart palpitations, sweating, mind going blank, trembling, intense fear or dread, racing thoughts and crying jags. In particular you will want to remove yourself from the situation that is causing you so much anxiety.
What causes phobias? There can be different contributing factors including: being exposed in an unpleasant way to the situation/object of your fear or watching others have negative reactions to the feared object/situation (anxiety can be “contagious”). Genetic factors also may play a role as phobias sometimes run in families.
Phobias vary in the degree that they affect one’s life. A taxi driver with a driving phobia would suffer a significant effect on his or her lifestyle, and in this case livelihood, whereas someone in Venice, where cars are not permitted, would likely feel little impact in his or her daily affairs. Usually it is when the specific phobia is infringing significantly on someone’s life that they seek help.
If you are in this position and want to make a meaningful change in your life, call or email me today.
Our avoidance of our phobia(s) is what maintains them and stops us from recovering from them. The primary treatment of phobias is to gradually face what we are afraid of. This is done by graduated exposure (a form of cognitive behavioural therapy) or coming up with a list of feared situations associated with the phobia. The fear associated with the situations is then rated, with the least feared situation being faced first. One can start this approach at home or work with a therapist trained in this area, for additional support and tips.
It’s important to acknowledge, however, that exposure therapy is not the only treatment for phobias! Not everyone is ready for exposure, or alternatively, may be completely uninterested in this approach. Internal family systems therapy, which understands the phobia as an internal “part” with its own unique experience, that benefits from being honoured, understood and helped, can also be very effective.
A rundown on one of my favourite therapies.
When we are in the throws of anxiety, we want immediate relief. How can there be a silver lining in all of this?
A best-selling self-help workbook using the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to help with generalized anxiety, panic attacks, phobias, social anxiety and other anxiety-related conditions. Best for those with an interest in CBT.
Children’s book with excellent adult appeal. The story about how a squirrel inadvertently faces his fears, with positive results.
Canada-wide, 24/7 professional phone counselling and other support options.
This private practitioner’s website is a treasure-trove of information about emetophobia, including home-based tools you can use to supplement your existing therapy.
Resource list, updated quarterly.
Excellent website managed by Anna Christie, registered clinical counsellor. Rich information and resources including cognitive behavioural gradual exposure exercises.
The world’s largest resource for those suffering from emetophobia (fear of vomiting) and their loved ones.
From the people at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health and Addiction (CARMHA). Scroll down for link.
National organization promoting mental health for all.
604-675-3700 – Joseph and Rosalie Segal Centre, Vancouver Hospital, Level 1, East Entrance
7 days a week: 7:30am-11pm. Phone, walk-in and outreach support for urgent, non life-threatening mental health and addictions issues. Response times vary. Serves residents of Vancouver.
National organization providing information and extensive online resources for managing anxiety.
BC-based website offering comprehensive information on a wealth of mental health conditions and addictions concerns.