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Phobia: A Brief Outline – Sarah Abdul-Karim

Imagine having the desire to travel the world and explore the wonders of nature but you are too afraid to do so. Or you go on a vacation with your family and wanted to go sky diving but were too scared to give it a try. Maybe you are trapped in your car on top of a bridge and the only way out is to jump off and be saved by the rescue team waiting on you but due to your fear of heights you decided to choose death.

William Shakespeare once said ,”Extreme fear can neither fight nor fly” and how right he was since being afraid cannot fight the situation or make it go away.
This brings me to the subject matter in focus; Phobia.

Someone may wonder; What is Phobia?
Phobia is an anxiety disorder defined by a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation, according to Wikipedia.
The National Health Service (NHS) also defines phobia as an overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal.

Phobias come in three main types, namely: specific phobias, social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia.

SPECIFIC PHOBIAS.
Specific phobias are intense and irrational fear of things that poses little or no harm. These are the most common types of phobias in society.

SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER.
This type of phobia is an overwhelming fear of social situations like meeting or speaking to people. This is mostly common among teenagers.

AGORAPHOBIA.
This is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear or avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless, or embarrassed.

WHAT CAUSES PHOBIA?
The main cause of phobia found by researchers is PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). This is a situation where people begin to fear irrelevant things due to the fact that they had gone through things like that in the past. Someone may fear spiders because they watched poisonous spiders biting people in a movie. Someone may fear heights after listening to news of someone falling from a mountain and losing their life. Another cause of phobia is genetics. If a family member has a phobia, you are at high risk of developing the same disorder. An example is social anxiety.
Environmental factors(nature and nurture) can also contribute to developing a phobia.

SYMPTOMS OF PHOBIA.
These symptoms occur only when you think about or come into contact with the source of phobia. Some include, dizziness, nausea, sweating, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, trembling or shaking.

PREVENTION AND CURE.
Talking with a mental health professional can help you manage your phobia. Exposure therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy are the most effective treatments because they focus on changing your response to the object or situation that you fear. Medication is also another way to manage your phobia although it isn’t the best way. Antidepressants, tranquillizers and beta-blocker

Source: Sarah Abdul-Karim – Budding writer.

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