When Is It More Than Just a Fear?

Everyone has something they are afraid of. It could be a fear of spiders, heights or public speaking. While most of the time you can deal with your fears, there are times that the fear is truly a phobia. How can you tell if you or someone you love is dealing with more than a simple dislike of something? What are the signs of phobias and what treatment options are available? Listed below you'll find some answers and guidance on how you can get the help you or your loved one needs.

What is a phobia?

When you're dealing with more than just a little fear, there are some signs to look out for. A fear may cause you a little nervousness but a phobia causes much more. When you have a true phobia you may notice things like a tightness or pain in your chest, tingling throughout your body or trembling and shaking visibly. You may even have trouble breathing or a racing heart when you're facing or just thinking of your phobia. 

When should you seek help?

In most cases, your phobia may not impact your everyday life. For example, if you have a phobia of spiders you will not typically have a problem everyday. On the other hand, if you notice that your phobias are causing distress and anxiety attacks or even panic, it's time to seek out assistance. If you are avoiding certain situations or scenarios just because you might run into your phobia, you want to seek out help as well. 

Therapy Options

There are many options that you may try with your therapist or on your own to help with your phobia. Such things include facing your fears slowly and over time, learning techniques to help you relax during your panic, and learning to battle those negative thoughts and feelings can all help you overcome your fear. You can get assistance in overcoming your phobias and getting your life back on track. If you notice your fears are overcoming you, it's time to seek out help.

Smith,M.,Segal, R.,Segal,J. "Phobias and Fears" HelpGuide.(Website).(2016)
  • 11 Commentsby Likes|Date
  • Very well said. 
    Therapy can be so valuable to the recovery process. Introspection is key! You really don't understand some of your reasons for doing things until you explore yourself, thoughts, and feelings. For me, my eating disorder was about keeping my emotions gone, numbing myself. Therapy has made me feel empowered by my emotions and to embrase them!
  • When it comes to fears, I think they can be a very personal thing, and not a lot of people like to talk about them, nevermind have to think about trying to face them.

    Facing your fears is probably the most well known way to get over something, but at the same time it doesn't always work. Sometimes you have to just accept that if your scared of heights for example, that dream job of a paratrooper just isn't going to be reachable!
  • I have a fear of ants (Yeah, I know.) I always feel like that they're going to come infect our household and I've went through numerous cans of Raid lining the corners and cracks of my walls with it. The sight of a single one is enough to set me off, and facing my fears has proved difficult.
  • I know someone personally who has a phobia which is what makes it easy for me to differentiate between just being really fearful and having an actual phobia. The look of panic in his face is just something that I don't think I've ever done before, and I consider myself lucky for it, especially considering that phobias usually relate to objects or events that normally don't demand or require fear.
  • Just like an addiction, when the phobia is affecting your day-to-day life greatly, then you know that it's not normal anymore. When you cannot do daily tasks without fearing for something to happen, seek help. When you cannot speak in front of other people and even palpitate, it's better to seek help as well. Such symptoms are not normal anymore and you are better off getting some medication or therapy for them.
  • My fear is of mice and rodents - they petrify me! But the fear doesn't get in the way of my everyday life. I think it's important to know your own reactions and things that will trigger you in feeling a certain way - and absolutely seek help if things are getting in the way of normal functioning.
  • Phobia is extreme form of fear. It is natural to be afraid of spiders or cockroaches, however, it you freak out and begin to perspire and experience violent shaking,then it is phobia.
  • For years I have associated phone calls with bad news, and this has spiraled into a full blown phobia. I dread talking on the phone so much that I avoid making/receiving calls at all costs. I have recently decided to take charge of this, because it is just a manifestation of a fear, that I let get too far out of control. It started with butterflies in my stomach each time my phone would ring, and in the last couple of years has gone into full blown sweats and panic. I realize that this phobia cripples me greatly, and even limits my professional life, as I cannot seek certain employment opportunities if they involve phone work. I will beat this phobia, because I am determined to do so.
  • My fears are of spiders, heights, and social situations. My fear of spiders is getting better but I still freak out when I see a big hairy one. My fear of heights is bad and I will get short of breath and start to get dizzy. My fear of social situations is probably my worse fear. I try to avoid them as much as possible although I am trying not to do that because I do not want my children to see this fear and develop it as well. 
  • @fgtb34r

    Good luck on your battle! I'm sure you can overcome your phobia. You are exactly the example of what I'm talking about. When the fear is affecting your day to day life and activities, that's when you know it's not normal. And when you realise that, you need to take action and defeat that fear. Or at least understand it. I hope you will come out as a winner in this battle. Keep me posted on your update!:)
Sign In or Register to comment.