Phobias are fears and anxiety of a specific thing, place, or experience. The fear and anxiety becomes disabling to the extent that performing necessary tasks becomes difficult.
Fears are a built in mechanism of the brain designed to help us remain safe. Phobias are fears that we may feel keep us safe while knowing logically that the thing we fear is not as dangerous as is feels. We know the fear may be unrealistic. We can see that others don’t fear the same thing as much as we do. These may be considered phobias. Some can be managed by you with treatment, others may not require treatment. Examples of common phobias would include bugs, often a specific kind of bug, the dark, or heights. While many people have fears of bugs it does not indicate a need for treatment unless this fear impairs the individual’s ability to perform necessary tasks. After all, some bugs do sting, and some are just down right creepy. The fear of heights is a normal fear within certain limits. After all, your body is telling you that if we fall from this height we will be injured or worse. However, we may fail to realize the safety mechanisms in place or find the filtering system available so that we can move forward. This is one example of how normal fear can become debilitating.
Some people fear small spaces and as a result may struggle with elevators, MRI machines or places that are crowded with people. Still others may have fears of flying in an airplanes which may overwhelm them despite their desire to travel. Phobias are fear reactions we may know are irrational but we are unable to manage the anxiety related to the specific trigger, I.e. spider or airplane. I would encourage anyone with phobias to consult with a counselor to examine the nature of those fears and not to spend months or even years suffering when a solution for phobias is likely close at hand.