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Dealing with Phobias

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One of the most common kinds of anxiety disorders is phobias, which are irrational fears surrounding a specific object or situation.

With this type of disorder, the fear is persistent and reoccurring, even though the feared object or situation entering a person’s life is often out of the control of that person. This anxiety disorder is affecting up to 18% of Americans and is the second most common mental illness among men and the most common mental illness among women. For many, phobias interfere with daily life.

Luckily, there is help.

There are many ways to treat phobias, no matter how they have developed. If you think that you suffer from a phobia, no matter what it may be, see your doctor immediately. He or she can recommend a treatment plan for you. This helps you to overcome your fears and take back control of your daily life. Phobias do not have to say with you forever.

Clinical phobias are separated into three main categories: social phobias (in which a person fears involvement with people and social situations), specific phobias (in which a certain trigger like heights, spiders, water, or flying can cause fear), and agoraphobia (in which a person fears leaving the comfort and familiarity of home or a safe area). There are many different treatments you can try in order to cope with any of these phobias.

Virtual reality is a relatively new kind of treatment used specifically to desensitize a patient.

With virtual reality, a person is immersed in fear until becoming immune to it, essentially. You can also actually put the patient in a fearful situation, but this can sometimes be dangerous or expensive, so virtual reality is a great alternative. It also gives patients the chance to pull the plug, so to speak, if needed, so more patients agree to this treatment.


Cognitive-behavioral therapy may also work to help overcome a phobia. With this method, you examine your specific thoughts and behaviors and work to overcome them. You can do this one-on-one with a therapist or in a group setting. By understanding your fears, it may be easier to realize that your fears are irrational.

Anti-anxiety drugs may also help you make strides towards overcoming your phobias.

These medications are prescription strength and are available for both long-term and short-term use. One example of a drug that has helped people with phobias is benzodiazepine. Often, medication works best in conjunction with other types of therapy treatments.

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