Most people have a common fear – fear of clowns, spiders, snakes, darkness, etc. These fears are quite normal; even if someone fears a spider, they will still take a walk through the woods on a lovely day. A phobia is much different from a typical, rational fear, because it’s severe to the point of affecting daily life. Many people who have a phobia will go out of their way to ensure they do not come into contact with their fear. According to Chris Iliades, MD and writer for Everyday Health, these are the most common phobias:
- Fear of leaving home. Otherwise known as agoraphobia, many people are genuinely afraid to be alone outside of the home. This may involve fear of being on a bridge, a busy street, or a crowded elevator.
- Fear of people. Social phobia often includes being afraid of embarrassing oneself in front of others and may involve fear of public speaking; Mayo Clinic notes a more extreme case could even be as small as being afraid to write a check in front of another person.
- Fear of spiders. Arachnophobia is the most commonly heard of, and people may also fear animals in general.
- Fear of heights. Acrophobia is twice as common in women, and involves being afraid of situations such as being up high that may cause fear and panic.
- Fear of closed spaces. Claustrophobia is another popular one; ABC News states that this affects approximately 19 million Americans.
- Fear of germs. Called mysophobia, this may appear in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or hypochondria.
- Shy-bladder phobia. Paruresis is a social anxiety disorder that can cause someone to dangerously retain their urine, as they are afraid to go to the bathroom with other people around.
- Fear of death. Necrophobia occurs in people who are afraid of the unknown and are terribly frightened by the idea of death.
Treatment for a phobia typically includes exposure therapy, which focuses on the person’s response to an object or situation that they fear. Through repeated exposure in small steps, people slowly become desensitized to what they are most afraid of. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is another effective form of treatment that helps restructure negative and fearful thought patterns into more positive, productive ones.
If you have a phobia and it is significantly affecting your life, speak with a healthcare professional today. Our licensed, experienced professionals at Avalon Malibu truly care about your well-being. We believe in full integration of the mind, body, and spirit – so you will have a team to support your overall health from the beginning to the end of your stay. Make the decision to take back control over your life. Call us at 844-269-1761.