Affecting nearly ten percent of adults living in the US, specific phobias are among the most common mental health concerns recognized. Within this high percentage, studies have shown a significant difference between the prevalence in women and men, with women being over double compared to men. In this article, we will break down why phobias tend to be found more in women.
At Avalon Malibu, we welcome all walks of life and are passionate about helping people heal spiritually, physically, and mentally. Whether you or someone you know is experiencing phobia or phobia-like symptoms, we can help and would be honored to do so.
As defined by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), a specific phobia is “an intense, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger.” Even when they recognize the irrational nature of their fear, adults will still often experience extreme anxiety or panic when even thinking about the subject of their phobia.
The exact cause of phobias is unknown, and research is still ongoing. Some evidence indicates that a phobia “precipitates when an event that provokes fear or anxiety is paired with a neutral event.” While theories such as this help us understand the root of phobias, let’s view the differences in phobia cases in women and men.
Phobias in Adults: A Gender Comparison
Typically, phobias begin during childhood but reach their peak between middle and senior age. There have been several studies performed to garner a better understanding of the differences gender can have on phobias in adults. Research suggests that women tend to have a higher likelihood of phobias than men. This may be due to a variety of factors.
Reasons Why Phobias Persist in Women
One examination of social phobia showed women were more likely than men to use extreme responses such as “strongly agree” and “strongly disagree” in regard to psychological assessments. Another finding was that women tend to be more willing to participate in self-reporting psychological status.
One study indicates that timidness, which is found more in women, may contribute to their susceptibility to phobias as opposed to bravery, which is found more in men. While this pattern is certainly notable, it is not always the case. Everyone is different, and every circumstance is unique. Avalon Malibu can help.
Phobias in Men
Despite phobias being more common among women, men are affected every day by them. Current data suggests that genetic risk factors “play a moderate role in the etiology of phobias and their associated irrational fears” (25-37% of cases). In addition to genetics, the family environment of participants may also contribute to agoraphobia cases as well as social phobia.
Why Phobias Should Be Treated
With phobias comes avoidance, along with anxiety. As anxiety progresses, it can lead to anxiety disorders as well as depression and many other comorbid concerns. Because of this, treatment is needed. The most effective form of treatment is found in the genre of exposure therapy. The theory behind this method is that facing your fears head-on can ultimately help you overcome them.
At Avalon Malibu, we utilize the efficacy of flooding therapy, a subbranch of exposure therapy. Flooding refers to the practice in which an individual faces their phobia subject for an extended length of time where escape is unavailable. By doing this, the participant will come to understand and see that the subject of their fear cannot and will not cause them harm.
Another effective practice used in our Grand House treatment facility is counter-conditioning. In this method, participants will gradually learn how to change their current automatic response to their subject of fear into a positive, healthier one. Rather than responding with fear and anxiety, they will learn how to replace those feelings with calm and relaxing responses.
In some cases, medication may also be needed to treat any comorbid conditions of phobias. Anxiety often exists alongside phobia disorders, and anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed. These aid in the alleviation of anxiety symptoms while providing a positive boost in mood. In severe anxiety cases, antidepressants may be administered due to possible comorbid conditions that can accompany anxiety.
Life has so much to offer. At Avalon Malibu, we strive to provide full-circle holistic care to help you achieve a life that is free of fear and anxiety. The future ahead of you is bright and happy. We will help you heal your mind, body, and spirit. This way, you may be reborn as a healthier, happier version of yourself.
When you look ahead, do you see the same cycle going on and on? Imagine the cycle being shattered to pieces and replaced with a new pathway to freedom. Freedom from fear, freedom from anxiety, a place where you are free. Today is the day when you stand tall and break free from the cycle. So, what are you waiting for?
A life of fear isn’t for anyone. It doesn’t matter if your fear is considered irrational or not. What you feel inside is very real and can present many challenges in your daily life. Between their anxiety and avoidance patterns, phobias can greatly impact your physical and mental health. Understanding why phobias are present is only the beginning. Here’s the good news; you don’t have to do this anymore. At Avalon Malibu, we can help you conquer your fears and phobias for a fear-free future. We focus not only on healing your mind but on healing your body and spirit too. Call us today at (844) 857-5992 for more information and to get started on our full-circle phobia treatment plan.