Various objects and situations can trigger different responses when we encounter them. Our reactions can be positive or negative, depending on our previous experiences. The negative responses, however, may impact our quality of life, resulting in decreased pleasure, enjoyment, and functionality.
Severe phobias can cause some of our negative responses. If you have phobias, there are things or events you might try to avoid or distressingly endure. Either way, they can be challenging to manage, especially when unexpected and sudden.
When you think your phobias are severe and affecting your life, we’re here to help. In this post, you’ll learn what severe phobias are and their symptoms. We will also provide healthy ways to help you manage them so you can live your life without worries.
Severe phobias are excessive and persistent irrational fears. They are considered anxiety disorders. People, objects, animals, and situations can trigger them. Unlike fears, they are more pronounced and can cause feelings of danger.
Someone with a severe phobia may not experience anything until they encounter their phobia source. However, you can also feel anxious and alarmed just by thinking about your triggers. If your phobias are severe, organizing your life may be challenging. Severe phobias can also be distressing, as you may try to avoid everything that can trigger your anxiety.
There are three types of severe phobias: specific, social, and agoraphobia.
Specific phobias are the most common. Particular objects, situations, animals, or environments trigger these phobias. Social phobias are severe anxiety and fear of social and public interactions, while agoraphobia is the fear of events and places that can be difficult to escape.
Childhood phobias can start between the ages of five and nine and tend to be short-term. Severe phobias can be lasting and usually begin in one's 20s. Lasting phobias may not go away on their own unless treated. Severe phobias may also increase your risk of other mental illnesses like depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse.
Severe phobias affect people differently. Their effects can be mild or severe, depending on your experience. These effects are your body’s natural response due to the adrenaline rush. Here are the severe phobia symptoms you should look out for:
Physical manifestations of severe phobias may include:
- Dizziness, unsteadiness, or lightheadedness
- Choking feeling
- Vigorous heartbeat (increased heart rate, palpitations, or loud pounding)
- Chest pain and tightness
- Shortness of breath, hyperventilation, or suffocation
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shaking and trembling
- Tingling sensations and numbness
- Hot or cold flashes
Psychological manifestations of severe phobias may include:
- Getting overwhelmed
- Fear of dying
- Dreading emotions
- Fear of fainting
- Fear of uncontrollable situations
Complex phobias can be more disabling because they involve multiple triggers. Social phobias and agoraphobia are considered complex phobias. For instance, besides fearing social and public interactions, you may also have megalophobia (fear of large objects). When you see tall buildings or huge vehicles, you may feel a sense of danger while anxious about socializing.
Severe phobias won’t go away overnight. Following these coping strategies for severe phobia management can help you reduce the risk of triggers in public spaces.
Severe phobia triggers can be debilitating. In the case of a trigger, allow yourself to feel the fear for a few minutes. You can do it for two to three minutes, or whichever suits you. During these minutes, assure yourself that you’re safe and nothing dangerous will happen.
Once you’ve calmed down, do some activities to help you forget the triggers. These activities include browsing social media, watching funny and lighthearted videos, chatting with friends, listening to your favorite music, or other enjoyable endeavors you love.
While allowing yourself to feel the fear, take some deep breaths and try to relax. Trying to relax can help you release the tension. If you’re outside, find a safe area to sit and breathe. That way, you can relax and take some deep breaths comfortably.
Relax your mind and body, and think about where you’d rather be. Relaxing can help reduce your adrenaline rush, which decreases your fear and anxiety and calms you down. It may seem easier said than done, but it can significantly help when your phobia is triggered.
Meditation is a practice involving techniques that foster awareness and healthy perspectives. It aims to help you focus on the present and clear your mind 1https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/17906-meditation, which promotes a positive outlook and emotion regulation.
A meditation routine can help you commit to overcoming your severe phobias. Although this doesn’t necessarily stop the triggers, it may minimize your extreme anxiety and persistent fear in the event of triggers. Since meditation can promote optimism, you’ll know how to manage your trigger response.
Dedicate a comfortable space in your home to your meditation routine so nothing will disrupt your solace. Set a schedule for similar times each day. With a meditation routine, you allow yourself to focus on mindfulness and relaxation.
Self-management may only do so much, so seeking support from your loved ones is ideal. Talk to them about your phobias, triggers, and coping mechanisms. They can provide support by listening and giving advice or words of encouragement. They can also celebrate with you when you achieve a significant goal.
If you have a loved one with severe phobias, supporting each other can help you overcome your struggles together. Whether similar or not, you can share your struggles and have a go-to support system.
It would also be a good idea to join a support group. Support groups for phobias are gatherings where people talk and listen 2https://www.helpguide.org/articles/therapy-medication/support-groups.htm to each other’s stories. The members can offer insights and methods to help you manage your affliction. They are also more likely to understand your struggles because they could’ve been in similar positions.
Physical fitness is vital for your overall health 3https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/, which can help maintain your mental health. Exercise can reduce muscle tension, help you relax, and minimize body pain. Whether it’s a short walk or an active routine, staying physically active may also make you feel more capable of managing your emotions and facing potential phobia triggers.
Consulting a therapist is best when you can’t manage your severe phobias anymore. A therapist will provide treatment that includes discussing your phobias and relaxation techniques to help you manage and face your triggers. They can also offer healthy and comfortable coping methods for adequate recovery.
Upon assessment, your therapist may suggest you undergo treatments for phobias 4https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/phobias/treatment, if necessary. These treatments could include exposure and response prevention (ERP), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or prescription medicines.
Severe phobias don’t have to torment you every day. These healthy management tips can help you enjoy your life without worrying. This way, you can prevent excessive and irrational fears from affecting your daily lifestyle and relationships.
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