Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder that can cause a person to experience extreme fear in certain situations and objects. Those with a phobia often experience a deep sense of dread or panic when confronted with their fear. For those whose phobia has become severe, they may even find themselves changing their lifestyle to avoid their fear.
Phobias can be divided into two types: simple and complex. Simple phobias include animal phobias such as rodents or spiders, bodily phobias such as needles or vomit, environmental phobias such as heights or deep water, sexual phobias such as performance anxiety and situational phobias such as flying or going to the doctor. Complex phobias involve agoraphobia which is fear of open spaces, crowded places, travelling or public transport, and social phobia which is fear of social situations.
If your fear of something has become so severe that it is impacting your daily life, it is important to seek help. Not only will this help you in dealing with the phobia, but it can also help ensure that you do not pass it onto someone else, such as your child, as children tend to model the behaviour of their parents.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the most effective therapeutic approach for phobias and usually involves a hierarchy of exposure to your phobia in small, manageable steps. Medication is typically not recommended for phobias, however if your anxiety is debilitating, it is recommended that you see a Consultant Psychiatrist to explore the possibility of taking short-term medication.