Fears and Phobias

What are specific phobias?

A specific phobia is excessive, persistent and is generally around a fear of a specific object, situation or activity. People recognise their fear is excessive and irrational, but can’t seem to overcome it. These fears can be very debilitating and can cause such distress that some people go to extreme lengths to avoid what they fear. There are many fear and phobia examples and some of those may be: fear of flying, fear of needles, fear of spiders, fear of crowds, fear of public speaking, social phobia and agoraphobia. All phobias can limit your daily activities and may cause severe anxiety and depression. In some cases, a person can develop a phobia where they become fearful of experiencing anxiety itself because it feels so uncomfortable. You don’t have to be in the situation you’re fearful of to experience the symptoms of panic. The brain is able to create a flight, fight or freeze reaction to fearsome situations even when you aren’t actually in the situation.

Sign and Symptoms of Fears, Phobias and Panic Attacks

People with phobias often have panic attacks. These can be very frightening and distressing. The symptoms often occur suddenly and without warning. As well as overwhelming feelings of anxiety, a panic attack can cause physical symptoms, such as:

  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • A sensation of butterflies in the stomach
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Numbness or pins and needles
  • A need to go to the toilet
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Trembling
  • Hot flushes or chills
  • A choking sensation
  • Pain or tightness in the chest
  • Nausea
  • Feeling faint
  • Dry mouth
  • Ringing in your ears

Psychological symptoms

In severe cases, you may also experience psychological symptoms, such as:

  • Fear of losing control
  • Feelings of dread

  • Fear of fainting
  • Fear of dying

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