Anxiety & Phobia
Anxiety is a normal part of life; it's a natural response to stress. But when feelings of intense fear and distress become overwhelming and prevent us from doing everyday activities, an anxiety disorder may be the cause. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), anxiety disorders encompass a variety of conditions, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, and various phobia-related disorders.
Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder defined as an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. They go beyond normal fear or discomfort and cause significant distress, impacting a person's ability to function normally.
It's important to understand that having a phobia isn't just being scared of something. Those with a phobia have an overpowering need to avoid anything that triggers their anxiety. These fears can range from situations like flying or heights (specific phobias), to social situations (social anxiety disorder), or even leaving the house (agoraphobia).
Anxiety disorders and phobias are common, and according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), they affect over 260 million people worldwide.
Persistent Worry: Worrying excessively about different activities and events, with the worry being difficult to control.
Avoidance Behavior: You go to great lengths to avoid certain situations or things due to irrational fear or dread.
Physical Symptoms: Experiencing physical symptoms like rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, nausea, or sweating when exposed to the fear object or situation.
Impairment in Functioning: The fear or anxiety leads to significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
Substance Use: Using substances like alcohol or drugs to cope with the anxiety or fear.
Therapy is an effective way of treating anxiety disorders and phobias. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments. CBT helps individuals understand and change thought patterns leading to harmful behaviors or distressing feelings.
Exposure therapy, a form of CBT, is particularly useful for phobias. This therapy encourages individuals to confront their fear in a controlled, safe environment. Over time, the fear response diminishes.
Mindfulness-based interventions are also useful in managing symptoms of anxiety. They help individuals focus on the present moment, reducing the worry about the future that characterizes anxiety disorders.
In some cases, medication may be recommended. Psychologists can work with a medical professional to determine if this is a good option for your situation.
If you're struggling with persistent fear, intense anxiety, or phobia, don't hesitate to reach out. Our team of compassionate and experienced psychologists is here to support you on your journey towards overcoming these barriers. Don't let fear hold you back from the life you deserve. Call us today and take the first step towards a more peaceful and fearless future.