A phobia is defined as an intense or irrational fear of an object or situation. Phobias and fears are common among all types of people in all walks of life. From children to the elderly, phobias can often be debilitating and negatively affect one’s life. Phobias can begin randomly, or as a result of a previous trauma. The important thing to remember is that having a phobia is not your fault, and you should never feel ashamed for having an intense fear or phobia. If your phobia continues to be persistent and does not go away on it’s own after a short period of time, you may want to contact a medical professional who can help you get over your phobias and continue living a normal, fear-free life.
You should seek help for your phobia if there is an object or situation that causes intense fear, anxiety or panic. You should also seek help if the phobia causes you to avoid certain everyday situations or objects, such as leaving the house or dealing with a pet. Another indicator that you should seek help for a phobia is if you can recognize that your fear is irrational and excessive. If it is apparent to you that the phobia is unreasonable, chances are that it is also apparent to many other people in your life. Lastly, you should seek help for a phobia if you have had the phobia for more than six months because this is an indicator that the phobia will most likely not go away on its own.
Some tips to get rid of any kind of phobia would be to take some measured steps towards exposing yourself to the feared object or situation. This is known as exposure therapy or systematic desensitization and should only be done under the supervision of a professional therapist if the phobia is very intense. Less intense forms of this type of exposure therapy can be done on your own if the phobia is something small, like a fear of ants or a fear of a certain type of food. Very serious and intense phobias like fear of flying or fear of leaving the house should be handled by a professional who can gauge the situation and make educated suggestions and recommendations. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most effective ways to get rid of any kind of phobia.
Taking the steps to decondition yourself from a phobia can be time consuming, but the payoff is that you will most likely not have the phobia anymore. Reconditioning through exposure therapy is done through many steps that begin with talking about the phobia and move to light exposure and then full on exposure. An example would be that if someone is afraid of flying, the initial exposure would be talking about planes and looking at pictures of planes. The next steps might include visiting an airport, watching movies about flying, watching a plane take off, sitting on a plane while it is grounded, and then finally flying on a plane.
Another way to get rid of phobias is by using medication, however medication does not treat the underlying issues associated with phobias. Medication only relieves the phobic symptoms. In order to deal with phobias in a more complete way, some form of therapy should take place. This therapy can be in the form of exposure therapy, talk therapy, or hypnosis. Traditional hypnosis has been known to be very effective when dealing with phobias because it allows the brain to relax and detach from the actual fear that resides in the mind. The brain is then retrained to associate a different meaning to the feared object or situation.