Phobia: Abnormal Psychology

Abnormal psychology is a portion of psychology that focuses on studies that contain unusual patterns of behavior, emotion and thought. There are many topic that are related to Abnormal Psychology. Although like there are many topics related to Abnormal Psychology I want to research one topic in particular.

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I want to put my focus on phobias. Although many people might not see phobia as a psychological disorder. After paying more attention to it, I learned that phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. Phobia is not something people decide to make up, but something they can not control. This disorder is caused by many factors and requires special attention. Phobia is known as a strong, unreasonable fear of something that creates little to no real danger. Even if the person does create that danger in their head, due to the fact that they keep overthinking it. As I research phobias I will concentrate mostly on the symptoms, treatment options, what causes phobias, and some phobia types. Although it is important to keep in mind that there are many types of phobias, I decided to research these three because I could relate a little to them.

Phobia consist of many symptoms and can cause many problems in a person’s everyday live. It can limit your daily activities and can also cause severe anxiety and depression. People with phobias avoid coming into contact with the thing that causes them fear and anxiety. People with phobias often experience panic attacks, especially when they come across the thing they are phobic to. These symptoms often occur suddenly and without warning. Meaning that most times they can not stop what they are doing before they experience these symptoms or let the other people around them know something is about to happen. People with phobia also experience physical symptoms. Some of these symptoms are sweating, chills, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, tachycardia, pain or tightness in the chest, nausea, headaches, dizziness, numbness, and dry mouth. Although I did state many of them it’s important to keep in mind that there are many more physical symptoms a person can experience. A person does not only experience physical symptoms, but they can also experience psychological symptoms. Some of these symptoms are fear of losing control and fear of fainting. Once again like physical symptoms these are not the only symptoms one can experience, because everyone is different. It is important to keep in mind that people with phobia do not do these symptoms on purpose. These are symptoms that they can not help, but experience.

Although, there are many phobias and they are all very important to know about, I decided to focus on three types of phobias. These are phobias that I could relate, which are: Social Phobia, Arachnophobia, Ophidiophobia. Social phobia is an intense anxiety of being judged or rejected in a social situation by other people. People with social anxiety disorder may worry about appearing stupid, awkward, or boring. This means that no one will want to communicate with them or everyone will stare at them. They often avoid social situations. Although at times they cannot avoid a situation, so they experience significant anxiety and distress. In social phobia we see physical symptoms: heart rate, nausea, and sweating. This can be very difficult for a person during school and jobs. I say this because it can keep a person from obtaining a good job all because they have to interact with many people or be around many people. It can be difficult for someone in school that has social phobia, especially when they have to do presentations or talk to a group of people. It can make them have anxiety and forget what they were going to say or start stuttering. Arachnophobia, is a phobia to spiders. Although many people are afraid of spiders, it does not mean they have phobic to it. Arachnophobia causes interference with a person’s daily life activities, especially if they consist of places that will most likely have spiders. If you have arachnophobia, will ensure that a person does not have any contact with a spider. A person who does have arachnophobia will either scream and runaway or freezing in place when they do come across a spider. It causes a person to be afraid to kill a spider, meaning that they rely on a friend or family member to either kill the spider or get it far away from that person with the phobia. If you see a spider and you are alone, you may actually leave the place that you see the spider, rather than dealing with the spider. Along with this it also means that many activities are unable to happen for that person anymore. It can be anywhere from a walk at the park, going to the basement, going camping or hiking, and many more activities. Ophidiophobia is known as the fear of snakes. It is one of the most common phobias there is because many people are afraid of snakes, although many times they have never encountered a snake. Some symptoms people encourage when they are ophidophobia are: panic attacks at the sight of a snake, they may freeze when they sight a snake, avoiding activities that may lead to you encountering a snake. A person who actually has a phobia towards snakes can be set off by a picture of a snake or seeing one on television. It can cause panic and anxiety, just like it would if the person was actually seeing a real life snake.

Phobia can be caused by many factors. Particular incidents or traumas. This can happen when a person experiences something at a young age that left them traumatized by it. I could relate to this one. When I was around seven we went up the mountains with my family and we had cows surround the car. From what I could remember the cows were all around the car, surround it in the middle of the road. They all started bumping it while also licking the windows, ever since then I have a phobia towards cows. My phobia grew from the anxiety I got by seeing the cows all around the car and licking it. I can not and will not get close to cows. Sometimes even seeing them or talking about them makes me panic or feel anxiety. Learned responses, are picked up in early life. Having parents who are very worried or anxious, can have an effect on the way you deal with anxiety. It can cause you to develop the same phobia as a parent or sibling. Genetics, suggests that some people are more vulnerable to developing a phobia than others. This means that it can be something that comes in your genes. While one person may experience something scary in their life it might not affect them, but another person can experience it once and it can cause them to have a phobia towards that specific situation or thing. Responses to panic or fear. If you react to something in a way that no one is expecting and you feel embarrassed or the people around you react strongly. It can cause the person to develop more anxiety. Making the person stay away from that situation, so that they will not have to relive that embarrassing experience again. Long-term stress can cause feelings of anxiety and depression, and can lead you to have a specific phobia depending what that stressor is. This can make you feel more fearful or anxious about a particular situations you experienced. It can actually lead to that person developing a phobia. It’s important to keep in mind that not everyone experiences these factors, while on person can experience just one many can experience many of these factors. Also, keep in mind that although these are some factors there can be many more factors.

The good thing about people dealing with phobias is that there are option treatments for them. Although like any other treatment option for anything, it is up to the person if they want treatment. A person can not be obligated to get treatment, because it will make it harder for them to actually receive treatment and overcome their phobia. The doctor may recommend not only therapies, but also medication. If a patient happens to have more than one phobia, treatment is directed at one specific phobia. They will help control one specific phobia and then move on to another phobia that you may have. One of the therapies is known as Exposure therapy. This focuses on changing your response to the object or situation that you fear. The therapist might start slowly by repeating exposure to the source of your specific phobia. You will then get thoughts, feelings and sensations that go with how you feel about a specific thing or situation. As time passes the therapist will go from just talking about your phobia to actually showing you pictures or videos that will help you feel less phobic to that particular thing or situation. Another therapist is known as Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This involves being exposed to the phobia along with combined techniques. This helps the person learn ways to view and cope with the feared object or situation differently. This will help learn way to not feel overwhelmed by the phobia, but learn to be okay with it and continue to live your life without avoiding certain things. Medications is also very important when it comes to phobias because they help with symptoms that you experience, like anxiety and panic. The use of medication all depends on your phobia and your doctor it can be something that you used lifetime or something that you use at the time that you are about to do something. One of the medications are Beta blockers. These drugs block the stimulating effects of adrenaline. Another medication is Sedatives. Sedatives come in medicine that will help a person relax. Not only do people with phobia have to go through therapies and medication, but there are other strategies that they can count on. Some of these strategies are mindfulness strategies, relaxation techniques, and physical activity and exercise. Mindfulness strategies helps in learning how to tolerate anxiety. This can be like teaching your brain how to relax in situation where you might have to face your phobia. Relaxation techniques help with things such as: deep breathing, muscle relaxation, anxiety and stress. This helps when it comes to the situation of facing your phobia. You learn way on how to keep relax yourself and body parts, instead of getting anxiety and panic attacks. Physical activity and exercise may be helpful in anxiety that is associated with a specific phobia that the person is encountering. It’s important for the person to try not to avoid feared situations. Stay near feared situations as long as they are not harmful and you have someone with you. This will not be easy, and it will take time. Although it is important to keep in mind that the more you do it the easier it will become to get over the phobia you are dealing with. It is very important to reach out to people for help. You can join a support group where you can meet other people who understand what you are going through. These people can be helpful because they can teach the person techniques to overcome that specific phobia, since they have already done it also. Treatment is not easy, but it is worth.

Phobia as we see can be very difficult for a person that has to deal with it. Instead of trying to be funny and sometimes scare the person with their phobia, we should be aware that it’s something that causes problems for them and help them learn to cope with it. Phobia has many symptoms that not everyone will experience, because we are all different. As we saw treatment options are available. Don’t ever leave a loved one alone, try to help them in anyway possible. Phobias as we saw can be caused by many factors. This means that people can have all the factors, while another person just has one or several of them. Although I did stick to only three types of phobias, mant other phobias exist. This research was very helpful to me because it helped me learn more about people with phobias. I can now be more considerate about a person going through a phobia, instead of thinking they are just acting a certain way towards a thing or situation. It’s important to keep in mind that people with phobias are not doing things intentionally, but they can not help their symptoms or how they feel about a certain thing or situation.

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