(ABC News) – Do you know someone with a major fear of flying, heights, spiders or something else? Maybe you’re saying to yourself ‘That’s me!’ Phobias are a type of mental health problem and there is help available.
A phobia is an intense fear, an aversion, to a specific object or situation. Phobias aren’t’ just anxiety. A phobia gives you fear that is completely out of proportion to any actual danger the situation poses. Think about it as if someone with a phobia isn’t just scared of real snakes, but they have the same fear when they’re just looking at a picture of a snake.
There are different forms of phobias.
There are specific or simple phobias, things like fear of flying, heights, specific animals, blood, bridges.
There are also social phobias, also known as social anxiety disorders, when someone experiences a fear of any social or performance situations. For example, if you have agoraphobia, you probably couldn’t live in New York City, Agoraphobia is an intense fear of being in large spaces, crowds, using public transportation, or just being outside of the home alone.
Phobias that are warping your experience of the world need therapy. There are different approaches, but the most common is slowly exposing you to a brief glimpse of the thing you’re afraid of while getting used to the fact that nothing there can actually hurt you.
Conquering a phobia just makes life easier.