Psychology

Anxiety Disorders

Phobic disorders:

“Normal” fear vs. phobias

Difference between fear and phobia it is normal and even helpful to experience fear in dangerous situations. Fear is an adaptive human response. It serves a protective purpose, activating the automatic “fight-or-flight” response. With our bodies and minds alert and ready for action, we are able to respond quickly and protect ourselves. But with phobias the threat is greatly exaggerated or nonexistent. For example, it is only natural to be afraid of a snarling Doberman, but it is irrational to be terrified of a friendly poodle on a leash, as you might be if you have a dog phobia.

What is a phobia?

A phobia is an intense fear of something that, in reality, poses little or no actual danger. Common phobias and fears include closed-in places, heights, highway driving, flying insects, snakes, and needles. However, we can develop phobias of virtually anything. Most phobias develop in childhood, but they can also develop in adults. If you have a phobia, you probably realize that your fear is unreasonable, yet you still can’t control your feelings. Just thinking about the feared object or situation may make you anxious. And when you’re actually exposed to the thing you fear, the terror is automatic and overwhelming. The experience is so nerve-wracking that you may go to great lengths to avoid it — inconveniencing yourself or even changing your lifestyle. If you have claustrophobia, for example, you might turn down a lucrative job offer if you have to ride the elevator to get to the office. If you have a fear of heights, you might drive an extra twenty miles in order to avoid a tall bridge.

There are three types of phobias:

1.Social phobias—fear of social situations.

2. Agoraphobia—fears of being trapped in an inescapable place or situation.

3. Specific phobias—fear of a specific object (such as snakes).

There are four major types of specific phobias: 1.The natural environment—fear of lightening, water, storms, etc.

2. Animal—fears of snakes, rodents, spiders, etc.

3. Medical—fear of seeing blood, receiving injections, visiting a doctor, etc.

4. Situational—fear of bridges, leaving the home, driving, etc.

~ACE

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