Many phobias have their roots in childhood. It could be something you were scared of as a child, both real or imagined. Fear of the dark, fear of spider, fear of the unknown - these are all common childhood fears and they all have adult phobias associated with them. These types of fears are normal for children, but they can cause problems when they remain with us into adulthood.
A phobia is defined as an irrational dread, terror or fear that occurs during a relatively benign situation. Many people realize their fears are unfounded and irrational for the situation, but they are not able to overcome them.
Some of the common symptoms of phobias include:
- Racing heartrate
- Shortness of breath
- Sweaty hands
- The urge to flee
If left unchecked, a phobia can gradually get worse, resulting in more serious problems like anxiety disorders, panic attacks and extreme stress.
Severe phobias can have a negative affect on your day-to-day life. They can develop into social disorders, where a person avoid social contact for fear of their phobia being set off. They can also cause you to miss out on many great experiences.
For example, a person who has a fear of heights may never get to see the view from the top of the Eiffel Tower or the Grand Canyon. They may never travel far from home because they are unwilling to get on an airplane.
Phobias can be overcome with methods of dealing with the underlying fears. The way you've responded to something in the past doesn't have to be the way you do so now or in the future.
If you're dealing with an irrational fear and just are not able to overcome it, it would be wise to discuss it with your doctor or another qualified medical professional. They can offer some insight into the causes and offer the most effective treatment, given your particular situation.
Shane Baxter writes about anxiety and panic disorders such as social anxiety disorder for the Anxiety Action website. For more helpful anxiety and stress related information visit http://www.anxietyaction.com