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  • Writer's pictureAlexander James

Why Do Some People Develop Phobias?

A phobia is defined as ‘an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation.’ According to the mental health charity Mind, there often isn’t one clear reason why a phobia starts, but there are a few factors that might contribute to a person developing a phobia.

For the person suffering from a phobia, it can be anything from a mild source of discomfort or inconvenience, to a major issue which prevents them from living life to the fullest. When a life is disrupted, the person can be plagued with feelings of failure and anxiety, which are made even worse because they blame themselves for being irrational.

Sometimes a phobia is thought to be caused by a past incident or trauma, which leads a person to develop a fear of the source of the bad experience. For example, someone who was badly stung by a wasp in childhood may develop a phobia of flying insects. Even the memory of an intense reaction to something can trigger a phobia.

Other phobias are thought to be learned behaviour, passed on from parents or older siblings. It is thought that some people are more genetically vulnerable to developing phobias than others, and that sometimes, situations which cause stress, anxiety, and depression makes people less able to cope, and they develop a phobia.

However, sometimes a fear which seems out of proportion with the situation can have logical roots. For example, some people have a fear of touching things in public places, which as the last 18 months have shown us, may serve a practical purpose to avoid the spread of germs and viruses.

Similarly, many people are experiencing a surge in anxiety as the world cautiously opens up again after the pandemic restrictions. For some, this may manifest itself in the fear of crowds, or socialising in large groups. Again, after a global pandemic, this is perfectly understandable, even though the threat of infection has thankfully diminished recently.

While many people might feel a bit apprehensive about mixing in large numbers again, for most, the fear will diminish once they become desensitised to the situation over the next few weeks, or months. However, for others, their fears may grow, leading them to avoid social settings, or whatever the source of their discomfort is.

Unfortunately, phobias are made worse by avoiding triggers. This doesn’t mean the sufferer should force themselves into terrifying situations, but Mind recommends gradually being exposed to the situation or object in safe, manageable stages.

Other recommended treatments for phobias include talking to a trained mental health professional, who may help the sufferer identify the connections between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviour, and teach practical skills to manage their symptoms.

Hypnotherapy is another technique recommended for treating phobias. The patient will be put into a deep state of relaxation by the hypnotist, which allows them to access their subconscious thoughts, beliefs and memories, and challenge and let go of anything which is unhelpful, no longer relevant, or incorrect.

If you are looking for Harley Street hypnotherapy, please get touch to see how we can help.

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