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    Overview of What Phobias Are

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    When someone is suffering from a particular phobia they are afraid. Their fear is actually very limited to the specific object, or situation, that the person is fearful of.

    Having this explanation may not make it any easier to understand what exactly a phobia is. Therefore, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is produced by the American Psychiatric Association has created a few different criteria that need to be met in order to help determine if someone can be diagnosed with a specific phobia. The following information should be taken into consideration if someone is concerned that he, or she, may be dealing with a phobia of any kind.

    1. The person will have an increase in fear that is persistent. It may actually be relatively excessive and it will also be unreasonable for the given trigger, or situation. These feelings will develop when the person is in the presence of the trigger, or the person is anticipating being near the trigger, or placed in the specific situation.
    2. When the individual comes into contact with the trigger, or stimulus, they will automatically become very anxious and begin to have negative reactions. For example, if we are talking about small children, they may begin to cry, or have a tantrum.
    3. Individuals that are placed in these situations will be able identify, and recognize that their reactions, and responses, are not healthy and they may be a little severe.
    4. When the situation is actually endured the person will suffer a great deal of stress and anxiety. There may also be times when the situation, or stimuli, will be avoided all together.
    5. The individual has a very difficult time following through with what is expected of him, or her, because the fear, and anxiety, is so intense that it actually interferes with the person’s life. This means that relationships, and even occupations, may be effected in negative ways.
    6. When the person is under the age of 18, it is very important to understand that the symptoms need to be present for at least six months in order for a diagnosis to be given.
    7. The anxiety that is experienced can not be explained better by another mental health issue like obsessive compulsive disorder or a social phobia.

    Getting Help for Phobias

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    Individuals that are suffering from different phobias will want to find help as soon as possible. When individuals take the time to get the help that they need, and comply with treatment, they’ll most likely be able to get their lives back in order. When someone is suffering from a very severe phobia, that person may find ways to avoid the trigger that causes them such anxiety. Because of this change in behavior, and routine, the person will most likely have a very difficult time continuing to live the way that he, or she, once did. This means that the person may not go to work or they may not even leave the house because they are afraid.
    With that being said, individuals that are coping with a phobia will want to make sure that they take the time to educate themselves about the different types of treatment that are available. Having this knowledge can really help a person work through their issues so that they may have a productive life just as they once did before.

    Medications

    The first type of treatment for some individuals may be medication. Anti-anxiety medication often helps reduce the severity of panic attacks. These medications can also help decrease the amount of attacks that are experienced on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. However, it is very important to remember that some medications may have negative interactions with other medications. Because of this, it is very important to take the time to speak with a health care professional about any, and all, medications that are being taken.

    Therapy

    Another treatment option may be exposure therapy. This is done by introducing an individual to the situation, or trigger that causes them the anxiety. This often results in a great deal of fear in the beginning for the person knowing they will need to be exposed to the thing that they are most afraid of. But, this is always done in a safe, and controlled, manner so that the individual will be able to work on controlling their fears, and their responses, to the situation.

    Self Help

    Another solution may be to complete some self help work in order to decrease the negative feeling and thoughts that are experienced when it comes to a phobia. One way to do this would be to spend some time learning about the phobia. This can create a great deal of empowerment and it can make someone feel much better when they learn all that they can. Another solution would be to work on challenging some of the negative thoughts and beliefs related to the situation, or trigger.

    Conclusion

    No matter what type of treatment is selected it is very important to realize that it will definitely take time to work. This is not something that will change over night. Also, it is very important to fully understand what the person is capable of doing. For example, exposure therapy will most likely not be effective if the person will not leave the house. But, medication may be effective as a start.
    Each person is different. That means that it is very important to work with a professional in order to help determine which treatment option is best given the situation. Just remember to be patient and to work with the professional, rather than against them. It is the best way to get the help that is needed.