Everyone is afraid of something, but when a fear starts to erode the regular routine of one’s life, that fear may be a phobia. Treating phobias and their underlying causes can be a difficult journey, but it’s well worth the work necessary to challenge the fear. Phobias can be debilitating, zapping you of confidence, self-esteem and an ability to thrive in the world. Don’t let the symptoms of phobia control you and your dreams. Seek help and always remember you are not alone. Here are a few of the options for treating common phobias.
When dealing with a painfully scary situation, the natural method of coping is to avoid it. Individuals suffering from phobias and anxiety tend to distract themselves from the difficult thoughts and feelings, as well as avoid anything that could be triggering. While this can provide initial reassurance, it also serves to reinforce the fear in our brains and make it more difficult to directly cope with. Avoidance can also make us lose out on great opportunities and relationships in our lives, a result of the phobia taking hold and directing our actions and how we live. Therefore, exposing ourselves to our fears is much more healthy and effective long term.
Exposure therapy may sound overwhelming at first, but it’s important to realize it involves a process, as with any treatment method. You don’t have to expose your self to the most intense fear at first. For instance, one who is afraid of spiders should practice exposure with photographs before being introduced to real spiders. For those with a social phobia, interacting with others in an online environment may be a good precursor to spending time in a populated area in the real world.
Continue reading to learn how cognitive behavioral therapy can help.