Fear warns and protects us from threat and danger, and is therefore an important survival mechanism in our lives – a bit like a protective emotional alarm system. However, intense or exaggerated or irrational fear is what differentiates a phobia from healthy fear.
Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder characterised by disproportionate fear to either real or imagined stimuli. They can develop at any time throughout life and can interfere with regular living or functioning to varying degrees, due to extreme avoidance of fear-triggering or fear-associated situations.
Common phobias include, but are not limited to, a fear of flying, heights, germs and small or public places.
Extreme fear and avoidance as a result of a phobia can disrupt work, relationships and one’s own mental wellbeing. Although one may realise that their fear is irrational, the dread or even physical symptoms that are evoked can often feel uncontrollable.
Phobias can be managed and treated through counselling, by exploring the underlying cause of the phobia, how the individual identifies and responds to fear, and strategies to regulate the fear response through a supported process of graduated exposure.
The psychologists at Nexus can help to identify and tailor an intervention plan best suited to the individual’s needs and help an individual to restore fear to a more adaptive and protective level and to gain back control of everyday living.