Phobias: Are They Really In Someone's Mind?

Submitted By natalia2755
Words: 971
Pages: 4

Phobias: Are They Really in Someone’s Mind? Imagine a spider crawling up a person’s arm. It creeps up slowly and the person doesn't feel it until it's already half way up. They look over at their arm to see this disgusting, scary spider, minding its own business, and crawling its way closer and closer to their shoulder. Usually the person gets the jitters, tries to flick it off, maybe screams a little, but once it's all over with and it's killed the fear is gone, right? Well, it all depends on whether the person has arachnophobia or is just afraid of spiders. Despite what some people think, when it comes to phobias and fears, it is not all in someone's head, especially when the phobias are so unreasonable that they interfere with their day to day life. But phobias and fears can be all in a person's head. First off, there are more than 6 million people in the United States alone who suffer from phobias. (Dryden-Edwards 2) Is every single one of those phobias really not made up by someone’s mind? Although people are really afraid of something, it wouldn't be a phobia per se. People still like to believe it is. They feel like their fear is too overpowering. But sometimes someone can overcome this easier than they thought. Sooner or later they realize it's not the end of the world and their lives aren't affected by the fear much at all. These fears may include those that have been developed as a child. Dryden-Edwards states that “Phobias tend to run in families, can be influenced by culture and parenting style, and can be triggered by life events.” (2) For some to realize, they may have to look through some key points. First they might want to check if there any physical or emotional signs and symptoms of a phobia. Physical signs and symptoms may include difficulty breathing, racing or pounding heart, chest pain or tightness, trembling or shaking, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, a churning stomach, hot or cold flashes, tingling sensations, and sweating. Some emotional signs and symptoms of a phobia are feeling of overwhelming anxiety or panic, feeling an intense need to escape, feeling “unreal” in a sense or detached from themselves, fear of losing control or going crazy, feeling like they’re going to die or pass out, and knowing that they’re overreacting but feeling powerless to control their fear. (Smith, Segal, and Segal 3) If only a few or even none of these are present when facing a person’s fear it may just be all in their heads. Now back to the spider. If the person was suffering from arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, they would be physically and/or psychologically impaired by it. "To be defined as a phobia, the fear must cause some level of impairment," says Wilson, the author of the book Don't Panic. "I had a woman come in who is afraid of spiders, and it got to the point where she wouldn't go out at night because she couldn't see where they were." (Hatfield 1) As stated, the woman's fear of spiders has become so intense, it's become a phobia. This phobia affected this woman’s life dramatically by not letting her leave the house once it got dark. There are three main categories of phobias. One category is specific phobias or simple phobias which involve a disproportionate fear about specific situations, living creatures, activities, or things. Some examples include a fear of dentists (dentophobia), a fear of dogs (cynophobia), and a fear of flying (aviophobia). A second category is social phobia or as now called social anxiety disorder in which a person finds being in social situations difficult and sometimes unbearable. Going up to the board in class, going to a party, or singing a song in front of a friend can cause sufferers anxiety because they have a fear of being humiliated in public. Finally the third is