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According to the American Psyciatric Association (APA), a specific phobia is excessive and persistent fear of a specific object, situation, or activity that is generally not harmful. As people experience these fears, they often create uncomfortable situations and endure high levels of distress as they attempt to avoid whatever it is that they fear.

Some common phobias include fear of public speaking, fear of flying, and fear of spiders. However, any phobia can cause a traumatic event for the person experiencing the fear.

young woman afraid in a crowd

Who suffers from phobias?

The APA estimates that somewhere between 8 and 12 percent of U.S. adults experience a specific phobia every year. Typically, women are about twice as likely to experience phobias as men. The onset of symptoms often begins in childhood at about seven years of age.

What are the symptoms associated with phobias?

Phobias create fears that may result in any number of physical symptoms. These symptoms may range in severity as well as in number. Some of the more common symptoms of phobias include:

  • Nausea
  • Breathlessness
  • Sweating
  • Racing pulse
  • Dizzyness
  • Shaking
  • Fixation on the object that is feared

In extreme cases, symptoms may escalate to a full blown anxiety attack, which is significantly more intense for the victim.

woman peeking through blinds afraid of the outside

What causes phobias?

There are numerous root causes for phobias. Research has shown that many phobias often result from one of the following:

  • Trauma – negative experiences in childhood may lead to phobias as adults
  • Genetics – children of parents with phobias are predisposed to experiencing phobias themselves
  • Brain injuries – a traumatic head injury can often lead to phobia development
  • External factors – phobias may result from an infection or from exposure to certain toxins, like mold

Sometimes phobias are learned responses that result from children adopting the fears of their parents. Regardless of the cause, all phobias are traumatic for the victim.

We at Bridgepoint stand ready to help you face your fears and overcome them for improved lifestyle and relief from stress.

Are phobias treatable?

Absolutely. Each person is different, and our trained therapists work individually with each patient to determine the best treatment style and frequency. Some of our treatments include:

  • Counter-conditioning – therapists help each patient develop a new, healthier response to the specific phobia. The brain is re-trained to engage in more relaxing processes when encountering the feared object.
  • Flooding – the patient is forced to experience the fear to overcome it with a new knowledge that it is not truly harmful.
  • Medications – in addition to active therapy sessions, sometimes medications can help relieve the stress associated with phobias.

We look forward to conducting a thorough evaluation of your situation to determine the best treatment options for you.

How can Bridgepoint help me with my phobia problems?

At Bridgepoint, we take special care with each patient to fully evaluate each condition. An accurate diagnosis and course of action eliminates unnecessary delays and gets each patient on course for as timely a recovery as we can provide.

Our trained and experienced therapists will give you the confidence you need to face your fears and know that you are on a path to recovery. Throughout your therapy process, we will walk beside you and support you as you develop a healthy response to your phobia.

Contact us today tat our offices in Smyrna between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 770-858-5377 to start your evaluation process and begin a life free of fear.

Visit Our Resources Page

Bridgepoint encourages clinicians, patients, and their loved ones to research new methodologies and techniques to improve mental health and wellbeing. To assist with your own learning, we’ve put together a variety of resources on a variety of topics – including genomics – to help you on your mental health journey.

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