Phobias – it seems as though everyone has at least one. How about you?
Phobias are intense, irrational fears about things such as snakes, heights, germs, spiders, flying, enclosed places and public speaking. Many people can deal with their phobias as long as they can avoid the object of their fear. This might be the case, for example with those who have a fear of snakes or confined spaces. For others, their phobias are so severe that they are unable to live normal lives.
There are three categories of phobias:
- Agoraphobia – the literal translation is “fear of the marketplace.” Agoraphobics fear that they will have a panic attack when they are in open spaces or a situation where they can’t escape easily or without embarrassment.
- Social Phobia – irrational fear of embarrassment in certain social situations, such as public speaking. Symptoms include sweating, blushing, nausea, anxiety and rapid heartbeat. This phobia can limit a person’s ability to work or to form meaningful relationships.
- Specific phobias – this category includes more than 350 phobias that mostly center on situations, animals and the environment.
What causes phobias? Some experts say they are the result of traumatic events, low self-esteem or negative experiences in a person’s life. Another explanation is that phobias tend to develop toward things that people can’t control. Or, maybe people are biologically programmed to fear situations and animals that threatened humans throughout evolution.
Identical twins, raised apart, have been found to have the same phobias, so there may be a genetic component to phobias. Common phobias involve dangerous situations and things – snakes, heights and lightening, for example. Treatment of phobias may include medications, relaxation techniques, breathing exercises and a certain type of [behavior] therapy that is known as “exposure therapy.” This therapy helps a patient confront and become more comfortable with situations or objects that cause their irrational fear (phobia).
Chiropractic care may be useful in helping those with extreme anxiety and phobia conditions, especially when symptoms started after a traumatic injury to the head or neck. This type of injury can result in nerve damage that disrupts proper nerve function. Chiropractic care may help restore a more normal nerve function, often relieving the cause of phobias, without medication.