Everyone has a phobia of something, whether it is of something abstract, such as the fear of failure, or of something tangible, such as spiders. They affect people’s everyday lives, especially in the school environment and in the workplace.
Phobias have deep psychological causes and implications, usually caused by stressful situations or frightening events. Luckily, there are ways to deal with, or even overcome, certain phobias. Read on to take a look at how phobias are commonly developed and how they can be overcome.
Phobias Are Not A Problem
It can be hard to live a life with phobias, and that is why professional are there to help and offer advice on how to cope with certain phobias. There are plenty of resources and assistance for people with different phobias, ranging from tips on self-help to techniques that therapists use.
Helpguide, a non-profit organization, recommends trying different relaxation techniques and meditation when trying to stay calm. A person under anxiety from phobia can try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and muscle relaxation, as these movements can help control the physical symptoms of anxiety. When self-help fails, it is time to seek help from mental health professionals. According to Mayo Clinic, the most effective treatments are exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. Therapists use exposure therapy to help patients overcome their fears by presenting their fears right in front of them. CBT is aimed to change patient’s’ way of thinking and eventually change the way he or she feel toward a certain phobia.
It is only a matter of time before people find the best way to cope with their phobias. In the near future, as more information surfaces about phobias, more treatments will become known and available to the world.
Fears and Careers
Phobias come in different levels of extremes, effects and places of origin. However, phobias can affect workplaces, regardless of the type of people that endure them. For example, glossophobia, the fear of public speaking, could inhibit the rising success of a CEO or executive. Regardless, phobias both major and small could potentially alter career choices, depending on how much a person allows it to impact his or her decisions.
Major fears include agoraphobia, the fear of crowds and open spaces, and claustrophobia, the fear of closed spaces, which could impact the working environment a person chooses to adapt to. Phobias that prevent skill-building and effective communication include: bibliophobia, the fear of books; decidophobia, the fear of making decisions; and epistemophilia, the fear of knowledge. Technophobia, the fear of technology, could even limit the types of careers a person chooses to take.
According to All About Counseling, phobias can be treated with a “combination of fear-reduction conditioning, behavioral conditioning, personal counseling, and medication.” Hypnotherapy is recommended to open a patient to a calmer mindset and prevent them from reacting to real-life situations in a defensive manner. Forbes also states that women are two times more likely to be affected by career-related phobias than men. Despite this, if a person has ergophobia or the fear of work, he or she has a lot of work to do!
Phobias Affect Students
Some of the most common phobias that affect students are related to anxiety and can often last months at a time impacting the student’s education. The school environment often initiates these phobias.
Public high schools vary in size but the average classroom occupancy generally ranges from about 30 to 36 students. For some, the thought of being in large crowds is nerve wrecking and has already caused students to stay at home rather than attend school. According to Do Something, an average of 10 percent of teens suffer from panic disorders. Students who suffer from agoraphobia often have panic attacks. This affects the student when they stop showing up due to their phobia. When students feel uncomfortable within the school environment, they are less likely to attend school.
Another phobia that is seen within schools would be mysophobia, the fear of germs. Schools are full of germs in the eyes of those who have mysophobia. Those with mysophobia believe that they must always be clean. They are so distracted by the germs that they begin to lose focus in class and their education.
The Origins of Phobias
From cognitive learning to influencing phobias, the adolescent years absorb the most information in human development. A Harvard Medical School study analyzed that children look up at adults with trust and place their emotional and physical needs. The trust children give their caregivers leads children to avoid things that adults mark as dangerous. People often develop a fear of closed spaces if they had an experience of being trapped when they were a child. The study went on to also analyze that people can learn phobias from family members who have similar fears.
Researchers do not know what causes complex phobias, such social phobias. However, it is thought that genetics, brain chemistry and life experiences all play a part in the development of complex phobias. The physical reactions a person experiences, when faced with their fear, is generally considered a reaction to something immediate that threatens their security or safety. The emotion of fear is an indicator that a species could physically be harmed. Fight or flight is considered a fear response and is the behavior of various species when they are threatened.
Phobias have protected humans from predators and other threats to their survival. It is no wonder that certain dangers evoke that emotion since fear helps protect and is, therefore, adaptive, functional and necessary.
Poll: Greatest Fear
Poll collected by Katherine Gong and Jesse Rosales
Graphics by Xiaoye Wang
1. What is one of the most known phobias?
2. What is cibophobia?
A) fear of ugliness
B) fear of clowns
C) fear of food
D) fear of dogs
3. What is the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth?
4. What is nyctophobia?
D) fear of darkness
Answers: (1)B, (2)C, (3)A, (4)D