Phobia is defined as an anxiety disorder characterized by extreme and irrational fear of simple things or social situations. It also may just refer to the extreme and irrational fear itself. Many people experience them in everyday life. Just about everyone has some phobia or another. Spiders, airplanes, heights, or those creepy little nocturnal minions of the devil known as owls. Â
Most of the time, this isn’t a big problem, but what if you have to fly for business? What if you are traveling in Japan where they don’t kill spiders, so they are everywhere? What if you live alone and one is on your bed!? Â
Phobias are actually a pretty big deal. Luckily, there are plenty of different ways to treat Phobia. First, we have to understand how they come about. Â
Cause of Phobia
There are a number of good and bad theories, but professionals agree that these are the most likely explanations of their origins.
The Genetic/Evolution Theory – This argument says that due to the circumstances of evolution, certain phobias are with us because they would have saved the humans who had them from dying and, as the survivors reproduced, these traits that allowed for the phobias would have been passed on and reinforced through generations. Basically, phobias are an advantage. Â
You can see the logic here. If people knew to be afraid of spiders without being told they might be poisonous, they are more likely to survive. Â
The Child/Trauma Theory – This theory suggests that at some point in earlier life, usually childhood, a traumatic event happens and the experience becomes deeply engrained in the mind. So, whenever we are reminded of this event, that fear is reproduced. In this way, it is similar to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, though not the same.
As the phobia is with us from childhood, it is really hard to shake.
Conditioning (and Two Process Conditioning) – This is a sort of combined interpretation. Conditioning says that when there is a certain stimulus or event and we have a good or bad reaction, from there on in we will have a positive or negative association. This happens somewhere in the unconscious mind. Two Process Conditioning suggests that this is true, but it works within some sort of genetic framework that is hard-wired into the brain.
Some Common Phobias
Arachnophobia – The fear of spiders
Ophidiophobia – Fear of snakes. Supports Genetic/Evolutionary Theory of Phobias.
Acrophobia – Fear of heights.
Agoraphobia – Fear of anywhere from which it would be difficult to escape
Cynophobia – Fear of dogs. Supports Trauma Theory.
Trypanophobia – Fear of needles or injections.
Pteromerhanophobia – Fear of flying.
Mysophobia – The fear of germs.
There are lots of weird ones too:
Chronomentrophobia – Fear of clocks
Dendrophobia – Fear of trees
Papyrophobia – Fear of paper
Sitophobia – Fear of food
There are many effective ways to treat: Counter Therapy, Hypnosis, Behavioral Therapy, and Neurolinguistic Therapy, but for all the things that really don’t get in the way of life, you can just take Xanax when you DO have to deal with it. Plane flights for example. Talk to a doctor about taking Xanax. Xanax is intended for short-term use.