Phobias are an extreme or irrational fear of an object or situation and can cause a lot of distress. They can restrict day-to-day life and, in severe cases, an individual may organise their life around avoiding the thing they’re afraid of. If the phobia can’t be avoided entirely, intense anxiety will result.
What are Phobias?
Generally speaking, phobias can be grouped into two different types. Simple, or specific, phobias and complex phobias.
Simple phobias are centred around certain objects, animals or activities and often coalesce in childhood. In some people these phobias become less debilitating as you get older, but this is not guaranteed.
Complex phobias tend to arise during adulthood and are often tied with a deeply embedded fear about a situation. Agoraphobia is a good example of a complex phobia as it is usually triggered by being in a crowded environment. However, it is more complicated than it seems, as some agoraphobic induced panic attacks can occur while the person is alone.
Our approach to treating phobias
Simple phobias can nearly always be treated by desensitisation. This is where you are gradually exposed to the fear inducing object or activity.
Complex phobias often take longer to treat and will require talking therapies, such as:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy