Coping with Phobias
A phobia is an intense fear of an object, animal, person, place or situation.
If you have a phobia, you probably know your fear is irrational, but that doesn’t make it any easier to deal with. If you think about, or come across, the object, animal, person or situation you might:
- feel anxious and frightened
- feel short of breath
- feel your heart thumping and your chest tightening
- feel faint and sick
- sweat heavily
- have an overwhelming desire to get away
These feelings might be so strong that you’ll go out of your way to avoid the object, animal or person. That might not matter if you rarely encounter them; but if they’re common or unavoidable, the phobia will make it hard to lead a normal life.
Almost one in ten people in the UK suffer from a phobia. The range of phobias is vast – it includes:
- enclosed spaces (lifts, aeroplanes and crowded rooms)
- insects of all kinds
- open spaces (shops, train stations, airports and shopping centres)
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy can help you to recognise, understand and then change the negative thoughts that generate your phobia. Almost all phobias can be cured using CBT and a safe, but gradual, exposure to the things that trigger your phobia.