More on exposure therapy
An estimated 19 million Americans suffer from life comprising phobias. The two major types of phobias are social phobia and specific phobia. People with social phobia have an overwhelming and disabling fear of scrutiny, embarrassment, or humiliation in social situations. Those with specific phobias experience extreme and disabling fear of a specific object or situation such as driving or flying. Phobias can lead to avoidance of many potentially pleasurable and meaningful activities, and cause people to restrict their lives unnecessarily.
A phobia is an irrational fear, and all phobias have a commonality in faulty thought processes that bring on unbearable physical symptoms. This is part of the bodyÂ’s innate Â“flight or fightÂ” response, which is an internal self-preservation mechanism that secretes adrenalin within the body to help one survive a life-threatening situation. The problem is when your brain registers a threat when there is no real danger. It nonetheless tries to protect you by scaring you into safety. The first instinct is to avoid feeling discomfort, and avoidance is what maintains and fuels the phobia. A phobia can develop in association with people, things, situations, objects, animals Â– you name it. There are hundreds of recognized fears. Some of the most common phobias are of public speaking, flying, driving, heights, and elevators.
Most people with phobias were born with a more sensitive nervous system that predisposes them to experience anxiety more intensely. On a positive note, those who are prone to anxiety and phobias also tend to be conscientious, responsible, highly intelligent, imaginative, and very creative. This is why theyÂ’re so good at creating catastrophic mental scenarios with such vivid detail, and why they worry so much about what other people think. It is also why theyÂ’re so good at disguising their fears with seemingly logical excuses such as Â“Sorry, canÂ’t go to the restaurant, just ate.Â” Some will strategically plan a Â“safeÂ” route to go the office, while others will take the stairs Â“for exercise,Â” rather than be confined on an elevator. The brain doesnÂ’t know the difference between a real or imagined event, so oneÂ’s imagination is enough to make the body release adrenalin. A spurt of adrenalin usually lasts only 10 minutes, so it takes a certain amount of creativity to sustain a high level of anxiety for long periods of time. Adrenalin can cause a whole host of symptoms such as a racing heart, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, inability to think clearly, and dizziness to name a few. An adrenalin rush is helpful if you need to run or fight for your life, but unproductive in most day-to-day living situations. In fact, it can leave you feeling frazzled and out of control. ItÂ’s important to realize that youÂ’re not going crazy. You may feel that way because the very real physical symptoms you experience can be overwhelming. The good news is that phobias can be cured.http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/all_about_anxiety/109927
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