Topic 14: Phobias

Phobia definition: a great, extreme fear in an object, place, person, experience etc. Quiet often the fear is out of proportion to the real danger.

Being scared is a normal part of growing up; everyone is scared of something. By being scared we learn new things, experience new things and grow as a person. Most people grow of  their fear, such as a child who is scared of the dark most likely wont be scared of the dark at age 25. It is ok to be scared of something because it is not your fault, blame your brain. But when can we call a fear and phobia? How do we deal with it? How is your brain to blame? What causes a phobia?

It depends on how what the phobia is, depends on how your brain will react. For example if you are scared of spiders suffer from a decrease in activity in the insular cortex, thalamus, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and the parahippocampal gyrus in the brain. When we sense fear our brain acts straight away, causing higher blood pressure, faster heat beat and rapid breathing.

What causes a phobia? Why is it your brains fault?

Some phobias happen when a person experience something scary. a tiny part of the brain called the amygdala keeps track of experiences that cause you to have stronger emotions, such as fear. This small part of the brain tells the person how to react when faced with something that scared them. Some people are so scared that this small part of the brain can even react when someone talks about the thing you are scared of or you think about the thing you are scared of. The brain does this to keep the body safe, it is almost like an alert system for the body.

When can we call a fear a phobia?

It is normal to have fear, fear is there to keep the human body safe from any chance at fear. It is normal to feel anxious, nervous, getting a bit queasy or feeling butterflies when you are scared. When you have a phobia you may avoid any chance of coming in contact with the thing you are scared of e.g. missing a family get together because you are to scared of flying, turning down offers that involve the thing your are scared of, difficulty breathing, racing or pounding heart, chest pain, shaking, feeling dizzy, lightheaded, upset stomach, hot or cold flashes, sweating, feeling overwhelmed, feeling like you might pass out and knowing that your over reacting but feeling like you cant control it.

How to deal with it?

Dealing with a phobia can be very hard, just know you are not alone; according to  the American Psychological Association, at least 10 million Americas have an phobia.

Face your fear: When I say to face your fear I mean to do it slowly. Slowly move into contact to the thing you are scared of, do it slowly and try to relax.

Seek a doctors advice: It is important to seek help, by seeing a doctor or a therapist they can take you step by step, along with helpful tips. They can introduce you to your phobia in a safe environment.

Relaxation techniques: It is important to stay relaxed, you should never feel overwhelmed by the feelings of being anxious. Try to practice breathing exercises, sit or stand comfortably for a few seconds and close your eyes and breath slowly and deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth.

There are lots of phobia’s in the world and they each have a special name, to name a few:

Fear of spiders- Arachnophobia

Fear of washing or bathing- Ablutophobia

Fear of staying single- Anuptaphobia

Fear of gravity- Barophobia

Fear of mirrors- Catoptrophobia

Fear of snow- Chionophobia

Fear of dogs or rabies- Cynophobia

Fear of going to school- Didaskaleinophobia

Fear of vomiting- Emetophobia

Fear of redlights. Blushing. Red.- Erythrophobia or Erytophobia or Ereuthophobia

Fear of laughter- Geliophobia

Fear of growing old- Gerascophobia

Fear of the number 666- Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia

Fear of long words- hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia

Fear of vegetables- Lachanophobia

Fear of belly buttons- Omphalophobia

Fear of thinking-  Phronemophobia

Fear of dirt- Rupophobia

Fear of getting wrinkles- Rhytiphobia

Fear of sitting-  Thaasophobia

Fear of step-father- Vitricophobia

Fear of the great mole rat- Zemmiphobia

Fear of clowns- Coulrophobia


Social phobias affect people of all ages, 40% age 10 and 95%age 20. 15-20% of people will surfer from a phobia at least once in their lives. World population: 74%  fear of public speaking – Glossophobia, 68% fear of death – Necrophobia, 30.5% fear of spiders – Arachnophobia, 6.5% fear of flying – Aerophobia, 10%  fear of heights – Acrophobia and 2% fear of thunder and lightning – Brontophobia.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”- Neale Walsch



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