A specific phobia is an overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling, or animal. A phobia is not necessarily just something you are afraid of - the response tends to be more pronounced and can have an effect on how you live your daily life. The response to the phobic stimuli is usually considered to be irrational or exaggerated by observers, but for the individual involved the sense of danger and experience of anxiety can be very distressing and overwhelming. Most people find a simple and isolated phobia is easier to cope with if it is something that can be avoided. However, if a phobia becomes severe it can start to restrict daily functioning or impact on a person’s wellbeing, particularly if avoiding the stimuli is causing them to miss out. For example, an individual may feel compelled to turn down a desired job as they are fearful of travelling by train to work.
Actions that can help
- There are several effective treatments that can help with the anxiety caused by specific phobias, including: self-help and guided self-help, psychological therapy, and/or medication.
- You may find it helpful to join a self-help or support group. There are many resources that can be shared that will help you manage your phobia.
- Physical activity and exercise can help to ease some of the common symptoms of anxiety.
- By being mindful of your diet and sleep and engaging in regular exercise, you can help to improve your overall mental wellbeing which can build resilience and resources. It’s important to look after yourself.
- There is no one way to treat a specific phobia. If self-help isn’t working, reach out for additional help or support from a friend, family member, or healthcare professional.