It’s completely natural to feel scared sometimes, especially when confronted with situations that threaten your well-being.
Sometimes, however, your fear may be out of proportion to the real danger of the situation. You might feel extremely distressed, panicky, and go to great lengths to avoid the situation or object.
You might avoid social situations, like parties or work happy hours. Maybe you’re afraid of flying, being in enclosed spaces, snakes or spiders (those are mine!), or blood.
You might feel your heart race, sweat more than usual, shake or have trouble with your breath.
Unfortunately, knowing intellectually that your reaction may be irrational or excessive doesn’t usually do much to change anything about the phobia.
When to seek help with a phobia
A lot of phobias don’t interfere too much in our lives. We can mostly avoid them and they don’t get in the way of living our lives.
When you’re trying to avoid the feared situation or object whenever possible, to the extent that it truly interferes and causes distress in your life, it’s most likely time to get some extra help and support.
CBT as an effective treatment for phobias
CBT is considered the most effective treatment for phobias. By identifying and defeating irrational thinking patterns as well as practicing exposure techniques to face your fears, you can expect to find relief.
Exposure can be done in a gradual way, in which you come gradually closer to your feared object or situations.