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Phobias

October 31, 2018

              Happy Halloween from Main St. Psychiatry! It feels appropriate on this day to discuss fear, or more specifically, phobias. Phobia is defined as an unwarranted, persistent fear of a certain situation or object. Specific phobias span across a large spectrum - - at times somewhat common and understandable, and others not so much. There’s arachnophobia (fear of spiders), hydrophobia (fear of water), pyrophobia (fear of fire), or claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces). However, there are also more unusual phobias such as pogonphobia (fear of beards), uranophobia (fear of heaven), and ergophobia (fear of work).

              How do phobias develop? For a fear to become irrational, genetic and environmental factors need to come together. For many people with phobias, a genetic predisposition to anxiety and/or fear will combine with witnessing or being a victim of a traumatic event to develop the phobia. For example, a person already prone to anxiety or fear could be trapped in a small space and unable to escape due to circumstance, resulting in the development of claustrophobia.

              How do we treat phobias? First, we would want to examine the root cause of the phobia and process any traumatic thoughts or feelings involved in its development. Then we might attempt some form of exposure therapy, wherein the individual engages with his or her fear in small, safe amounts to decrease and overcome the fear over time. However, for some phobias such as ergophobia (fear of work) this exposure might be quite unpleasant. I imagine there are many of us out there with a touch of ergophobia…

If you suffer from a phobia or would like more information, contact Main St. Psychiatry today.

Original material found at: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/explore/phobias-list

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-do-we-develop-certain-irrationa/

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