So, what is the difference between fears and phobias anyway? Very simply having a fear of something will naturally exhibit itself as an emotional response towards something that’s perceived to be harmful in some way and may cause you to react in order to protect yourself from further harm. A phobia is similar in the sense that it’s also a fear, but it’s gone beyond perceived reality and causes anxiety symptoms that can impair a person’s regular daily enjoyment in life and/or their daily functions become dysfunctional because of this phobia.
There are so many different types of phobias that the American Psychiatric Association updates new phobias into their book of diagnostic statistical manual of mental disorders, known as DSM. I think the last count I did online for known phobias was approximately 374 or so, and quite often clinicians and researchers will make up names for the various types of phobias as the need arises. They do this by simply combining a Greek (or Latin) prefix that describes the phobia with the -phobia suffix.
Because there are so many specific phobias it has become important to divide them into 5 relatable categories such as:
- Animal phobias such as the fear of snakes, spiders, rodents, and dogs.
- Natural environment phobias such as a fear of heights, storms, water, and of the dark.
- Situational phobias like the fear of enclosed spaces, flying, driving, tunnels, bridges, and public speaking (public speaking phobia is a very common phobia that effects 75% of general population)
- Blood-Injection-Injury phobia, the fear of blood, injury, illness, needles, or other medical and dental procedures
- Other, fear of choking, loud noises, drowning, and even the fear of dying
The most common fears that people have according to a 1998 survey done by the British Journal of Psychiatry are:
- fear of flying, aerophobia
- fear of spiders, arachnophobia
- fear of thunder and lightning, astraphobia
- fear of being alone, autophobia
- fear of confined or crowded spaces, claustrophobia
- fear of blood, hemophobia
- fear of water, hydrophobia
- fear of snakes, ophidiophobia
- fear of animals, zoophobia
There seems to be a list of remarkably similar as well as quite uncomfortable bodily symptoms that all these fears and phobias can cause a person to experience.
Because people who have fears and phobias often have symptoms that are just like having a panic attack, I have found a list of some of the symptoms often caused by a severe phobia or fear of something.
- Sweating profusely
- Trembling and shaking
- Hot flushes or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- A choking sensation
- Rapid heartbeat and/or heart palpitations
- Pain or tightness in the chest
- A sensation of butterflies in the stomach
- Nausea and upset stomach
- Headaches and dizziness
- Feeling faint or feeling like you are going to pass out
- Numbness or pins and needles
- Dry mouth
- A need to go to the toilet
- Ringing in your ears
- Confusion or disorientation
It is the fear of experiencing some of the above symptoms that causes many people who have a phobia or fear of something to look for ways to avoid any type of contact with those fears or phobias. Thus, making life choices more difficult, costly, and uncomfortable.
Like the person who avoids moving into an apartment building on a higher floor because they don’t want to be forced to use the elevator due to their extreme fear of enclosed spaces or the person who can’t apply for that job position they really like because the job requires them to travel by plane and they’re extremely fearful of flying on a plane. Whenever your fear or phobia is getting in the way of your life, job, choice of shelter…what can you do to change these intense feelings of fear?
Quite often whenever a person has a fear of something, they tend to imagine the fear to be larger than life you might say. So, that the fear is perceived as quite HUGE to them, it becomes something that they feel they can’t control their physical or mental reactions to this fear, whatever it might be. And even simply talking about this perceived fear can start to bring on their symptoms of anxiety.
So, as a hypnotherapist it’s important to help people develop a way of desensitizing their fear using a type of exposure therapy that is done through hypnotic trance first. It’s also important to help people with fears to learn how to relax their minds through positive imagery as well.
A hypnotherapist will help you cope with your fears or phobias by:
- Helping you to learn how to relax your mind & body by using guided imagery
- Guide you hypnotically to imagine yourself watching yourself facing your fear of whatever it is…. such as flying, driving, needles, dentists, spiders, etc. as if you are watching yourself on a movie screen and you can feel in control of whatever you are seeing on the screen
- Help to guide you towards learning how to minimize your fear so that it seems smaller to you and less threatening
- Help you to feel calm, confident, and in control whenever you are around your perceived fear whatever it might be
There are many benefits to using hypnotherapy to overcome your fears and phobias of something. One of the biggest benefits is that it works rather quickly for most people and it’s totally natural by using your own inner mental abilities to change your thinking and focus towards being calmer and more detached from a perceived fear. Most people find having hypnosis sessions for overcoming fears to be very enjoyable, calming and relaxing.
Hypnotherapy helps you to get back to living the life you always wanted without having fearful anxiety symptoms getting in the way of your happiness. So, if you are ready to take control of your fear book an appointment soon with Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist Tracy Thompson both to start your journey into feeling more calm, comfortable, and in control.