Millions of people experience extreme levels of fear when exposed to a situation, object or place they perceive as a threat. They may experience excessive anxiety even when the threat is not imminent. When the fear or anxiety is out of proportion to the threat, this disorder is known as a phobia.
Here are some of the most common phobias:
- Agoraphobia (fear of having a panic attack in public). This phobia often develops after a panic attack. People with agoraphobia fear places or situations that make them feel trapped or panicked, such as open or enclosed spaces, crowds or public transportation. They may need a companion to go to public places or even be unable to leave their home.
- Acrophobia (fear of heights). Sufferers experience an intense fear of heights and may avoid attending a meeting in a high-rise office building or an amusement park where there are roller coasters or Ferris wheels. They may even avoid climbing a ladder to do a home repair.
- Social phobias. Social anxiety disorders are the most common phobia and generally involve a fear of being negatively judged or embarrassed in a social or performance situation. People with these phobias often experience distressing physical symptoms in a social situation and avoid social contact altogether.
- Aviophobia (fear of flying). Many people experience fear at the thought of boarding a plane or even nearing an airport, with symptoms ranging from jitters to a full-blown panic attack. This phobia is often linked to other phobias, such as a fear of enclosed spaces.
- Claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces). Claustrophobia affects some people when they are in or think about being in a small space such as a small room without windows, an elevator or even a plane. They may fear not being able to breathe or not being able to escape.
- Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes). Another common fear is all things that slither. While a healthy respect for a venomous snake is normal, if you experience physical symptoms or lose control when you see or think about snakes, you may have this specific phobia.
Find Support at Sound Mind Therapy
Overcoming phobias can be difficult so it’s essential to seek help from a professional therapist. However, the good news is that phobias generally respond very well to treatment, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) during individual counseling. If you need help, reach out to Sound Mind Therapy at (314) 499-9144 or complete our online appointment request form. We serve residents of St. Charles, Chesterfield and other suburbs of St. Louis, MO.