Anxiety is the activation of the fight or flight system – your body’s natural reaction to danger. At its core, anxiety is healthy. But when you experience anxiety at an inappropriate time, or you experience more significant anxiety than the situation calls for, that’s when anxiety becomes a problem.
This is the case with phobias. Phobias are severe anxiety caused by a specific thing or event. The anxiety may range from mild to severe, but is always triggered by the thing that causes the phobia.
Treatment for Phobias: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
There are common phobias, uncommon phobias, and rare phobias. One of the rarest is the unfortunately named hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, which is a fear of long words. But if you’re like most people on Long Island, you may be struggling with fears that include:
Arachnophobia – Fear of Spiders
Acrophobia – Fear of Heights
Ophidiophobia – Fear of Snakes
Cynophobia – Fear of Dogs
Aerophobia – Fear of Flying
Claustrophobia – Fear of Small Spaces
Ornithophobia – Fear of Birds
There are people that fear pigeons, people that fear needles, people that fear the water, and more.
Most people have some fears that could be called a “phobia,” but doesn’t (or rarely) impacts their life. For example, if you have a fear of snakes, but don’t live near snakes, or your fear isn’t too strong, chances are you don’t need treatment.
But for some people, the phobia produces either:
Significant Fear – Presence of the phobia trigger causes anxiety so extreme, it may lead to panic attack, fainting, or other severe anxiety reactions.
Frequent Disturbance – Presence of the phobia impacts their life. For example, a fear of flying prevents them from travel, or a fear of birds (even if it is not a severe fear) means they experience regular, persistent anxiety when outdoors.
If these describe you or someone you love, it may be time to treat your phobias. Although there are several treatments available, one option that works very well is cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT. CBT has long been one of the go-to choices for psychologists looking to address issues with phobias.
This form of anxiety therapy is one of several options we may consider in our sessions, depending on the origin of your phobia and the best course of action to treat it. For more information about my phobia therapy services on Long Island, please call me today at (516) 732-0273.