Published on August 4, 2021

When Phobias are More Than “Just a Fear”

Do you have a fear that’s impacting your life negatively? Statistics indicate that 12.5% of those aged 18 and above in the United States will face specific phobia at some point in their lives. So, what exactly does specific phobia mean as a diagnosis, and how can you find help for specific phobia?

About Specific Phobia

Specific phobia is a recognized anxiety disorder. As a diagnosis, specific phobia is characterized by a marked, ongoing, and excessive or unreasonable fear of a particular situation or object that causes clinically significant distress or impairment in work, school, interpersonal relationships, or other important areas of life.

The phobia must not be better explained by or attributed to another mental health condition, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) or an eating disorder.

Examples of common phobias include but aren’t limited to situations like flying on an airplane, going to school, vomiting, going to the dentist, medical procedures, or being in an enclosed space.

Other common phobias include those related to objects and creatures, such as spiders. If a fear or phobia of any kind is impacting your life, the good news is that support is available. Specific phobia is both a common disorder and a treatable one.

Addressing Specific Phobia

Having a phobia is nothing to be ashamed of. With the prevalence of specific phobia in mind, it’s important to remember that, although living with a phobia can feel lonely and isolating, you aren’t alone if you have one.

Therapy is the leading treatment for addressing specific phobia. While various forms of talk therapy may be used to treat phobias, the goal of therapy for specific phobia across the board is typically to improve your quality of life and increase your ability to engage in activities that the phobia may have held you back from in the past.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is among one of the most common forms of therapy used to treat specific phobia, and it’s proven effective for both kids and adults coping with a number of different phobias.

Mindfulness techniques and other similar coping skills alongside distress tolerance techniques can help a person with specific phobia create a plan for exposure to their phobia, allowing them to improve and work through impairment in functioning or engaging in activities caused by the phobia. If you live with specific phobia or think that you might be, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

Find a Therapist

Whether you’re facing a phobia or anything else that’s impacting your mental health and quality of life, a therapist or counselor can help. To find a therapist, you can ask your doctor for a referral, search the web, contact your insurance company to see who they cover, or sign up for a reputable online therapy platform like BetterHelp. All of the providers on the BetterHelp platform are licensed, and they have a wide range of specialties, allowing you to find specialized care easily.

Online therapy is often more affordable than traditional in-person services are in the absence of insurance, and it’s an excellent way to see a professional from the privacy of your own home or anywhere else with a reliable internet connection. Regardless of how you find a therapist or counselor, you deserve quality care. Start your search today and get the support you need.

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