Scared sick: What are phobias and where do they come from

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A phobia is a fear which cannot be controlled. Cause it can a certain object, place, process, situation or even a sense of phobias are many, but is the basis of every strong anxiety. At the same time with the latter from time to time experienced by all. How to distinguish normal anxiety from phobias and what to do to stop the panic, we understand together with experts: the doctor-psychotherapist of clinic "Visiomed+" by Elena Samsonova, neuropsychologist Mikhail Ivanov and pilot of the airline "Victory" by Alexios Kochemasova.

When there is a phobia

An unpleasant conversation with the boss, misunderstandings in family, hard deadline — all of which can disturb. Such a state cannot be called pleasant, but the overall situation remains under control — the so-called adaptive anxiety, which usually passes quickly. But there is another anxiety — pathological. The main difference between pathological anxiety that the experience of threat is not true, that is the real reason for the violent reaction is not. When having an anxiety attack, the person ceases to control the situation, as health deteriorates: it becomes difficult to breathe, sweaty or shivery, dry mouth, nausea, dizziness. These symptoms of the panic associated with the activation of the hypothalamus and autonomic centers of the brain.

According to the doctor Elena Samsonova, anxiety disorders can be hereditary: children whose relatives are faced with this problem, the risk of developing phobias above. The impetus for its emergence can be a lot of stress. Pathological anxiety occurs spontaneously or in response to a specific stimulus (a trigger) and with time intensifies. Very often the trigger be animals (dogs, cats), including insects (spiders, cockroaches), natural phenomena (severe thunderstorm, hurricane) or certain actions and processes (flight of an airplane, climb to the Elevator).

What are phobias

Aerophobia takes the leading place in the list of fears. Pilot Alexey Kochemasov said that some people are afraid to fly just because they do not understand what is happening in the plane. They are afraid of sounds, shaking, steam, and the inability to control the process — because the plane can not even see exactly where you're moving. In this case, it helps to understand what and when is happening — for this, you can subscribe to the blogs of the pilots and flight attendants or read the special guide like "Easy way to stop being afraid to fly". By the way, try to relax with alcohol is not the most effective way: the fear will not go away, but to get drunk in the air easily even from the amount of alcohol, which on earth seems harmless (this is due to oxygen starvation when climbing).

Of course, not all cases are able to cope on their own. The causes of aerophobia may lie in the strong feelings of the happened accidents: although the statistics of the aircraft is significantly safer the car, the tragedy with the aircraft is always well represented in the media. For this reason, aerophobia rarely associated with a fear of heights, because the person is afraid of not the being on top, and that something happens with the plane.

Another common fear is agoraphobia, or fear of open spaces. People may not be, for example, in the square — he starts panicking, it becomes difficult to breathe, dark eyes, it seems that here-here will come the faint. Neuropsychologist Michael Ivanov notes that in agoraphobia the person may consciously want to be on the square or the stage, but his nervous system is "voting" against it.

When working with a therapist, you might discover that people are subconsciously afraid to get into an awkward or inappropriate position "in front of everyone". Sometimes panic develops when you need to speak to an audience, perhaps in working through this situation with a specialist it turns out that public speaking is hindered by the fear to do it well enough.

The opposite fear — claustrophobia, in which a panic occurs in a confined space, e.g. a room without Windows or the Elevator and the crowd of people. The cause of claustrophobia is not fully understood. Elena Samsonova said that the problem could trigger a strong stress suffered in childhood: for example, the child was locked in a small room as punishment, or he was accidentally locked in the closet. It is believed that claustrophobia develops due to dysfunction of the amygdala region of the brain responsible for fear.

There are a lot of phobias related to animals — most people are afraid of spiders, snakes and dogs, but the cause of zoophobia not been fully elucidated. According to one version, the fear of snakes or spiders could develop in the course of evolution as a means of protecting people from the deadly bites. Fear dogs or cats is associated with experienced attack these animals, or even the possibility of such an attack — for example, if the person is impressed with the story about how a dog bit a friend.

Vertigo naturally — the brain receives information about the loss of control, and the person begins to feel helpless. This fear is associated with the instinct of self-preservation, but it is not the same: a defensive reaction in the form of fear occurs in realistically dangerous situations, for example on the edge of the abyss. But if you look down from the window of the twentieth floor, and at the same time afraid — you have acrophobia, because of the threat to life as such, no. However, effectively made the observation deck with a glass floor can cause a panic attack even for those who never noticed a fear of heights, is due to the fact that the brain receives contradictory information: the legs are stable, but the eyes see the yawning abyss.

The fear of intimate relationships are quite rare, but very complex fear, and in women it is usually associated with a painful first experience gynecological problems that cause discomfort, sexual violence, distrust of the partner, lack of confidence in my own body, and ingrained attitudes to sex as something shameful. Over time, the accumulated fears can escalate into a phobia. A way of dealing with the past depends on its causes — in case of pain or inflammatory diseases can not do without a gynecological examination.

Another common phobia — acrophobia, that is, fear of doctors, which is usually associated with experiencing an unpleasant episode, or simply sensibility as the result of someone else's horror stories. Don't go to the doctors — bad decision, so it is best to study the issue and find a doctor you trust; you can ask to the reception, the doctor explained exactly what will happen now — understanding helps not to be afraid.

Why with uncontrollable fear to fight

Knowing about his phobia, the person tries to avoid the trigger — for example, refuses to travel on the subway or constantly postpones a visit to the dentist that only worsens the quality of life. If a rational anxiety does not lead to serious consequences for the person and his lifestyle and passing on their own, it is pathological requires the assistance of specialists: a neurologist and a psychologist or therapist. In fact, phobia is the tip of the iceberg: anxiety disorder causes interference at different levels. And if he win, pleasant changes will occur in those areas of life where they did not expect.

He started having a panic attack can be easier to find support (wall or bench) and take a stable position. Then you need to tell yourself that the attack will end; can be repeated several times: "It is fear that will soon take place". Finally, it is necessary to focus on deep breathing (breathe better in the stomach): to breathe in on three or four seconds and exhale even more slowly — by about six seconds. This technique helps to cope with panic — and indeed, meditation and deep breathing is effective in any stressful situations.

If you are always scared and nervous for various reasons and the anxiety is maintained even when the successful outcome of events, do not delay your visit to a therapist or psychiatrist. Solve problems phobias such methods as psychoanalysis, cognitive-behavioral therapy or Gestalt therapy. If the fear is accompanied by palpitations, sweating, dizziness, treatment should begin with taking the medications prescribed by your therapist.