What Are The Treatments For Phobia ?

Phobia can be described as anxiety and fear of something or some situation even when there is no danger. Some common phobias include fear of heights, claustrophobic places, some insects and animals, injections, elevators, escalators etc. Phobias can develop over a period of time, either in childhood or adulthood. Since phobias are involuntary reactions of the mind, they are difficult to control. It is important to know and understand the phobia in order to overcome it. A detailed investigation of the symptoms and the reasons for the Phobia will help in understanding and treating it.

Symptoms of Phobia can be classified as physical and emotional.

Physical Symptoms:

 

  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, faint
  • Churning stomach, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhoea

 

  • Hot or cold flushes
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sweating profusely
  • A pounding heart; palpitation increase
  • Choking/ shortness of breath

Emotional Symptoms:

  • Tremendous pain and anxiety
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of death
  • Feeling the need to escape

When intense fear and anxiety lasts for more than six months and interferes with the normal routine of the person affected, it is time to seek professional help. A renowned psychiatrist in Pune suggests that treatment of Phobias can be many. Listed below are some of them.

Self-Help Strategy:

A self-help strategy can involve lifestyle changes, attending a self-help group, using exposure therapy to overcome fear as well as a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Regular exercise; regular and healthy meals along with enough sleep keeps the body and mind fresh and helps in reducing panic attacks. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants.

Exposure therapy involves gradually increasing the time of exposure to the phobia. For example, if you have the fear of dogs, you can start by seeing pictures of dogs, then slowly stand 10metres away from a leashed puppy, gradually increase the duration and the proximity to the animal till you can be comfortable standing next to it.

Self-help groups help in sharing experiences with others with similar phobias.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT):

This type of therapy involves counselling to change your thoughts and behaviour. It helps in developing practical skills to manage phobia. CBT should be used along with Exposure therapy and other different techniques. Repeated experiences of fear, as part of the therapy, helps in controlling it better each time. It is important to manage and understand the way the treatment works before going for it as it may cause stress and anxiety.

Medication: Antidepressants such as Paroxetine, Citalopram and Escitalopram are the most commonly prescribed drugs. All medicines take several weeks to show effect and come with their share of side-effects. Side-effects may include sleep disorders, further anxiety and addiction to the particular drug. Beta-blockers such as propranolol are prescribed in order to reduce palpitations, shiver and increased heartbeat. Tranquillisers such as Diazepam are prescribed in case of severe anxiety.

Some patients are also advised hypnotherapy in order to treat their Phobia. It is important to have the determination to get rid of the Phobia as this will lead to quicker and successful result of the therapies that is prescribed.

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