A phobia is a fear brought on by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation – some common phobias are flying, heights, animals, seeing blood, having an injection. When the feared object or situation is encountered, it provokes an immediate anxiety response that might feel like a panic attack.
A panic attack is a sudden rush of physical symptoms that reaches a peak within fewer than 10 minutes. The physical symptoms include: breathlessness, palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, trembling, sweating, dry mouth, nausea, feeling unreal, numbness or tingling (especially in the lips or fingers) chills or hot flushes, a choking sensation.
People with phobias tend to avoid the objects and situations that trigger this anxious response, or if they cannot avoid the situation then they might endure it with intense anxiety or distress. If the avoidance, anxious anticipation or distress about the feared situation interferes significantly with your normal routine of work, study or socializing then you may need to seek professional help.
Phobias are common and anyone can develop them. Often they start in childhood following a distressing experience, although you can develop them at any age. Sometimes children may learn to be afraid of something that a parent is afraid of. The good news is that help is available.
Everyone has some fears about particular situations but people with specific phobias think that their feared object or situation is more dangerous than it really is. It is this perception of danger that leads to anxiety. Cognitive Bhevioural Therapy can help you to put your fears in perspective so that they no longer interfere with your daily life.
We offer help to deal with a range of issues including:
If you need urgent help and are worried that you can’t keep yourself safe, City and Hackney has a 24-hour Crisis helpline on 0800 073 0006 or you can get help at your local Accident and Emergency department.