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Phobias

 

Websites

Leaflets

Resources in Swindon

If you would like to discuss how counselling might help you please contact Andrew

www.andrewcornick.co.uk

Tel:      01793 710252

Mobile: 07732 570346

Please email me

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Phobias

A phobia is strong fear or dread of a thing or event, which is out of proportion to the reality of the situation. The most effective treatment is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Antidepressant medication also helps in many cases.

 

What are the symptoms of phobia?

If you come near to, or in contact with, the feared situation you become anxious or distressed. In addition you may also have one or more unpleasant physical symptoms. For example: a fast heart rate, palpitations, feeling sick, shaking (tremor), sweating, dry mouth, chest pain, a 'knot in the stomach', fast breathing. The physical symptoms are partly caused by the brain which sends lots of messages down nerves to various parts of the body when you are anxious. In addition, you release stress hormones (such as adrenaline) into the bloodstream when you are anxious. These can also act on the heart, muscles and other parts of the body to cause symptoms. You may even become anxious by just thinking of the feared situation. You end up avoiding the feared situation as much as possible, which can restrict your life and cause suffering.

 

Different types of phobia

 

Social phobia is possibly the most common phobia. With social phobia you become very anxious about what other people may think of you, or how they may judge you. Therefore, you fear meeting people, or 'performing' in front of other people, especially strangers. You fear that you will act in an embarrassing or humiliating way, and that other people will think that you are stupid, inadequate, weak, foolish, crazy, etc. You avoid such situations as much as possible.

Agoraphobia is also common. Many people think that agoraphobia means a fear of public places and open spaces. But this is just part of it. If you have agoraphobia you tend to have a number of fears of various places and situations. For example, you may have a fear of:

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Entering shops, crowds, and public places.

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Travelling in trains, buses, or planes.

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Being on a bridge or in a lift.

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Being in a cinema, restaurant, etc, where there is no easy exit.

But they all stem from one underlying fear. That is, a fear of being in a place where help will not be available, or where you feel it may be difficult to escape to a safe place (usually to your home). When you are in a feared place you become anxious and distressed, and have an intense desire to get out. Therefore, to avoid this anxiety many people with agoraphobia stay inside their home for most or all of the time.

Other specific phobias

There are many other phobias of a specific thing or situation. For example:

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Fear of confined spaces or of being trapped - Claustrophobia

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Fear of certain animals

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Fear of injections or needles - Belonephobia

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Fear of vomiting - Emetophobia

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Fear of the dentist -

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Fear of flying - Aerophobia

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Fear of urinating in public - Paruresis

You will find websites dedicated to many of these specific phobias in the website section below.

 

What is the treatment for phobias?

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helps you to change certain ways that you think, feel and behave. It is a useful treatment for various mental health problems, including phobias.

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Cognitive therapy is based on the idea that certain ways of thinking can trigger, or fuel, certain mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and phobias. The therapist helps you to understand your current thought patterns. In particular, to identify any harmful, unhelpful, and false ideas or attitudes which you have that can make you anxious. The aim is then to change your ways of thinking to avoid these ideas. Also, to help your thought patterns to be more realistic and helpful.

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Behavioural therapy aims to change any behaviours which are harmful or not helpful. For example, with phobias your response to the feared object (anxiety and avoidance) is not helpful. The therapist helps you to change this. Various techniques are used, depending on the condition and circumstances. For example, for agoraphobia the therapist will usually help you to face up to feared situations, a little bit at a time. A first step may be to go for a very short walk from your home with the therapist who gives support and advice. Over time, a longer walk may be possible, and then a walk to the shops, then a trip on a bus, etc. The therapist may teach you how to control anxiety when you face up to the feared situations and places. For example, by using deep breathing exercises. This technique of behavioural therapy is called exposure therapy where you are exposed more and more to feared situations, and learn how to cope.

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Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a mixture of the two where you may benefit from changing both thoughts and behaviours. CBT is usually done in weekly sessions of about 50 minutes each, for several weeks. You have to take an active part, and are given homework between sessions. For example, you may be asked to keep a diary of your thoughts which occur when you become anxious. Note: unlike other forms of talking treatments (psychotherapy), CBT does not look into the events of the past. CBT aims to deal with your current thought processes and/or behaviours, and helps to change them where appropriate. CBT usually works well to treat most phobias, but does not suit everyone.

If you would like to discuss any of the mental health issues raised on this page or find out how counselling might help please contact me.

Websites

Triumph Over Phobia (TOP UK)

Triumph Over Phobia (TOP UK) is a UK registered charity which aims to help sufferers of phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder and other related anxiety to overcome their fears and become ex-sufferers. We do this by running a network of self-help therapy groups.  Groups meet weekly and are structured, warm and supportive.

www.topuk.org

 

Emetonline

Good resource site to help sufferers and their families with  emetophobia, a fear of vomiting.

http://www.emetonline.co.uk/

 

Needlephobia.co.uk

Needlephobia's correct name is belonephobia. It can be defined as a fear of sharp objects such as pins or needles. This website, run by Smith & Nephew, includes information for the general public and professionals affected by this issue with regard to healthcare

www.needlephobia.co.uk

 

United Kingdom Paruresis Trust

A UK Charity dedicated to helping men and women for whom urinating in the presence or vicinity of other people, is difficult or impossible, and dealing with the problems this brings about.

http://www.ukpt.org.uk/

 

Fear Free Flying

One of many excellent websites dedicated to overcoming a fear of flying

http://www.fearfreeflying.co.uk/

 

Dental Phobia

Dental Phobia  provides you with the latest information on how to overcome your fear of the dentist. We have a panel of experts who have a great deal of experience of dealing with phobic patients or people who are quite simply frightened of the dentist or the dental experience

http://www.dentalphobia.co.uk/

 

Social Anxiety UK

This site aims to provide a starting point for people finding out about social anxiety and related issues. It also acts as a central hub for the community of those with social anxiety problems in the UK

http://www.social-anxiety.org.uk/

 

Another excellent resource is https://onlinesocialwork.case.edu/understanding-social-anxiety-disorder/

Thank you to M for suggesting it.

 

Anxiety UK

Anxiety UK is a national registered charity formed 40 years ago by a sufferer of agoraphobia for those affected by anxiety disorders. There are specific pages of information covering all the main phobias mentioned on this website

http://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/about-anxiety/anxiety-disorders/

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Leaflets

In this section you will find a selection of leaflets you can download or print.

Leaflet from Royal College of Psychiatrists

Phobia leaflet from MoodJuice

Social Phobia leaflet from MoodJuice

 

Local Resources in Swindon

Swindon Samaritans

Swindon and District Samaritans has been offering emotional support to those in crisis for more than 40 years. You can call or email 24hrs a day.

http://www.samaritans.org/swindon/

 

Swindon MIND

Local branch of the national charity providing support, resources and drop-in sessions.

http://www.swindonmind.org/

 

 

This information was put together by Swindon Counsellor and Psychotherapist Andrew Cornick. If you would like to find out how counselling might help you please contact me at any time.

www.andrewcornick.co.uk

Tel:      01793 710252

Mobile: 07732 570346

Please email me

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