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By Peter Zapfella
All of us have something that may some-times frighten us or make us uneasy. In spite of this we can manage to carry on with our day-to-day activities
However, many people perhaps more than you suspect, experience very strong irrational and involuntary fear reactions. These cause them to avoid everyday places, social situations, animals or objects, even though they know logically there is no threat, and no danger. They know the fear reaction is illogical, but something deep down within something drives the fear.
For some, the fear reaction is so strong, and uncontrollable, they cannot function in normal, everyday situations.
When confronted with the feared situation, they may experience anxiety and a panic attack, the spontaneous onset of intense fearthat makes them feel as if they might stop breathing and pass out or have a heart attack and die.
Phobias can be defined as; persistent irrational fearsof specific objects or situations, with a strong desire to avoid the trigger and, in some cases, an inability to function at normal tasks and in certain social settings because of the fear and anxiety.
The American Psychiatric Association says that phobiasare more prevalent than depression andanxiety in the overall population. Somewhere between 10 to 20 per cent of people suffer from at least one significant phobia. Some individuals experience multiple phobias. It is the most common mental disorder among women and the second most common in men.
Typically, the severity of a phobia‘attack’differs from one individual to another. Some can simply avoid the ‘trigger’ that sparks their fear reaction, while others find that the level of fear is so over-powering, they cannot live a normal day-to-day life. Blood and physical injury related phobias may cause fainting in the sufferer.
The fear and anxiety symptoms can often be temporarily treated with drugs, such as the commonly prescribed benzodiazepines, which include Valium (diazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam) and Ativan (lorazepam). However, the side effects can cause severe problems, such as drowsiness and addiction. I have had clients come to me who have been prescribed these drugs by their doctors to ‘treat’ their phobia. They have found through years of suffering that these drug therapies only treat the symptoms, and not the cause. They are only coping mechanisms and never overcome the problem.
The risks of addiction to anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium is very real. No benzodiazepine medication can be considered safe for all people. It is important to review all of your medications with your prescribing doctor from time-to-time. It is never a good idea to quit any medication without first consulting a doctor.
There are three types of phobias. They are;
- Agoraphobia, a generalised fear about leaving a‘safe zone’and being exposed to some threat, such as large open spaces where there are few places to hide, social embarrassment (social agoraphobia), fear of contamination (fear of dirt and germs), or perhaps a fear triggered by a past trauma, that occurred out of doors.
- Social phobias, such as fear of other people, performance anxiety etc. Also known as social anxiety disorder,which is when a situation causes fear and worry.
- Specific phobias, fear of particular objects that immediately result in anxiety and can sometimes lead to panic attacks. such as irrational fear of spiders, snakes, dogs, water, blood, flying, heights, confined spaces etc. Specific phobia may be further subdivided into four categories: animal type, natural environment type, situational type, blood-injection-injury type.
Phobias vary in severity among individuals. Some can simply avoid the subject or ‘trigger’ of their fear, and they are fine. At the other end of the scale, others quickly and easily suffer full-fledged panic attacks, with all the associated disabling symptoms.
The criteria for the diagnosis of a specific phobia include:
- the persistent fear of an object or situation.
- exposure to the feared object or ‘trigger’ provokes an immediate and uncontrolled anxiety/fear response.
- adult sufferers understand the fear is excessive, unreasonable and irrational, but cannot stop it.
- exposure to ‘trigger’ situations are therefore avoided where possible, or are endured with feelings of dread.
- the fear reaction interferes with normal daily activities
- there can be no other cause for the fear, anxiety, avoidance behaviour and perhaps panic attacks, but the phobia.
The symptoms of a phobia fear/anxiety and associated panic may include;
- shortness of breath,
- rapid shallow breathing,
- irregular heartbeat,
- excessive sweating
- dry mouth,
- inability to articulate words or sentences,
- the fear reaction is either an uncontrollable ‘stand (as in freeze) and fight’ or ‘flight’ – run-away reaction.
The average age of onset of phobic symptoms is somewhere between ages 10 and 17. However, I have had many adult clients who have come to me with phobias which suddenly appeared for little or no apparent reason.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, if phobias are not treated, symptoms can worsen, over time, to the point where problems can occur with physical health, or sufferers may struggle to cope with relationships, school and work.
The 20 most common phobias, in no particular order are;
People with social phobia and anxiety may fear and excessively worry about appearing anxious, such as blushing, stuttering etc, or being thought of as stupid, awkward, or boring.
They fear the possibility, however remote of being watched or humiliated in front of others. Normal, everyday tasks such as eating a meal in public can trigger anxiety for some. According to the American Psychiatric Association social phobias often appear during puberty and can last throughout life, without treatment.
Social phobias can force people to avoid social situations, including school and work, which can have a major impact upon their potential. Public speaking is the most common form of social phobia.
Arachnophobia or arachnephobiais the fear of spiders and other arachnids, such as scorpions. The negative emotion of fear has been created by the deep unconscious mind to protect from threats and danger.
Obviously, people fear being bitten by spiders because they see them all as dangerous, however fear of online images, on television and as photos in books is irrational.
The phobia of spiders affects as many as 1 in every 3 women and 1 in every 4 men.
While only a handful of the 35,000 different spider species, are potentially dangerous to humans, people world-wide fear them.
Strangely, more people in New Zealand suffer from arachnophobia, where there are no dangerous spiders, than in South America where we find the massive and venomoustarantula spider and others. More people fear spiders in New Zealand where there are no harmful spiders than Thailand, where they eat them.
The prevalence of Arachnophobiais clearly not related to the threat, it really is irrational.
Ophidiophobiais the fear of snakes. About 1 in every 3 adults is ophidiophobic, which makes it the most common phobia of all.
The negative emotions of fear and worry have been created by the deep unconscious mind to protect from potential threats. Obviously, people fear being bitten or strangled by snakes, as they see them all as dangerous.
“I have twice stepped, bare-foot, upon a poisonous snake while walking. Neither managed to bite me. My sister has twice been taken to hospital after being bitten by poisonous snakes in her own garden. Neither of us is ophidiophobic.Yet the majority of ophidiophobia sufferers have had little or no direct experiences with snakes.”
The prevalence of this phobia is very common around the world, even in countries such as Ireland and New Zealand where there are no snakes at all. It is an irrational fear because some people fear all snakes, including images online and in print.
The word claustrophobia comes from the Latin word claustrum which means “a closed-in place,” and the Greek word, phobosmeaning “fear.”
People with claustrophobia will go to great lengths to avoid small spaces and situations that trigger their feelings of anxiety and fear. We often think of people who fear elevators, corridors and tunnels
I have had people tell me they feel these feelings when on a train or plane and the doors close. They feel trapped although they know it is illogical because a train or plane cannot leave the door open.
“Over the years I have seen many people with variations of this phobia. Some fear wearing tight clothing, others lifts (elevators), trains and planes with a closed door or windowless rooms. I have had clients who ask me to leave the door open while having their therapy, as they hate to be ‘inside’. From time-to-time I have had clients ask me to leave the door open because they feel unsafe. Of course, I respect their wishes.”
The fear of thunder and lightning is an irrational fear within the deep unconscious mind of a sufferer of astraphobia, astrapophobia, brontophobia, keraunophobia, tonitrophobia, or nicaduranaphobia.
The symptoms may include; extreme anxiety, dread and anything associated with panic such as shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, nausea, inability to articulate words or sentences, dry mouth and shaking, and a feeling to run-away, are very real for the sufferer because the unconscious mind has activated the instinctive fear reaction.
There are some reactions that are unique to the fear of thunder and lightning. They may include seeking reassurance from other people, while symptoms may worsen when alone. Many people who have astraphobia will look for extra shelter from the storm. They might hide underneath a bed, in a closet, or in a basement where they may feel safer.
While the logical and analytical conscious mind knows the thunder is not dangerous to humans, and lightning is unlikely to be dangerous when indoors, however the unconscious mind never-the-less reacts with fear and anxiety.
When people suffering from trypanophobia need an injection, they may experience feelings of extreme dread and elevated heart rate leading up to the procedure. Some people even pass out (vasovagal syncope) during the injection. Because these symptoms can be so distressing, people with this phobia sometimes avoid doctors, dentists, and other medical professionals even when they have some type of physical or dental ailment that needs attention.
Sufferers may avoid all inoculations, blood tests, and in the more severe cases, all medical care.
Needle phobia may be associated with other phobias. Estimates suggest that as many as 10 percent of people in the U.S. are affected by this type of phobia.
Fainting, vasovagal syncope, as a result of thereaction to a fear of injections can cause an initial increase in blood pressure, followed by a sudden drop, which can result in unconsciousness. This loss of consciousness is sometimes accompanied by convulsions, which can be fatal in some cases.
A related phobia is Aichmophobia, the morbid fear of sharp objects. These can be pencils, knives, a pointing finger, the end of an umbrella and various protruding or sharp edges including furniture and buildings.
Paruresis is the technical term for fear of public toilets, a social anxiety disorder that is found in people of all genders. This problem makes the sufferer uncomfortable to urinate in public restrooms, or where other people may see or hear the sufferer urinating.
The fear of public toilets is more intense and worrying for the sufferer than the common garden variety – shyness. It may be referred to as ‘pee shy’ or ‘bashful bladder’. Sufferers hesitate to travel far from home. They may avoid undertaking long journeys. They may also face problems in urinating within their own home, particularly if someone may be able to over-hear them.
“It may be just an occasional problem for some, a form of performance anxiety. While for others it becomes a challenge. At school I remember a friend was unable to urinate at a urinal when flanked by other boys. He would always wait, sometimes uncomfortably, for a stall to be vacated. Then he would wait until everyone had left the toilets before commencing to urinate. It must have been a self-inflicted torture for him. I saved him any further embarrassment by saying nothing,” said Peter Zapfella.
The term by Paruresis was first used by Williams and Degenhart (1954) in their paper “Paruresis: a survey of a disorder of micturition” in the Journal of General Psychology 51:19-29. They found 14.4 per cent of 1,419 college students surveyed experienced it.
The phobia of bowl movements in public is called parcopresis.
Dentophobia is fear of potential or real dental surgery. The fear and anxiety causes some people to avoid urgent dental work, and only makes their inevitable dental surgery experience even worse.
Just the thought of dental surgery is enough to strike fear into some people. Then there is the anxiety and sometimes panic for others. Avoidance of urgent dental work only makes their inevitable dental surgery worse.
The hemophobic or haemophobic reaction can be triggered by the sight of the blood of another person, an animal, and sometimes in printed images or video of blood.
The fear of blood may cause the sufferer to avoid activities that they associate with an increased risk of injury. They may be unable to participate in sport and other outdoor activities such as hiking, camping or running. They may avoid social situations, including fairs, carnival rides and other activities they might perceive as potentially dangerous.
In extreme situations they may fear leaving the perceived safety of their home, or parents.
It is often related to other phobias. Aichmophobia or belonephobia, the fear of medical needles, is often associated with hemophobia. A fear of blood may be associated with other phobia’s including; germs, doctors, dentists and surgery.
The physical reactions sometimes results invasovagal syncope (fainting). This is because the reaction to a fear of blood can cause an initial increase in blood pressure, followed by a sudden drop, which can result in fainting.
Acrophobia is the morbid fear of heights. It impacts millions of adults who fear to the point where they cannot do simple things. This fear can lead to anxiety attacks and avoidance of ladders, balconies and multi-level buildings. People who suffer from this phobia may go to great lengths to avoid other high places such as bridges and towers. It may be associated with the fear of flying too.
While it is common for people to have some degree of fear when encountering heights, a phobia involves a severe fear that can result in panic attacks and avoidance behaviours.
Aerophobia is the fear of flying. Around 1 out of every 3 people has some level of fear of flying. It affects an estimated 8 million U.S. adults despite the fact that airplane accidents x air miles is actually much safer than automotive travel. Aerophobia is an irrational fear.
The fear of flying sometimes causes people to avoid flying altogether. The phobia often has elements of or may actually be another phobia such as fear of confined spaces or fear of turbulence.
Cynophobia is the fear of dogs. It is often created by a past traumatic experience such as being attacked and perhaps bitten by a dog. Some estimates suggest that as many as 36 percent of people experience this phobia. Perhaps because dogs are so common place?
Cynophobia is an irrational and morbid fear that can force a sufferer to be unable to walk down a street because of barking dogs. This avoidance can impact the individual’s ability to function in their daily life and make it difficult to get to live normally outside of the safety of their home.
Agraphobia is the fear of wide open spaces, crowds (social anxiety), or travel.
Some people may start to avoid these triggers, sometimes to the point they cease leaving the perceived safety of their home entirely. Occasionally I visit phobic clients in their homes because they fear travelling to my clinic for treatment.
Approximately one-third of people with panic disorder develop agoraphobia. The disorder often begins as a spontaneous and unexpected panic attack, which then leads to anxiety over the possibility of another attack happening.
Agoraphobia usually reveals itself between the late teens and the mid-30s. The American Psychiatric Association reports that two-thirds of people with agoraphobia are women.
Mysophobia, verminophobia, germophobia, germaphobia, bacillophobia, bacteriophobia, or the fear of dirt and germs. It can lead people to engage in extreme, frenzied house cleaning, compulsive hand-washing, In some this phobia may be related to obsessive-compulsive disorder.
“I had a client come to me who washed her body and house every day in antiseptic solution. She slept in her car so she would not ‘infect’ her house with germs.”
Some avoid physical contact with other people because they fear becoming contaminated, some overuse disinfectants, some have an excessive preoccupation with news reports about diseases and infections. They may avoid places where they perceive germs to be present, such as hospitals, public transport, schools.
An irrational fear of frogs and toads is a specific phobia termed either ‘ranidaphobia’ or ‘batrachophobia’.
Most frogs and toads are absolutely safe to humans. They have more to fear from us than we have to fear from them. Frogs and toads have long been imbued in superstition. In some cultures, frogs and toads represent good fortune. Themoney toador fortune frog, called Chan Chuin Chinese, is a particularly powerful channel for the transference of good fortune. Romans believed the frog could bring good luck into one’s home.
I had a lady come to me to quit her phobia of frogs because she had just commenced a new job where they had many frogs hopping about. Her employers told her she must either except the frogs as part of her work environment or find another job. She successfully overcame her fear of frogs in just one painless therapy session.
Atychiphobia is the fear of failure. How many people suffer from this common phovia? Maybe all of us to some extent?
Have you feared failure so much you did not even try to succeed?
Or, perhaps you defeated your failed attempt? Now you can step forward knowing that everyone fails on the path toward success. Failure is only a failure when it is allowed to defeat you. It can be transmuted into a learning experience – knowledge of what does and does not work!
Ornithophobia is the irrational fear of birds, or their feathers, or their claws or their beaks. In ancient Greek the words ‘Ornitho’ translated into English as ‘bird’ and ‘phobos” in Greek means to ‘dread’ or to ‘fear’.
A person suffering from Ornithophobia may be afraid of all birds, or just a particular species of bird. For example, their phobia might only be based around domestic laying hens, or pigeons, or birds of prey, or parrots, etc.
Others specifically experience a fear reaction to bird feathers, beaks or claws. A person who has this morbid fear will usually avoid birds at all costs. They may become distressed when seeing photos of birds or could suffer a panic attack at the sight of a feather.
The irrational fear of rats and mice is a common specific phobia. It’s technical name is musophobia (from Greek μῦς “mouse”) or murophobia (from the taxonomic adjective for the family Muridae that encompasses rodents)
It may also include other rodents including squirrels, guinea pigs, hamsters, gophers, and gerbils.
While some people keep these animals as pets most people have a well-founded slight concern or slight fear of rats and mice because of their likelihood to consume and contaminate our food with their droppings. Wild rodents also carry various parasites and as many as 35 different diseases.
The fear of doctors is called Iatrophobia.
Tomophobiais a fear of surgery or surgical operations.
Pharmacophobiais a fear of medicine.
Nosocomephobiais the name of the phobia relating to the fear of hospitals.
Patients suffering from tomophobia, Iatrophobia,pharmacophobiaand nosocomephobiatend to put off going to the doctor, although they may be suffering pain and discomfort. Therefore, itpotentially has dangerous results.
The No Phone Phobia or Nomophobia is a relatively new phenomenon.
No Phone Phobia or Nomophobia is a very real fear for some people, perhaps more than you realised.
A 2008 study by the United Kingdom Post Office found that almost 53 per cent of mobile/cell phone users in Britain become anxious when they either;
- have a flat phone battery
- run out of available credit or load
- are out of range of a cell
- have no network coverage, or
- misplace or lose their mobile phone
- Others become anxious when they enter places where phone use is restricted or banned, such as hospitals, classrooms, and aircraft.
Those results were pre-smart phones, which are more feature packed than mobile/cell phones. They now incorporate SMS,internet connectivity, a mobile browser, the ability to sync more than one email account, embedded memory,a hardware or software-based QWERTY keyboardtouchscreen,wireless synchronization with other devices, such as laptop or desktop computers, Wi-Fi,digital camerawith video capability, gaming, unified messaging, GPS — global positioning system, applications, clock, alarm, calendar, contacts, calculator, games, access to social media, news and more.
“When I was regularly visiting off-shore oil rigs to conduct therapies mobile-cell phones were banned. The workers would be there for several weeks at a time. You can imagine the anxiety that ban caused some workers” said Peter Zapfella.
Sufferers of nomophobia or no phone phobia may be inclined to experience feelings of rejection, loneliness, insecurity, and low self-esteem because they are looking for reassurance through their phone. Or, they may have an extroverted personality and naturally use their mobile phone to excess. Others may have an existing social phobia or social anxiety disorder, or social anxiety, and panic attack disorders and depend upon their phone to avoid face-to-face communications.
While I have listed the 20 most common phobias here, there are countless potential phobic reactions. I have created an evolving and growing list athttps://peterzapfella.com/2018/08/the-phobia-list/If you do not see your phobia listed please let us know at https://peterzapfella.com/quit-phobias/
Some old out-dated treatments of phobias were called ‘desensitisation’. The method most often practiced by psychologists, involved exposing the sufferer to the object of their fear over and over again..
Abreaction is defined as ‘the expression and consequent release of a previously repressed emotion, achieved through reliving the experience that caused it’. Abreactions are strong, often disturbing emotional and even physical reactions to something being re-experienced from the past, as if real.
Unfortunately, an abreaction can re-traumatize a sufferer rather than achieve the desired healing. This approach usually caused abreactionsmore than cures.
Psychoanalyst Carl Jung expressed interest in abreactions as a possible way to purge trauma, but later decided it had serious limitations. Sigmund Freud and Josef Breuer used hypnosis to assist patients to recall and relive traumatic experiences from their past, which had been repressed by the unconscious for protection. Freud abandoned this therapy approach. Science fiction writer and founder of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard had observed abreactive therapy while in a Navy hospital during World War Two. He subsequently wrote about it in his book Dianetics, claiming it as his own. Scientology still advocate it’s use 70 years after he first wrote about it.
Some psychologists are experimenting with technology, such as virtual reality (VR) goggles, to create so-called ‘cyber desensitisation’. However, they persist in causing abreactions in a ‘safe environment’. The theory is that the conscious logical mind will know and understand the cyber experience is not real and threatening, while the deep unconscious will abreact, and perhaps discover a ‘cure’ for itself. This method has not yet been proven to be successful in any more than a handful of cases.
Hypnotherapy and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) therapies are age regression and progression techniques, which have proven themselves very effective. Peter Zapfella has successfully utilized this approach with thousands of clients for more than two decades. The success rate is almost 100 per cent, without abreactions.
A skilled hypnotherapist will almost always use an age regression technique to guide your deep unconscious to revisit the past event where the presenting problem was established. Usually from a ‘safe distance’ as an observer. There he or she guides your unconscious to ‘heal’ the phobia at its source. This is usually only possible in face-to-face consultations, although Peter Zapfella has been successfully using one-on-one online Skype therapy (see www.Skypetherapy.pro) with clients from around the world, for more than a decade.
You need never suffer from the debilitating effects of a phobia and the associated anxiety and panic again. There is a better way.
Peter Zapfella has created a range of advanced hypnosis treatments, using Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Emotional Alignment Technique available world-wide via Skype and FaceTimeto overcome the root cause of irrational fears, so you can quit phobias forever!
‘Welcome’ positive subliminal affirmations (Click here) are ‘obscured’ from the analytical conscious mind within masking foreground sounds to prevent conscious logical thinking. Meanwhile they inspire and influence your deep unconscious mind following therapy with Peter Zapfella. The more the ‘Welcome’ messages are repeated, the more they are uncritically accepted as a new truth by your deep unconscious as a new truth.
Pre-recorded MP3 download hypnotherapy products incorporating age regression are usually impractical. Hypnosis Downloads found on the Internet are usually nothing more than hypnotic inductions followed by positive affirmations. They are not ‘therapies’ at all.