Fear of the Dentist – Is “Dental Phobia” a Misnomer?

What is dental phobia?

A “phobia” is traditionally defined as “an irrational severe fear that leads to avoidance of the feared situation, object or activity” (however, the Greek word “phobia” simply means fear). Exposure to the feared stimulus provokes an immediate anxiety response, which may take the form of a panic attack. The phobia causes a lot of distress, and affects on other aspects of the individual's life, not just their oral health. Dental phobics will spend an awful lot of time thinking about their teeth or dentists or dental situations, or else spend a lot of time trying not to think of teeth or dentists or dental situations.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) describes dental phobia as a “marked and persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable”. It also asserts that the person recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable. However, in recent times, there has been a realization that the term “dental phobia” may be a misnomer.

The difference between anxiety, fear and phobia

The terms anxiety, fear and phobia are often used interchangeably; however, there are marked differences.

Dental anxiety is a reaction to an unknown danger. Anxiety is extremely common, and most people experience some degree of dental anxiety especially if they are about to have something done which they have never experienced before. Basically, it's a fear of the unknown.

Dental fear is a reaction to a known danger (“I know what the dentist is going to do, was there, done that – I'm scared!”), Which involves a fight-flight-or-freeze response when confronted with the throating stimulus.

Dental phobia is basically the same as fear, only much stronger (“I know what happens when I go to the dentist – there is no way I'm going back if I can help it.” I'm so terrified I feel sick “) . Also, the fight – flight-or-freeze response occurs when just thinking about or being reminded of the threatening situation. Someone with a dental phobia will avoid dental care at all costs until either a physical problem or the psychological burden of the phobia becomes overwhelming.

What are the most common causes of dental phobia?

  • Bad experiences: Dental phobia is most often caused by bad, or in some cases very traumatising, dental experiences (studies suggest that this is true for about 80 -85% of dental phobias, but there are difficulties with obtaining representative samples). This not only includes painful dental visits, but also psychological factors such as being humiliated by a dentist.
  • Dentist's behavior: It is often thought, even among dental professionals, that it is the fear of pain that keeps people from seeing a dentist. But even where pain is the person's major concern, it is not pain itself that is necessarily the problem. Otherwise, dental phobics would not avoid the dentist even when in pain from toothache. Rather, it is pain infected by a dentist who is perceived as cold and controlling that has a huge psychological impact. Pain inflicted by a dentist who is perceived as caring and who treats their patient as an equal is much less likely to result in psychological trauma. Many people with dental phobia report that they feel they would have no control over “what is done to them” once they are in the dental chair.
  • Fear of humiliation and embarrassment: Other causes of dental phobia include insensitive, humiliating remarks by a dentist or hygienist. In fact, insensitive observations and the intense feelings of humiliation that provoke are one of the main factors which can cause or contribute to a dental phobia. Human beings are social animals, and negative social evaluation will upset most people, apart from the most thick-skinned individuals. If you're the sensitive type, negative evaluation can be shattering.
  • A history of abuse: Dental phobia is also common in people who have been sexually abused, particularly in childhood. A history of bullying or having been physically or emotionally abused by a person in authority may also contribute to developing dental phobia, especially in combination with bad experiences with dentists.
  • Vicarious learning: Another cause (which judging by our forum appears to be less common) is observational learning. If a parent or other caregiver is scared of dentists, children may pick up on this and learn to be scared as well, even in the absence of bad experiences. Also, hearing other people's horror stories about painful visits to the dentist can have a similar effect – as can children's movies such as “Horton Hears a Who!” which portray dental visits in a negative light.
  • Preparedness: Some subtypes of dental phobia may indeed be defined as “irrational” in the traditional sense. People may be inherently “prepared” to learn certain phobias, such as needle phobia. For millions of years people who quickly learned to avoid snakes, heights, and lightning probably had a good chance to survive and to transmit their genes. So it may not take a particularly painful encounter with a needle to develop a phobia.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress: Research suggests that people who have had horrific dental experiences (unsurprisingly) suffer from symptoms typically reported by people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is characterized by intrusive thoughts of the bad experience and nightmares about dentists or dental situations.

This last reason is extremely important. Most individuals with dental phobia have had previous aversive or even highly traumatising dental experiences. They do not view their symptoms as “excessive” or “unreasonable”, and in that sense resemblance individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder. True, innate dental phobias, such as an “irrational” fear at the sight of blood or a syringe, probably account for a smaller percentage of cases.

The impact of dental phobia on daily life

Dental phobia can have wide-ranging consequences on a person's life. Not only does their dental health suffer, but dental phobia may lead to anxiety and depression. Depending on how obvious the damage is, the individual may avoid meeting people, even close friends, due to embarrassment over their teeth, or not be able to take on jobs which involve contact with the public. Loss of self-esteem over not being able to do something as “simple” as going to a dentist and intents feelings of guilt over not having looked after one's teeth properly are also very common. Dental phobia sufferers may also avoid doctors for fear that they might want to have a look at their tongue or throat and suggest that a visit to a dentist might not go amiss.

What should you do if you suffer with dental phobia?

The first and most important thing to realize is that you are not alone! The most conservative estimates reckon that 5% of people in Western countries avoid dentists altogether due to fear. And many more are anxious about certain aspects of dentistry. Today, it has become much easier to find support via web-based support groups, such as Dental Fear Central's Dental Phobia Support Forum . You are not alone, and you may find that sharing your experiences with people who really understand what you are going through helps. Most dental phobics who have overcome their fears or who are now able to have dental treatment will say that finding the right dentist – someone who is kind, caring, and gentle – has made all the difference.

It takes a lot of courage to take that first step and look up information about your biggest fear – but it will be worth it if the end result could be a life free from dental phobia!

{ Comments are closed }

Shy Bladder Syndrome – The Secret Social Phobia

Imagine the inability to go to the bathroom in public. Your friends want you to go to the football game, you can not. Your wife wants you to take her to the July 4th concert in the park that has 4 bands playing and you can not. The worse part is you are probably ashamed to even tell them why, you just do not go and they take it as you do not want to spend time with them as they are just terrified to go to the bathroom in a public restaurant and that you are suffering from shy bladder syndrome.

Shy bladder syndrome or paruresis has its hold on over 17 million Americans. Many are amused and ridicule those that have it, not realizing how horrificing and stressful that this condition can be to those that suffer from it. What most people who do not suffer from this do not realize is that Shy Bladder Syndrome is usually poorly drawn in some horrific experience at a very young age.

This phobia has been linked to both traumatic experiences that were a part of emotional, sexual or physical abuse and also to experiences that they had while they were toilet training. While the abuse part makes perfect sense, the toilet training usually raises some eyebrows.

We have all been around a child at one time or another who has wet themselves in public or possibly not properly themselves properly when they are first going on their own. How this situation is handled by those around them can be very influential on the reminder of their lives. Imagine being the child that is teased and gets a nickname bases on their bathroom issues as a child. Do you not think that that would have some affect on them down the road fearing public humiliation? Worse yet, imagine going to the bathroom in public and not cleaning yourself properly or having wet stains on the front of your pants only to be pointed at and laughed at. That person may never go to the bathroom in a public space again for fear of embarrassment.

You may not suffer from shy bladder syndrome, but you can definitely see how debilitating it can be and how it can limit your enjoyment of life. Remember this the next time you or someone else begins to make fun of that child that is having some challenges. Be helpful instead of critical because you just do not know how it will affect their lives down the road.

{ Comments are closed }

7 Bizarre Phobias to Fear

We all have fears, whether it's a child fearing the boogey man (bogyphobia) or even fear of the number 13 (triskadekaphobia). Certainly fears are crippling to the person with the phobia; however, there are also some potential crippling fears that could have stopped someone in their tracks on a daily basis.

7. Stasibasiphobia

Most people might think that couch potatoes have this fear of standing up and walking. It's not true; most couch potatoes are just adverse to the idea. However, a person with stasibasiphobia could very well never get anything done in life, unless he was bound to a wheelchair. But what happens if that person is afraid of someone else standing up and walking? Does that mean the phobic must live in isolation in a sitting position for the rest of his life? What a drag!

6. Domatophobia

Most Americans want four walls, three meals a day and a bed to sleep on. Unfortunately, most of those things are on this list as crippling phobias including domatophobia, fear of houses or being in a house. The only logical cure to this phobia would be to live in a cave or some other natural enclosure without the fear does not extend to apartments or condos. Either way, that's a portion of the American Dream dashed.

5. Nyctophobia and Photophobia

For these two fears, they are sides of the same coins like a Yin-Yang symbol – literally. Nyctophobia is the fear of night or darkness, while photophobia is the fear of light. Perhaps the only way to handle these fears is sleeping through the night or through the day, then again turning on all your lights might help a phobic handle the fear of darkness, not necessarily the electricity bill. On the flip side, a photobook would have to live in the dark for the rest of his life – talk about being white as a sheet.

4. Anthropophobia and Lalophobia

Like No. 6 on our list, these fears could potentially isolate the phobic for life. Anthropophobia is a fear of people while lalophobia is the fear of speaking. Maybe the hermit with domatophobia should get together with the anthropophobic. Nope, that would not work, because the hermit is still a person. And do not forget that never being able to speak or be around another person certainly would not do well for social skills.

3. Urophobia

From here on out, this list becomes phobias of functions that humans must do to survive. And that means that the phobias, such as urophobia or the fear of urination, would put a cramp on anyone's life style. A catheter might be a stop gap measure as long as someone else would agree to change the phobic's bag. Either way, everyone has to release bodily waste and this fear could make bathrooms a very unpleasant experience no matter where the phobic is.

2. Somniphobia and Clinophobia

While you do not needlessly have to be clinophobic to be somniphobic, it does not really matter once you realize that going to sleep is never an option anymore! A person with somniphobia fears sleep while a person suffering from clinophobia fears beds. I'm sure a clinophobic could just sleep standing up. However, humans need the REM cycles of sleep to help digest their everyday thoughts and activities. Without sleep, a person could, potentially, slowly go insane due to fatigue and too many screws loose in the noggin. We all have nightmares, but can you imagine having a waking nightmare about going to sleep?

1. Anemophobia

Catch your breath, especially if you have anemophobia, the fear of air. A person could have scared every moment of her life. Sure eating, sleeping and all the other fears on this list could cripple people on a daily basis, but not potentially for every moment of your waking life. There are a number of methods to counter phobias, all of which seem like they would fail miserably contingent on how paralyzed a phobic is of air. Outside of living in a bubble with a controlled atmosphere, nothing comes to mind to counter such a phobia. Even a little fresh air to help cleanse the mind would not help in this case.

{ Comments are closed }

Bridge Phobia – How to Overcome Your Fear of Bridges

Bridges are useful things, allowing us to cross rivers without swimming or waiting for a ferry, swooping over deep valleys or just linking a group of islands together. But what happens if you've developed a bridge phobia? What can you do to overcome your fear of bridges?

If you're lucky, you may find that having someone drive across the bridge with you will work. There is a “safety in numbers” and if your phobia is mild enough, this may be enough to help you either get over your phobia or at least suppress it enough to allow you to cross a bridge instead of taking a ten mile detour.

If that does not work, the next step is to talk about your fear. Find someone who is willing to listen to you without accusing you of just being silly. A good listener will know that their job is to mainly listen to you but also to ask the occasional question to tip the balance away from your fear and help you to rationalize it yourself. The good news is that if you can do this, you do not need to get your fear down to zero. Getting it half way down your personal fear scale will be enough allow you to flush it away.

The final step is to seek out professional help. Your doctor may be able to help but personally I'd recommend an experienced person like a therapist or, better still and probably cheaper, a hypnotist. They'll work with you over a few weeks to reduce your fear of bridges and let your bridge phobia gradually melt away.

{ Comments are closed }

Agoraphobia and Social Phobia – What’s the Difference?

What's the difference between agoraphobia and social phobia?

I get this question all the time. That's because the two disorders have some similarities that can make them hard to distinguish from one another. For example, both the agoraphobic and the social phobic are afraid to be in public settings. Both develop a similar pattern of avoidance behavior. Both experience similar physical symptoms associated with panic and anxiety. And since both are classified as phobias, both conditions can be successfully treated with a program of cognitive-behavioral therapy.

So what are the differences between these two conditions? How can you tell them apart?

The main difference between agoraphobia and social phobia can be found in the nature of the fear causing the avoidance behavior. People with social phobia are afraid of social settings that involve groups of people or crowds.

The fears of people with social phobia include the presence of or interaction with other people. For example, a person with social phobia would feel safe walking alone in the forest on a secluded beach.

Agoraphobia, on the other hand, is the fear of open and public spaces, in the presence or absence of other people. People with agoraphobia typically avoid crowds or social situations because they fear having a panic attack and embarrassing themselves.

But people with agoraphobia, unlike those with social phobia, would also be afraid to walk alone in a forest or on a secluded beach because no one would be around to help if they had a panic attack or medical emergency.

But the good news is, you can completely recover from agoraphobia.

{ Comments are closed }

Treatment of Phobias That Will Help to End Your Phobia Fear

Treatment of phobias is very important if this is something you are dealing with on a daily basis. There are many different treatment options available, so you do not need to close yourself off to anything. The best part is you do not have to live with this fear forever.

It's important to understand that most phobias do not just “go away.” Some kind of treatment is generally necessary. That does not mean everyone will need medications or expensive psychological treatments, but you do need to take action in order to get rid of the fear.

If you visit your doctor they might suggest that you use certain medicines. You can use beta blockers, antidepressants, or sedatives depending on what your doctor thinks is best. These medications all have different effects and side effects, which is why you absolutely need to be under a doctor's care to use them. These are serious drugs!

Another option is to seek behavioral therapy. Desensitization therapies, such as flooding, are not easy at first, but they are excellent at helping you get rid of your phobia. Another option is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, where your therapist will help you view your situation differently by changing your mindset.

There are also several online programs that can help you to acquaint your phobia and they can usually be done comfortably from your own home. These are perfect for people with less time or those who are uncomfortable in group type sessions.

There are even things you can do on your own as part of self-treatment to speed your healing. This is a great thing because coming at your phobia from all angles will help to ensure that it is banished forever. You do not want to live your life in fear. That's why treatment of phobias is absolutely essential to help you take your life back – starting today!

{ Comments are closed }

Don’t Let Phobia of Driving Interrupt Your Life

Do you have a phobia of driving? If so, you're definitely not alone. There are many people who have this fear. It can certainly hold you back and make it difficult or impossible for you to drive (even ride!) To the places you need want to go. That's why getting rid of your phobia will be one of the best decisions you ever make.

This phobia can show up as:

  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Nervousness
  • Illness
  • Anger

There are many different degrees of this phobia well. Some people simply can not sit in a car at all. Other people are fine if they are not driving, and still others are only fine if they are driving. Think about your particular case, because it can definitely help you get over your phobia.

For example, do you feel okay if you are driving in familiar territory? If so, then your phobia might also be related to a fear of unknown places. Knowing that you should pinpoint this as well can certainly help you when you're in the treatment stage. If you are scared to even sit in a car it might be best for you to seek professional help. This fear is holding you back in many different ways, and it's impossible to live your life this way.

Once you have identified your biggest problem in a car, then you can take steps to face this fear head on.

Getting over the phobia of driving will change your life. You do not have to live with the anxiety, panic attacks, or nervousness that come about as a result of this fear. You can sit in a car, drive, and feel normal again. It's important!

{ Comments are closed }

All About Social Phobia – 4 Essential Facts

If you're trying to find out more about social phobia, you'll find the following 4 facts to be useful:

1. Social phobia is known by a few other names. You may hear it referred to as social anxiety, social anxiety disorder, and SAD. The important thing to remember is that all these different terms actually mean the same thing.

2. Despite all of the above names meaning the same thing, and their use all being acceptable, there is one set of terms that is not accurate, and should not be confused with social phobia. And that term is “shyness.”

Many people wrongly assume that all forms of social anxiety are based on shyness, but that's not the case. There are many people who are shy who do not have social anxiety disorder. Likewise, there are many people with social phobia who are not shy at all.

They are different things completely.

3. Social phobia is actually the third most common psychiatric disorder, beaten only by depression and alcohol dependence. In fact, during the average lifetime, each person has a 13.3 percent chance of developing social anxiety disorder. That works out to be tens of millions of people all around the world.

4. If you have social phobia, then there are other psychological conditions that you are more likely to also develop. The most common one of these is depression, but there is also an increased chance of developing generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse.

One of the best ways to deal with a condition like this is to learn as much as you can about it. So hopefully this has given you a new insight and will allow you to better understand your own situation.

If you would like to learn even more about social phobia, there are many good books and some excellent free websites devoted to the subject. A Google search should give you lots to digest.

{ Comments are closed }

Phobias – What Are They and How to Control Them

Managing Different Kinds of Phobia

Everybody fears something, the only difference is that some people are aware of it and others are not. And while many people share specific fears with majority of the population, there are still a few what fears are exhibited by marginalized community. This is phobia and while some people regard it as a disorder, some agree that it is nothing but a psychological flaw in every man's brain.

Not all phobias are the same. Experts categorizes phobia into different groups. But needless to say what a man's phobia can simply be another man's favorite thing. The fact that there are people who will freeze to death and there are some who will grow wild in excitement once they are in heights tells us that there is more to phobias than fears, screams and emotional imbalance.

Phobias know no age. You can be a kid and be afraid of spiders and you can be old and be afraid of the same thing. While it is a fact that children exhibit phobias when they are at the ages of 5 to 9, there are phobias which will only manifest late in adulthood.
Experts explain that phobia is an uncontrollable, intense, irrational and constant fear of something that poses little or no danger at all. And since there are literally hundred different kinds of phobias (new are even being discovered as time goes by) this article will only focus on explaining the most common phobia types.

Medically speaking, phobia is an emotional disorder rather than a psychological disorder. The patient needs a very strong interaction between a series of biological and environmental factors for a phobia to appear. These factors include traumatic experiences, discrepancies and unpleasant situations that usually become part of a person's memory. These memories result into fear.

While this disorder can not be treated with medicine or operations, there are ways for a person to actually overcharge his or her phobia. The most commonly used phobia treatment involves a series of cognitive behavior therapies. Generally termed as psychotherapy, it typically puts the patient affront his or her fears. The progressive exposure of the patient, as assistant by psychiatrist will allow the patient to develop skills that will later allow him or her to adapt to the fear – extremely removing discomfort later on defeating the phobia.

The other type of treatment involves medication. Medicines are prescribed by the doctor to aid the phobic patient to control his or her emotions when facing the cause of his or her phobia.

Psychologists categorize phobia into three classes.

Social phobia is a generic term describing the intense fear of an individual to be humiliated in a social gatherings and public places. To avoid this humiliation, they fear seeing a group of people or general population. They often left with a few friends or none at all.

The next type of phobia is called agoraphobia – or fear of crowded places. People with this kind of fear will find it hard to stay in public places like parks and other areas where there are a noticeable number of people such as halls, stadium and church.

The last kind of phobia called specific phobia refer to fear associated with specific people, situations, animals and environments. Common phobias of this type include fear of flying (aerophobia), fear of heights (acrophobia); fear of dead (necrophobia), fear of spiders (arachnophobia) and many others.

{ Comments are closed }

Shyness Or Social Phobia?

A few years ago, an Administrative Assistant at the mental health clinic opened a large box of books and resources that I had ordered. Everything inside was designated to my attention and the title of each item either had the word “Shyness” or “Social Phobia”. With a shocked expression she turned to a co-worker and said “What on earth is Hancock doing?” The other lady wisely replied “Think about it.

She was correct! I had been assigned to work with a number of clients who were experiencing difficulties in social settings and I did not really have a clue about where to start. As a result, I decided to begin a study of the topic and actually spent a year in the process.

The first thing that I learned is that using the term “shyness” implies a helplessness that can not be resolved whereas using the term “social phobia” offers the hope that comes with learning strategies to improve.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV-TR) outlines the criteria which would assist professionals in diagnosing Social Phobia including:
a) marked and persistent fear of one or more social and performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others. The person fears acting in a humiliating or embarrassing manner.
b) Exposure to the social situation provokes anxiety or may have a Panic Attack.
c) The individual recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable.
d) The situation is avoided or endured with intense anxiety or distress.
e) Avoidance, anxious anticipation or distress interferes significantly with the individual's routine, functioning, activities or relationships.
f) Duration is at least 6 months in individuals under 18 years of age.
g) The fear or avoidance is not due to substances or medical conditions or another mental disorder.

Social phobias often begin with adolescents who are afraid of scrutiny by other people. They therefore avoid social situations. Fear of criticism and low self-esteem may also be present.

Often the person who experiences Social Phobia can experience relief by learning skills and making cognitive adjustments to their thinking.

Psychologists are trained and experienced in working with individuals who have a Social Phobia. You will likely be thankful to not only learn how you can deal with this in a healthy manner, but also to practice techniques that will allow you to conquer the fear associated with it.

{ Comments are closed }

Social Phobia? Find Out How to Be Transformed Into a Social Butterfly

Most people would probably describe themselves as being social. It's a natural reaction and human need to seek out the company of others. However, such interaction between individuals does not come effortlessly to everyone. For some, social settings can invoke trepidation making it difficult or hard to communicate. Imagine being so uncomfortable, avoidance of relationships and isolation becomes the sources of finding tranquility.

These deep emotional feelings have come to be known as social anxiety disorder. According to a survey conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health 5.3 million Americans are affected by social anxiety each year. Scotland, Australia, England, Brazil, and Wales since 1999 have reported an increase of those suffering from social phobia, indicating that is a global dilemma.

What are some signs that help pinpoint wherever or not a person is afflicted by social anxiety disorder? Internally, sufferers experience the feeling that others are scrutinizing and judging them. They become overly self-conscious believing they could certainly humiliate or embarrass themselves by their own actions. Some symptoms that can be seen from a physical standpoint would be palpitations, blushing, trembling, nausea and sweating. Individuals may also stammer in speech, which can occur when strong emotions causes a person to speak with involuntary hesitations and repetition.

A social phobic may also attempt to self-medicate. Meaning he or she may turn to alcohol or other drugs to help less fears or discomfort felt during social activities. A study finding showed one-fifth of those being treated for social anxiety disorder were also alcohol dependent.

In the past social phobia was thought to be a rare disorder; however, time and research has proven that not to be the case. Social anxiety is actually quite common; the issue is that many people distracted by the disorder are too afraid to seek out professional help. Psychologists believe this has led to an understatement of a growing problem.

What can be done to help those suffering from social anxiety? Usually, people tend to shy away from treatment until after they have developed substance abuse disorders and even clinical depression. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment are exclusively solutions in bringing about a change in thinking patterns, overcoming of flaws, and the avoidance of unpleparable complications.

Social phobia can also affect sleeping patterns. The one experiencing despair and a lack of contentment and happiness could find it harder to fall sleep. Disquieting thoughts or negatively-biased past memories may cause a social phobic to awaken at night or even to stay wide awake not allowing recuperation. Without such recovery the body could become more prone to illness and deterioration. If you or someone that you know is affected by social anxiety disorder, do not lose hope. Be assured there is help and do seek out the care and analysis that will morph you into a social butterfly.

{ Comments are closed }

How to Overcome Bridge Phobia

Gephyrophobia, also known as bridge phobia, is an unreasoning fear or dread of crossing bridges. There are several reasons for this phobia to exist. In many cases, this is a part of a larger group of phobias, such acrophobia, fear of heights, or a fear of the water. In other cases, this phobia stands alone.

Bridge phobia and most other phobias, often develop following a traumatic experience. For example, it was feared that a great number of cases of bridge phobia would have been diagnosed following the collapse of the interstate overpasses in San Francisco a few years ago. Whenever people approach the object of their phobias, they begin to experience feelings of anxiety, sometimes leading to a full blown panic attack.

Treatment for bridge phobia consists of antidepressant or anti anxiety medications in conjuction with behavioral therapy to teach one coping mechanisms to employ whenever placed into a situation that would trigger the phobia. Another treatment is called desensitization. This works by putting yourself into the situation that triggers your anxiety a little at a time until it stops bothering you, then going a little further.

Some bridges are known to be built so high or so open that they trigger a panic attack in many of the people who attempt to drive or walk across them. Many of these bridges have become aware of the problem, at least the people who own the bridges, and offer a fee based service wheree someone will drive your car across the bridge for you.

Bridge phobia is not an uncommon problem. The good news is that there are ways to get over it without having to limit one's self to one area because crossing a bridge is out of the question. Treatment, therapy, and behavior modification are all available methods of dealing with this or any other phobia.

{ Comments are closed }

How to Conquer a Fear of Dogs Phobia

Also known as Cynophobia, this affliction affects more people than you can imagine. Have you ever walked by a yard and done so on your tippy toes because you were so terrified the neighbors pit bull would not come near you? Imagine having that kind of fear for any dog ​​that comes near you. With the popularity of pets, you can see how fear of dogs phobia can be crippling.

The first step to recovers is to figure out where this fear comes from. If you think back, you will probably be able to link it to some horrific experience as a child. Once you know where it started from, you can begin to address the situation.

There are several forms of therapy that you can use to help with this problem. One thing that may be rough going early is exposure therapy. This is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy that literally exposes you to your problem in steps until you can conquer it all together.

Hypnosis is also a possibility. This could work in two ways. You could have put under to forget where the problem originated. If you have blocked out the memory, this may be the only way that you will be able to access those buried mental files. You could also do this to change your thinking on the dog. If your therapist puts a calming idea into your head that is triggered from the site of dog, it can be very effective in helping you deal with your fears.

While there is no doubt that there are some dogs that deserve to make us shudder a bit, most of time they are an absolute joy to be around. If you find yourself backing away from your friends family pet, it is time to address the situation and get the pecking order back where it belongs!

{ Comments are closed }

Social Phobia in Real Life!

Social anxiety disorder affects millions of Americans and leaves men and women, young and old alike with performance anxiety related to a great deal of different situations and interactions. The seemingly innocuous, normal, everyday interactions can drive a social anxiety sufferer to distraction or panic.

These feelings of self conscious anxiety can strike anywhere and at anytime.

For example, when waiting in line, a man was convinced that everyone was looking at him and the gigantic tray of food he was carrying. Everyone was staring at him and he could only imagine what they were thinking.

He started to sweat, worried about who was watching him and become incredibly self conscious. He fumbles in his wallet, trying to remove the money but his shaking hands only cause his anxiety to rise further.

Analyzing what happened to poor Al and his cafeteria tray, it's easy to say that he overreacted and that's absolutely true. It's probable that no one even noticed his tray and if they did they probably did not think much of it.

How many times do you actually focus on what someone else is eating without they slip and everything goes flying through the air in a spectacular crash? This is the essence of social phobia, self conscious overreaction to perceived negative attention from others or the fear such negative attention will occur.

Whether you suffer from social phobia or not, this is a feeling we can all relate to. Everyone has been embarrassed or self conscious at some time or another. You would not be human if that was not the case. However, for most people these feelings emerge in appropriate and warrant situations and are not frequent sensations.

For people suffering from social phobia, embarrassment or rather the fear of embarrassment is a perpetual, negative force that colors their actions, feelings and interactions.

Janice needs to call the repairman about fixing her gutters, they're leaking and one is dangling off the side of the house. It is a fairly urgent problem but Janice has been unable to make this call for a week.

She is worried about what she'll say to whoever picks up the phone, how she'll be received and what he will think of her request. She's afraid she'll speak to someone she does not know and embarrass herself or say something stupid.

Most of all she does not want to disturb anyone who might be engaged in other, more important business. For most people reading this, this sounds silly, the repairman is happy to hear from you and take your money. Call him everyday if you want!

But once again, this is where social phobia comes into play. It is an unfounded, unnecessary and disproportionate fear or worry. If any of these situations ring a bell, you might be dealing with social phobia. The effects on your life could be small or they could be dramatic. However you may be affected, the condition can be treated and eliminated.

Riding yourself of social phobia begins with recording your worries, analyzing your reactions or the reactions of others and desensitizing yourself to these feelings as you interact and proceed with your life.

{ Comments are closed }

Classification System of Phobias – Insight Into the Phobic Puzzle and the Missing Link!

To gain real insight into the phobic puzzle, we must first discard our traditional classification system, with its confusing Greek and Latin nomenclature. What we need is a simple, scientifically determined system that classifies phobias according to their underlying mechanisms, not their obvious triggers.

If we can do this, we will no longer have hundreds of labels that lead us to a never-ending series of dead ends. Instead, we will have a system that classifies all phobias according to three key types. The first two types are as follows:


Type 1 phobias develop after the traumatic exposure to a real and present danger. For example, one night, while walking down the street, a woman is brutally mugged. This incident sticks in her mind and develops into an uncontrollable fear of walking the streets at night. Her phobia would be considered to have a realistic basis.

Here are a few more examples of realistic phobias: a man develops a fear of knives after being stabbed; a woman develops a fear of horses after being thrown from one; a child develops a fear of flying insects after being stung by a swarm of bees, etc.


Type 2 phobias develop “all in the mind,” through a series of subconscious or unconscious Freudian processes.

These phobias are generally related to some repressed childhood trauma, usually sexual and / or aggressive in origin, and are triggered by some symbolic reminder of that trauma during a current emotional conflict. An example here would be helpful.

A young girl's parents discover that she is masturbating and scold her severely. They frighten her further by warning her that girls who masturbate become prostitutes. This warning, and the fear associated with it, sticks in the girl's subconscious mind, remaining active and alive for many years to come. As a result, she is now vulnerable to developing phobias.

When this girl grows up, any number of sexual triggers may cause her fear and anxiety to resurface during a period of emotional stress. She may, for example, become afraid of walking the streets alone, since subconsciously or unconsciously she symbolically associates this “street walking” with the behavior of prostitutes. Or she may develop a fear of trains and cars, because subconsciously or unconsciously she sees these objects as phallic or sexual symbols. All of these fears would have been considered to have a neurotic Type 2 basis.

Notice in the examples I have given how completely different under mechanisms mechanisms can result in the development of agoraphobia.

The traditional phobic classification system would have grouped the Type 1 agoraphobic and the Type 2 agoraphobic together because both women seem to fear the same thing. That system also would have impressed that both women should receive similar treatment.

But using our new classification system, it is clear that the phobias of these two women are related in name only. It is also clear that each woman requires a completely different treatment approach if she is to overcome her phobia, an approach dependent upon the specific undering mechanisms determining that phobia.

Everything makes perfect sense so far? Good. But there is one last giant piece still missing from the phobic puzzle. You see, most clinicians would probably agree that all phobias can be classified as either Type 1, Type 2, or a combination of the two.

They would also agree that Type 2, neurotic mechanisms probably account for the vast majority of all phobic behavior, with Type 1, realistic mechanisms accounting for just a small minority. But clinical evidence suggests that Type 1 and Type 2 mechanisms together may account for less than 10 percent of all phobic behavior!

What about the other 90 percent? They are Type 3 phobias.


Neurotic and realistic factors may be absolutely responsible for some phobias, and they may contribute to others. But the vast majority of phobias can be traced to a physiological problem: a malfunction within the inner-ear system! The inner-ear system plays an important role in modulating and controlling anxiety. In my blog, see link below, I have further discussed these problems.

{ Comments are closed }