Fears Should Not Dictate Our Lives

Ever been terrified of something that others are not bothered by? Most likely you could be suffering from a phobia or an irrational fear that poses nor real or immediate danger to you. Phobias range in severity from being an annoyance to severely affecting someone’s life but can be successfully treated. Living a life with a phobia can really affect someone’s quality of life.

Some of the more common phobias include fear of public speaking, fear of snakes, fear of severe weather, and a fear of heights among others. Phobias can cause physical and psychological symptoms as well. Some of the physiological symptoms of a phobia include trembling, sweating, abnormal breathing, and hot flushes or chills. The psychological symptoms may include increased anxiety, irrational thoughts, and even a panic attack. What distinguishes a phobia from a simple fear is when a person starts to avoid triggers in his or her daily life at great costs. According to the National Institute of Mental Health “Of adults with specific phobia in the past year, an estimated 21.9% had serious impairment, 30.0% had moderate impairment, and 48.1% had mild impairment.” This statement is alarming because it demonstrates that many people suffer phobias. For example, someone living with a driving phobia may be limited in the types of employment they can obtain. Obviously, someone with a driving phobia may not want to become an uber or lyft driver, bus driver, or kinds of jobs that involve driving thus severely limiting employment and career opportunities.

Living with a phobia may be self-manageable for some people; however, for others professional help will be needed. Fortunately, there are several successful treatments available to treat phobias including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness techniques, medication, and other talking therapies. CBT involves changing one’s behavior and thinking to better allow them to react to their problems. Mindfulness techniques include meditation and visualization among others. This type of activity can help those suffering from phobias by helping them cope with their fears. Medication is mostly used to treat some side effects of phobias like anxiety.

Phobias can wreak havoc on a person’s life; however, there are treatments available for them. So for those that dream of becoming a police officer or a tax driver, the time may come where you will be able to overcome your fears and accept the job.



Specific Phobia. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/specific-phobia.shtml


  1. Sara Grace Jimma

    Your post was very interesting and informative. As you mentioned, many people are suffering from phobias, including myself. I am not afraid of heights nor spiders, I am not scared of anything except wasps. Yes, I have what is known as spheksophobia. As you mentioned in your post, a phobia can interfere with a person’s daily life, which is true. If it very sunny outside I get extremely scared due to anticipation of possible wasps. I wear clothes to prevent getting stung such as long sleeves and pants. If I see a wasp, I start to panic, run as fast as I can, and I need a few minutes to calm down. In short, I do organize my life around avoiding wasps. But why is it that people have phobias? I know why I have it because it was linked to a bad experience I had as a child. As a child, I was never scared of wasps, but one day I got stung and I had a bad reaction to it, and from thereon I started getting stung every summer, which led to my phobia. So as I mentioned, why do people have phobias? Well, it is thought that it can be caused by both genetic and environmental factors. People who have anxiety disorders are more likely at risk to develop a phobia (Wodele, A., & Solan, M., 2017). The environmental factor is similar to my own–a distressing event can cause a phobia. For example, nearly drowning can cause a phobia to swimming or areas with excessive water (Wodele, A., & Solan, M., 2017).


    Wodele, A., & Solan, M. (2017) Phobias. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/phobia-simple-specific#causes

  2. Great post, I was wondering if you have heard about the virtual environment method to help cure fear of heights? There have been some studies done to test virtual height situations that I came across one that I found to be interesting. The participants were introduction to psychology students at a university and they were assigned to the three treatment groups randomly. The researchers created three virtual environments to use in therapy sessions, one was a elevator, another was a series of balconies and the third one was a series of bridges. Along with the virtual environments they also conducted a fear questionnaire that asked the participants to provide their level of anxiety associated with the visual stimuli.

    This study caught my attention because it is a new way to conduct exposure therapy virtually. I am wondering if the virtual environment can also be used for other fears and phobias caused by anxiety such as flying, speaking and snakes as you mentioned. I am sure we will be seeing more of these studies and methods being tested in the near future.


    Hodges, L., Kooper, R., Meyer, T., Rothbaum, B., Opdyke, D., Graaff, J. D., . . . North, M. (1995). Virtual environments for treating the fear of heights. Computer, 28(7), 27-34. doi:10.1109/2.391038

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