The basic difference between phobia and fear is that phobias are irrational fears, that is, a person is afraid of something that is not fearable.
Phobias are majorly because of genetics. People usually develop phobias when they are 4 – 8 years old. Social factors also trigger phobias. For example, a child reads about the death of a person due to slipping while bathing. This person may then spend the rest of his/her life fearing bathing.
When the brain detects anxiety inducing stimulus, it is either handled by the sensory cortex or the amygdala. The sensory cortex processes the information in a rational manner while the amygdala screams. Phobias are handled by the amygdala.
There are 3 types of phobias:
- Social phobia: People get very anxious while facing social situations. The reasons may be as simple as being obese. A fat person can be socially anxious just because of weight.
- Agoraphobia: People are scared of being in situations that is inescapable.
- Specific phobia: Phobias of specific creatures, things, activities etc. Some interesting examples of specific phobias are:
Anatidaephobia – Fear of being watched by a duck
Pentheraphobia – Fear of mother-in-laws
Arachibutyrophobia – Fear of peanut butter sticking to one’s palate
Tetraphobia- Fear of number 4
Turophobia- Fear of cheese
Phobophobia- Fear of having a phobia
How do you know you have a phobia?
All of us know what we are scared of. Generally while facing the situation/ thing /place we fear, our heart beat increases, mouth becomes dry and our body is taken under the control of adrenaline. Some people can have severe conditions while even thinking of their phobia.
What can be done about it?
You can lower or completely cure your phobia using Cognitive Theory which exposes you to the thing you fear. Antidepressants also help. An interesting research suggests that you can lower your fears while sleeping.
So, if you have a serious phobia, realize it and get it treated. The process may be difficult but it will be worth it.
Fun fact: Certain phobias can become extinct.
Freaky fact: You can be scared to death.
Have a stupid question? I love stupid questions.
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