Anxiety, Fear and Phobia are inter-related concepts such that one cannot be mentioned without the other. Fear is a normal human response to dangerous situations. Fear can be thought of as a “built-in” survival mechanism that protects us from the immediate threat of danger or uncertain or novel situations. It gives a warning regarding what we should avoid, be careful of or pay attention to.
Anxiety on the other hand is an overwhelming sense of apprehension and fear often marked by physiological signs such as, but not exclusive to, sweating, tension, “butterflies” in the stomach, increased pulse and heart rate. Anxiety can also be defined as a feeling of fear, worry, and uneasiness, usually generalized and unfocused as an overreaction to a situation that is only subjectively seen as menacing. It is often accompanied by restlessness, fatigue, problems in concentration, and muscular tension. Anxiety is not considered to be a normal reaction to a perceived stressor although many feel it occasionally.
A phobia is an anxiety disorder that involves an intense, unreasonable fear of something or a situation that is far out of proportion to the actual danger or harm that is possible. The fear and distress lead the person to avoid the object or situation they fear. When anxieties and fears persist, problems can arise.
Examples of phobia include:
- Acrophobia- Fear of Heights
- Claustrophobia- Fear of Enclosed Spaces
- Nyctophobia- Fear of the dark
- Ophidiophophia- Fear of snakes
- Arachnophobia- Fear of spiders
- Trypanophobia- Fear of Injection or medical needles
- Astraphobia- Fear of thunder and lightning
- Nosophobia- Fear of having a disease
Apart from Specific phobias as outlined above,
when feelings of anxiety occupy our thoughts and affect our daily functioning, it may be classified as a psychiatric condition needed psychological therapy. This can be termed as Anxiety Disorders. Other anxiety disorders are:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD),
- Panic disorder,
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and
- Social phobia (or social anxiety disorder).
The brain plays an important role in fear, anxiety and phobias. The amygdala and the hippocampus (parts of the fore brain) responsible for emotions and memory have been linked to fear, anxiety and phobias.
The amygdala is an almond-shaped structure deep in the brain that is believed to be a communications hub between the parts of the brain that process incoming sensory signals and the parts that interpret these signals. It can alert the rest of the brain that a threat is present and trigger a fear or anxiety response. The emotional memories stored in the central part of the amygdala may play a role in anxiety disorders involving very distinct fears, such as fears of dogs, spiders, or flying. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that encodes threatening events into memories. Studies have shown that the hippocampus appears to be smaller in some people who were victims of child abuse or who served in military combat.
Neurofeedback and Biofeedback therapy have proven effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders.
Should you be experiencing any of the following:
- Are you constantly tense, worried, or on edge?
- Does your anxiety interfere with your work, school, or family responsibilities and relationships?
- Are you plagued by fears that you know are irrational ?
- Do you believe that something bad will happen if certain things aren’t done a certain way?
- Do you avoid everyday situations or activities because they cause you anxiety?
- Do you experience sudden, unexpected attacks of heart-pounding panic?
- Do you feel like danger and catastrophe are around every corner?
Then Contact Mobile Health Consult today!