The different categories of specific phobias. Let’s start by defining the difference between a fear and a phobia. Fear is completely natural, it’s something we all experience on a regular basis. There’s nothing abnormal about this feeling – it’s there to protect us all from real danger. A phobia on the other hand is very different. It’s an irrational, intense and excessive fear which causes anxiety in relation to a specific situation, trigger or object.
A phobia can effect life, often significantly. It can cause health issues, anxiety and avoidance behavior as the sufferer does whatever they can to keep away from the thing that causes the fear or anxiety. Left unchecked phobia can result in developing anxiety and even depression.
The Different Categories Of Specific Phobias
Whilst there are literally thousands of different ones there are just five different categories of specific phobias:
1: Animal Phobias
We’ll all be familiar with these I’m sure as they are very common. Most have at least two names – the official name of the phobia nd the common name. Within this category is included the likes of Zoophobia which is an irrational and persistent fear of animals of all kinds along with the other common phobias of particular groups of animals. Fears like Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, Spheksophobia and Apiphobia the fear of wasps and bees (I myself still do the wasp dance even now!), Ophidiophobia, the fear of snakes or Ornithophobia the fear of birds.
These are just a few of the common ones – think of an animal and there will likely be a phobia relating to it!
2: Natural Environment Phobias
Within this category of phobias are irrational fears of natural phenomenons that effect many of us to varyig degrees. We’re talking about things like Astraphobia the fear of thunderstorms, Thalassophobia the fear of the sea or deep bodies of water, along with the particularly common Acrophobia the fear of heights which many of us can associate with.
Again this is just the tip of the iceberg (there’s probably a phobia of icebergs too if you search), there are many more phobias linked to natural environments.
Situational phobias are, as teh name suggests, those extreme, irrational fears that are linked to specific situations. Within this category are phobials like Elevatophobia the fear of elevators, the very well known Aerophobia the abnormal fear of flying, the fear of driving or Vehophobia as it’s officially called, Dentophobia the fear of dentists or Glossophobia the fear of public speaking, or Monophobia the fear of being alone. You get the gist of what situational phobias are I’m sure.
4: Bodily Phobias
Bodily phobias relate to injuries, blood, injections and medical procedures. Included in this category are specific phobias such as; Trypanophobia the extreme fear of injections or hypodermic needles, hemophobia the fear of blood and Tomophobia the fear of surgical procedures or medical intervention.
5 Other Phobias
Basically – any other irrational phobia. The list is huge but includes the likes of; Nosophobia the fear of disease, Mysophobia Or Germophobia the fear of germs, Thanatophobia the fear of death, Emetophobia the fear of vomiting or even something like Coulrophobia the fear of clowns!
Different Categories Of Specific Phobias – Treatment Options
Just as there are many different categories of specific phobias there are also a number of treatment options. Because we’re dealing with a psychological issue rather than a physical condition there’s no magic pill that’s going to cure any phobia overnight. Instead we’re looking at some form of therapy which is going to re-program the mind to produce a rational response when presented with the trigger of the phobia.
Resetting the brains natural response can be done in several ways, the most common and recognised effective being:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy:
Put simply CBT is a talking therapy which takes your specific phobia and focusses on your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes (cognition) and how they affect your behaviour and emotions in respect of this issue. Read more about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
Sound complicated but this therapy works by taking the specific phobia and disassociating and reframing the experience. Read more about Neuro-Linguistic Programming.
Hypnosis works by retraining the subconscious mind to react in a normal rational manner. We particularly like hypnotherapy because you can do it yourself. This makes it not only effective but cost effective and convenient too. You can read more about how to cure fears and phobias using hypnosis here.
The Last Words
Whatever your phobia remember that you’re not alone. No matter how abscure you think your fear may be there will be a name for it and there will be more sufferers than you could possibly imagine. Also remember there’s ALWAYS a solution and you CAN get over it. It may tale time, you may need support but you can do it so stay focussed and don’t give in to your fears. Good luck!