Many of us feel anxious about specific situations or objects such as spiders, heights, flying or crowded places. However, sometimes these anxieties can turn into irrational fear – a phobia. If you have a phobia, your anxiety will be triggered by a very specific scenario or object even when there is no danger.
The feelings of anxiety from your phobias can become too strong. If you find you are prevented from doing things you want to and feel miserable it is time to seek treatment for your phobia.
Our treatment approach for phobias
Our approach to treating phobias combines individualised programmes with treatments based on current clinical evidence. There are two types of treatment for phobias.
Psychotherapy or counselling can help you understand and find strategies to overcome your phobia. It can help us to understand and to come to terms with reasons for our anxieties that we may not have recognised ourselves. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help you learn more positive emotional and behavioural responses to situations and feelings. The treatment can take place in groups or individually and is usually weekly for several weeks or months.
Medication can also be effective for your phobia. It may help you to feel less anxious and cope better so that you can start to enjoy life again. Drugs should be only used for short periods, perhaps to help during a crisis. They should not be used for longer-term treatment of anxiety.
Phobia treatment tailored to you
Our phobia treatments here at Nightingale Hospital London can be as an outpatient, day patient or inpatient. We have the expertise to approach the support and treatment we offer you for your phobia in a personal and flexible way to benefit you the most in your recovery.
Helping those with anxiety and phobias
People with anxiety and phobias may not talk about these feelings, even with family or close friends. Even so, it is usually obvious that things are not right. The sufferer will tend to look pale and tense, and may be easily startled by normal sounds such as a door-bell ringing or a car’s horn. They will tend to be irritable and this can cause arguments with those close to them, especially if they do not understand why the sufferer feels that they cannot do certain things. Although friends and family can understand the distress caused by anxiety, they can find it difficult to live with, especially if the fears seem unreasonable.
Talking about the problem
This can help when the anxiety comes from recent knocks, like a spouse leaving, a child becoming ill or losing a job.Try friends or relatives who you trust, whose opinions you respect, and who are good listeners. They may have had the same problem themselves, or know someone else who has. As well as having the chance to talk, we may be able to find out how other people have coped with a similar problem.
These are a good way of getting in touch with people with similar problems. They will both be able to understand what you are going through, but also may be able to suggest helpful ways of coping. These groups may be focussed on anxieties and phobias, or may be made up of people who have been through similar experiences – women’s groups, bereaved parent’s groups, survivors of abuse groups.
Learning to relax
It can be a great help to learn a special way of relaxing, to help us control our anxiety and tension. We can learn these through groups, through professionals, but there are several books and videotapes we can use to teach ourselves. It’s a good idea to practice this regularly, not just when we are in a crisis.
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