phobia, mental health

4 Treatment Options To Help You Cope With Phobia

phobia, mental healthAn estimated 12.5% of the adult population in the U.S experience phobia at some point in their life, according to the NIMH. Mental health experts are still unsure about what causes phobic reactions among individuals. However, they argue preconceived thoughts, learned behaviors, environmental triggers, and genetics lead to a fear of an object, environment, or situation. Remember, all types of phobias, even those that seem minor, like the fear of spiders, heights, dogs, and small spaces, can cause anxiety and panic attacks. And that can greatly interfere with your mental and emotional health. That’s why it’s crucial to seek medical support early enough to prevent mental health complications. So, if you’re living with a phobia, here are 4 treatment options to consider.

Behavioral Counseling 

This treatment option encourages individuals to discuss their fears with a mental health professional. After listening to your concerns, a psychiatrist will engage you in talk therapy. Many professionals believe phobias are caused by responses to learned behaviors, preconceived thoughts, and environmental triggers. They suggest that discussing the health effects of phobia can help one overcome fear. Besides talk therapy, a psychiatrist will also suggest tips on how to manage anxiety and motivate you to seek self-help or assisted therapy for phobias.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is one of the most favored approaches for coping with phobia and anxiety. This therapy aims at determining the connection between thoughts, behaviors, and feelings that lead to fear. During cognitive-behavioral therapy sessions, mental health experts teach you how thinking patterns trigger fear. They also provide tips to help you eliminate negative thoughts that lead to phobias. Over time you’ll gain practical skills to manage your fears.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy or desensitization entails exposing yourself to your fears. The ultimate goal is to reduce anxiety levels and desensitize yourself from a phobia. For instance, if you’re aquaphobic, spending time in and around water can help you fight the fear of swimming or being near large water bodies. But before you can expose yourself to feared objects or situations, you must learn relaxation tactics to ensure you remain calm throughout the process. For example, when coping with aquaphobia, you need to visualize yourself in a pool having fun. With time, you’ll be confident around swimming environments. You’ll also learn about drowning risks and how to prevent them. When you have good knowledge about the respect of water, you can swim without worrying about drowning.

Management Medication 

Although medication isn’t required to manage phobic reactions, doctors often recommend medicines for treating symptoms linked to phobias like panic attacks and anxiety. Common medications prescribed by mental health professionals include beta-blockers, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines. All these medications are effective in reducing anxiety levels. However, you must use one recommended by a specialist depending on your unique needs to avoid side effects.

Living with a phobia forces you to resign to a life of worrying about a certain object or situation that makes you anxious. Fortunately, you can cope with phobias with the help of different treatment options. Counseling, behavioral therapies, and medications are effective methods you should consider when coping with the fear of insects, environments, or situations.

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Last Updated on February 25, 2021 by Marie Benz MD FAAD