The positive side of the story is that phobias can be managed and cured if a phobic person is taught the required skills and self-help strategies. Phobias don’t necessarily develop a significant problem in one's life if a person has a phobia of something which is not very common in his everyday life such as snake or tigers. But it does affect a person's life if he has a phobia of something which he has to face on daily basis such as a person having a phobia of crowded places and he also lives in a big city. In such a situation, his phobia can affect his daily functioning. If it does not adversely impact a person's functionality then there is probably nothing to get worried about. But if a person desperately avoids the feared object or a situation and it also interferes with his functionality then it is highly essential to seek help. Intense fear, insight about the unreasonable fear yet inability to control it, avoidance of the feared object or situations, dysfunctionality and the presence of all these elements for at least six months are the criterion of phobia and they are also the signs that suggest that a person requires treatment.
Overcoming the phobia
The first step of overcoming phobia is to understand it. Understanding the phobia means analyzing the dynamics, indications, mechanism and coping styles to cope with phobia. It is very important for a phobic person to have a complete insight about his problem. After gaining an insight, he should learn the skills to face the feared object or situation, and that too one step at a time. It is quite natural for a person to avoid the things that he is fearful of. But avoidance can never be a healthy and helpful way to overcome fear. It is just a short term solution or a quick fix to it. We cannot gain strength by avoiding the feared object; it rather reinforces our fears and makes us weaker. Facing the fear is the key to conquer one's phobias. Gradual and repeated exposures to the feared object or situation in a controlled and protected way is the most effective and helpful technique. The person gradually learns to manage his anxiety in process. The person tends to feel more confident, equipped and in control of himself with each exposure. It requires proper planning, practice and a great amount of patience to move gradually and face one's fears. It is important to establish a fear ladder that a person should climb gradually. One should always start from least feared to most feared object or situation. It is recommended to begin with those situations that a person can reasonable handle. Once he achieves mastery in it, he can move upward. Usually, people start from the most scary object or situation, and they badly fail in it. Establishing the hierarchy of fear is a crucial step.