Approximately everyone has an illogical fear or two—of lizard, for example, or your once in a year dental checkup. Fear is one of the very basic human emotions. It is planned into the nervous system and works like an intuition. From the time we’re newborn, we are prepared with the survival instincts required to respond with fear when we sense danger or feel not so safe. Fear is an incorporated survival device with which we are all equipped. Fear is a normal human emotional response. Even as children, we own the survival instincts essential to respond when we are in any danger.

Salma Basharat has completed her MSC in Behavioral Sciences from Fatima Jinnah Women University After completing BSC in Botany, Zoology and Psychology. She did her 6 weeks internship in psychiatric ward of Benazir Bhutto hospital. Her areas of interest are mainly relationship counseling and addiction counseling. She is working with indoor as well as outdoor patients simultaneously with the aim of making difference in someone`s life and committed to the well being and restoration of her clients, facilitating them to evolve in a more tender way.

Editor: Samreen Masaud

A fear reaction occurs whenever we sense danger or when we deal with something new or uncertain that seems dangerous. Most people are inclined to evade the things they feel scared of. Of course, there are exceptions for example people who look for thrill of extreme sports because the rush of adrenaline can be thrilling. We all experience fear somewhat differently and with more or less force.


A few normal fears seem more like a worry, or something you feel usually afraid of or uncomfortable about. However fear comes as a unforeseen reaction to a abrupt confrontation with danger. It’s that sudden fear reactions that activate the body’s survival mechanism recognized as the fight or flight reaction. The fear reaction is identified as fight or flight because that is precisely what the body is getting ready itself to do – to fight off the danger or to run to get  far away. Fear is a response to danger that includes both the brain and body. It can do a protective function, indicating danger and preparing us to handle it, or it can be troublesome. Fear is a built-in survival apparatus with which we are all outfitted.

A phobia includes the experience of constant fear that is unnecessary and unreasonable. Phobias are triggered when a person comes up to a certain situation or object, or even foresee the approach of it, and they recognize the fear they will go through as a result of that situation will be irrational and extreme. The key to differentiate a fear from a phobia is that while most people get the creep if a spider crawls on their leg, people diagnose from arachnophobia, which is the fear of spiders, are physically and/or sensitively weaken and impaired by it. How does somebody get to the spot where he or she is so scared of spiders she can’t go outside or inside their room? There are nature and nurture parts to phobias. Although we don’t know exactly why or where and how phobias instigate, they are a type of psychological illness, where genetics are also playing their part, along with the environment, which means maybe somebody had a bad or traumatic experience associated to the center of their phobia.

Following fears are extremely common and considered normal:

  • From 0-2 years of age: strangers, large objects, loud noises and separation from parents
  • From 3-6 years of age: the dark, monsters, strange noises, Imaginary things such as ghosts, sleeping alone.
  • From 7-16 years of age: fears become more realistic such as school performance, injury, death, illness, and natural disasters.