If we look around in our surroundings, we can see that almost everyone is more or less scared of something; it can be insects, animals, injections, heights, or any other thing. Such fears can be minor ones. But the problem arises when such fears turn out to be extremely severe and disturbing that it starts interfering and affecting different areas of one’s life, then they turn into phobias. When a person experiences extreme fear of something which contains very less or no real danger or threat is known a phobia. The nature of phobias is irrational. Usually, we develop phobias in our childhood but they also can be developed in adulthood as well. 

amna nawaz1 Ms. Amna Nawaz currently works as a clinical psychologist at Willing Ways, Lahore. She has done MS in clinical psychology and B.Sc (Hons.) from GC University, Lahore. Heath counseling, addiction counseling, subjective well-being and intellectual disability are her areas of interest as well as her educational expertise.Earlier, she has also supervised trainee child psychologists working in a special education institute being run by the Government of Punjab.

Editor : Hameeda Batool

A phobic person usually realizes that his fear is irrational and unreasonable but he still finds it difficult to control his fearful emotions. He tends to be anxious, restless and terrified by even thinking about the feared object. And the terror reaches at its peak when he is exposed to the feared object in real. The person finds the experiences so disturbing and terrifying that he can do whatever it takes to avoid the feared object. For example, a person having a fear of closed-in places might turn down a well-paid job if he has to use the elevator to reach his office.


Signs and symptoms

Phobias have both physical and emotional signs and symptoms. The physical signs and symptoms of phobias include breathing difficulties, rapid heartbeat, shaking or trembling, feeling of choking, sweating, rolling stomach, dizziness, hot or cold flashes, and chest pain or feelings of tightness in the chest when exposed or encountered with the feared object. Whereas, emotional symptoms include feeling overwhelmingly anxious, a desperate need to escape, detachment from oneself, fear of losing control over oneself and the situation, a person might feel that he is going to die or faint, and the person does realize that he is overreacting yet he feels powerless to control his feelings and manage his state.