According to an online definition, fear is an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous and it’s likely to cause pain or be a threat. You could also say that phobia is a form of anxiety. It brings on stress or, in many cases, fear is the result of stress. When you’re at the top of a flight of stairs. You might perceive the situation as dangerous, thinking you might fall to the bottom, and as a result, experience fear. Along with fear, there is a stress, an anxious feeling that something is going to happen.
Although there are many forms of anxiety, experiencing a phobia is an anxiety of its own class. In fact, having a phobia is considered to be a mental illness, especially when it interferes with one’s daily functioning. For instance, if you were so afraid of social situations that it prevented you from going to school, you might be diagnosed with a phobia. To be more specific, what defines anxiety as a disorder, whether it’s a specific phobia or not, is when it is excessive and unrealistic. Having worry or anxiety before a major life event, prior to an exam, or right before asking a girl out, is considered normal. When anxiety and fear become excessive, it’s considered abnormal.
What is a Phobia?
Phobia is an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to some person, place or thing. There are phobias that are typical for teens, those that are associated with adolescence. To make more of a distinction, there are certain fears that tend to naturally develop at certain ages and are also considered normal. For instance, children under two years old may be afraid of loud noises, strangers, or separation from their parents. Toddlers might be afraid of ghosts, monsters, sleeping alone, or strange noises; and adolescents might fear bodily injury, illness, school performance, death, and natural disasters.
Phobias are marked by a consistent fear when faced with an object or particular circumstance. The cause of phobias is not yet determined, though some believe that both genetic and environmental factors contribute to phobias. Phobias can be present in very young children as well as teens and adolescents. Examples of specific phobias can include fear of animals, air travel, being outside, social situations, blood, or being separated from a loved one. Those afflicted will often react with extreme terror whenever they are faced with a trigger that stimulates their fear, such as being in a certain place or around a certain person or even when in circumstances that are similar to a past situation in which trauma might have occurred.
Symptoms of Phobias
The symptoms of phobias can vary from mild to severe. They can include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Racing Heart
- Chest pains
- Feeling lightheaded
- Hot or cold flashes
- Feelings of overwhelm or panic
- Feeling an intense need to escape
- Feeling detached from yourself
- Fear of losing control
- Feeling like fainting is imminent
Types of Phobias
One common phobia that sometimes emerges in adolescence, a time when feeling accepted by their peers is highly important, is social phobia, sometimes diagnosed as Social Anxiety Disorder. It’s an illness in which the fear of social situations, specifically fearing judgment and embarrassment in those situations, is excessive. A teen might be extremely worried about how he or she looks or will behave and might even avoid those situations to escape the anxiety, rather than enjoying that experience. Social phobia tends to also come within an extreme feeling of self-consciousness and a fear of humiliating oneself.
Yet, there are other forms of phobia, such as:
- Agoraphobia – Fear of Open Spaces
- Claustrophobia – Fear of Enclosed Spaces
- Acrophobia – Fear of Heights
- Zoophobia – Fear of Animals
- Trypanophobia – Fear of Injections or Medical Needles
- Nosophobia – Fear of Having a Disease
- Homophobia – Fear of Homosexuality
- Monophobia – Fear of Being Alone
If you or someone you know experiences a phobia, contact a mental health professional. By doing so, you can treatment that will make living life with a phobia easier. Those with phobias don’t have to live sheltered lives. There are many forms of treatment for phobias that can ease a teen’s life.