Symptoms of having a phobia are similar to those of an anxiety disorder. In fact, as indicated in the first article of this two part series, phobias are a form of an anxiety disorder. However, a teen phobia is an excessive fear or worry regarding a specific object, person, or place.
The second part of this three part series will review the signs and indications of having a phobia as well as look at Agoraphobia and Trypanophobia more closely. These are two phobias that have unique symptoms.
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
These emotional and physical symptoms are not too different from those of a panic attack, which is an unexpected wave of great panic or fear. One type of phobia that is associated with panic attacks is Agoraphobia, the fear of enclosed spaces. The two are related when panic attacks worsen and agoraphobia develops as a result. For instance, if an adolescent experiences a panic attack in class, that teen might also feel incredible anxious about having another panic attack in a social setting, thus strengthening a fear of being in public settings, particularly a fear of not being able to escape or not being able to access emergency services if needed.
Trypanophobia, the fear of blood, injury, and/or medical needles, has symptoms that are different than other phobias. When a teen is symptomatic of Trypanophobia, he or she experience the typical signs listed above. However, there might also be a drop in blood pressure, which can lead to nausea, dizziness, and fainting. While the fear of fainting is a common symptom of phobias and panic attacks, this phobia might actually cause a teen to faint.
With Trypanophobia and other types of phobia, it would be important to seek treatment when symptoms become a major disruption in life and impairs functioning at school, home, or work. For example, if a teen has an excessive fear of bridges and there are no bridges in the community where he or she lives, then there may be no need to treat this phobia. However, if that adolescent needed to cross a bridge every morning to get to school and truancy develops as a result of avoiding the travel to school, treatment would be is necessary.
It would be best to consider treatment if a phobia causes an adolescent intense fear, anxiety, or panic. If that anxiety or fear is excessive and unreasonable and it impairs functioning, then seeking the help of a mental health professional would also be applicable. Finally, a phobia lasting for 6 months or more would also be a reason to seek treatment.
The last part of this series will further explore treatment by examining the various ways to ease the life of a teen with a specific fear.