This article will provide you the difference between fear and phobia.
What is Fear?
Fear is a normal emotional response. Everyone experiences in their life span. When people feel fear, they experience three types of symptoms:
- Emotional Symptoms: Unhelpful thoughts, such as thinking people around you are having critical thoughts about you, or that something unpleasant will happen.
- Physical Symptoms: Rapid heartbeat, faster breathing, sweating and higher blood pressure (it is the body’s response to fear, ‘fight or flight’).
- Behavioural Symptoms: Changes in behaviour, such as avoiding enjoyable activities, to more significant matters like being afraid to leave home.
What is Phobia?
Phobia is an extreme and unreasonable fear response. When people have a phobia, they may experience a deep sense of terror or panic if they encounter the source of their fear. The fear can be due to a certain place, circumstances, or item. When people feel phobia, they experience three types of symptoms:
- Emotional Symptoms: Anxiety, difficulty in concentration, fear of fainting, dissociation, fear of losing control and/or fear of dying.
- Physical Symptoms: Pounding heart, nausea, high blood pressure, sweating, dizziness, light-headedness, shortness of breath, numbness or tingling, trembling or shaking, chest pain, diarrhoea, choking sensation.
- Behavioural Symptoms: Avoiding the object or circumstances or experiencing it with intense anxiety or fear.
How can you tell if it is fear or phobia? What is the difference?
Fear is a natural feeling that protects people from harm when people face a real and imminent danger. Phobia is an extreme fear or anxiety associated with certain things or situations that are not related to the real danger they present.
Fear is considered normal and healthy. In fact, fear plays a key role in keeping us safe from dangerous situations and in helping us decide when to get out of that situation. No one has ever not experienced fear during their lifetime.
Under normal circumstances, fear can be controlled mentally and emotionally. It does not make our lives difficult. Phobia, however, turns the normal response to fear into something persistent and difficult or impossible to control.
When we review our normal response to fear, it is easier and more common to fear anything. Fear is often, or always is, based on negative experience in a particular situation. For example, if a person was attacked by a dog as a child, they may be afraid of dogs later in life. Sometimes fear is learned by someone else, like a child who becomes afraid of spiders because of his mother’s reaction.
Whatever your fears may be, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed or uncomfortable in the face of such a situation. If you are afraid of flying, for example, you could be jittery or anxious when boarding a plane. You can treat yourself, perhaps by indulging in a pre-flight drink, but you can manage your symptoms and move on with your life. You can choose to travel by car or train but you will fly where necessary or where it works.
While the response to phobia can be extreme and unequal depending on the level of reality.
You use the fear of flying, for example, if you are able to fly at all, you will sweat, tremble, cry, or have other severe physical reactions. You may feel sad during the whole flight, as all the chaos rekindles your fears.
If your phobia is very severe, you simply will not be able to board the plane at all. You will avoid the flight – you can also cancel a vacation or business trip, if there is no other option. You may not even be able to visit the airport to drop off or pick up a friend. You don’t have to worry when the planes fly over.
If you have a mild fear, you may not spend much time thinking about that fear. It will only affect you if you are forced to deal with it, such as getting on an actually plane.
To know the basic difference between normal fear and phobia, let’s see the examples below
- Feeling anxious when flying in a storm or leaving during a storm
- You encounter butterflies as you look down on a debt or climb a steep ladder
- Fear when you see a big size bull coming to your direction
- Feeling a little trouble when you are receiving a shot or when your blood is drawn
- Not going to the wedding of your best friend on the island because you will have to fly there
- Getting rid of good work because you are on the 10th floor of an office building
- Phobia: Avoid going to the park because you can see the dog
- Avoid the necessary treatment or medical examinations because you are afraid of them
- Knowing that you are overreacting, but feeling empowered
It is recommended to see a mental health professional if you are experiencing phobia They will provide a precise diagnosis and develop a treatment strategy that is right for you.
Where your fears come from, this is true – you may be working on your phobias. It may not be easy, and it may take a while, but you can see some improvement and move on with your life.
The most effective way to overcome phobia is by gradually and repeatedly expressing your fears in a safe and controlled way. During this process of exposure, you will learn to dispel anxiety and fear until it passes without a doubt.
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