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Phobias Treatment

Posted by on Friday, October 2, 2009, 12:42
This news item was posted in Phobias category and has 1 Comment so far.

Short term cognitive behavioral psychotherapy is the clear winner her. The most effective technique is to cure phobias is  exposure therapy. This simple and straight forward approach capitalizes on the fact that we quickly get used to things, however unpleasant.

Pool water that feels “freezing” when we first jump in becomes comfortable in just a few minutes. After a while, we no longer notice a bad smell in the air and some people can’t fall asleep without what has become the reassuring sound of street traffic.

Similarly, the sting can be taken out of a phobic anxiety if you are repeatedly and systematically exposed to it and face down the things you are afraid to. One strategy is skin to dipping your toe in the water to get your body acclimated in gradual stages.

You expose yourself to the feared phobia stimulus one small step at a time, starting with the least upsetting task and moving toward the most difficult. Flooding is an exposure that is more like taking a running jump in to the pool. This works faster but you have to be willing to endure prolonged exposure to your most feared situations.

Exposure therapy works remarkably well whether it is one in “baby steps” or with the “sink or swim” technique. Choose the one that best suits you. A few sessions of clenched first and sweaty palms may translate into years of freedom from fear. However, most people will prefer the more gradual approach.

Phobia prevention also requires a willingness to immediately response yourself to the feared situation. If a child falls off a swing, he should be put right back on or he may be afraid of swings for life. Similarly if you have a can accident, try to get back behind the wheel as soon as possible.

If you get knocked down by a wave and swallow water, go back in the keep swimming. And if you are mugged in broad daylight near your office, go back to the scene of the crime so that it odes not retain a toxic association.

If one person a family has a severe phobias, it is not very long before everyone gets involved as a phobic partner. Phobic partnerships have their strong ans weak points. Physically accompanying the phobia sufferer through phobic situations is often the only way of getting the person to venture forth into danger zones, at least at the beginning.

However, the phobic partners can  foster excessive dependency and become a difficult to give up crutch, especially if it is also meeting the family member’s need to be helpful or to avoid him own phobias. The therapy is usually most effective when it includes the person with the phobia as well as any potential phobic partners, like spouses, siblings, parents, or children. This helps relieve initial anxiety by ensuring a secure phobic companionship initially, but then encourages the patient to give it up gradually as the treatment starts working.

In an previous article we already discussed how antidepressants can be effective in reducing or eliminating panic attacks. This is often a necessary prelude to the successful treatment of Agoraphobia. If you are confident that you will no longer have disabling panic attacks, it becomes much easier to brave the feared situations that that previously were out of bonds.

One by one, danger zones become drained of their ability to trigger anxiety and instead become safe places. Anxiety medications are sometimes helpful by temporarily preventing the anxiety that is being triggered by the phobic stimulus. As already mentioned, however, this class of medicines should be used with great caution because they can be both psychologically and physically addicting. They are most useful only in small and logically and physically addicting.

They are most useful only in small and occasional doses as a kind of “insurance policy” to help you to confront the phobic situation. Often the knowledge that you have a pill ready at hand to take “just in case” is enough reassurance to spur your onward. You will usually never need the pill.

Two different types of medication treatment are used in Social Phobias, depending on whether the fears are circumscribed or generalized. Medications called beta blockers can be very helpful for circumscribed performances anxieties because they blunt the body’s adrenaline response.

This reduces the physical manifestations of anxiety blushing, sweating, trembling, and racing heart. You may feel anxious inside, but will not show it on the outside. It builds your confidence knowing that whatever anxiety you feel can be kept as your secret and will not be obvious to everyone around you. For the generalized type of Social Phobia, the SSRI’s and the MAO inhibitors are often effective in reducing both the discomfort and the social avoidance.

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1 Response to “Phobias Treatment”

  1. 26 November, 2010, 21:38

    Often for a phobia sufferer there is a reluctance to confront their fear because they don’t want to trigger all of the physical and emotional responses that come with this. The assistance of a friend, loved one or even a practitioner or counsellor can assist them to work through this, and move on to a point where they are able to overcome their fear or phobia.

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