Fears, Phobias and Anxieties
We can feel fear, anxiety for many reasons, in many ways, to many different levels. The concept of what is an anxiety, a fear, or a phobia is something of a sliding scale. And so it can be hard to know what you are suffering from and what can be done about it. Perhaps we can start with the technical definitions first.
Anxiety is the inner turmoil you feel while you wait for an expected threat to come. That inner turmoil comes to the surface with physical symptoms such as muscle tension, butterflies in the stomach and restlessness.
Fear is feeling you get once you realise that you are in danger. The body responds physically, emotionally and metabolically. To run away or stay and fight. Since we have to think and realise that something is fearful fear is a rational reaction.
Phobia is a form of anxiety disorder where a person changes their lives in anticipation of the fear that they are expecting to feel. Also, that fear is often irrational and if not, the response certainly is irrational.
Which one are you feeling?
All of these feelings express themselves in our bodies. In anxiety, you may have headaches, butterflies in your stomach, headaches. Fear might cause rapid heartbeat, cold, pale skin and trembling in your limbs. A phobia can cause unreasonable behaviour such as a walk around a park rather than through it to avoid a dog or a massive debilitating panic and loss of physical control.
If something makes you anxious or fearful you will still be able to face it. If you have a phobia you will go to unreasonable lengths to avoid the phobia. Even if it isn’t real! A picture or model of what causes your phobia will still cause an unreasonable reaction in you.
What can be done?
Fears, anxieties, phobias are not usually treated medicinally, but if they are… Methods range from the old Dutch Courage of a hearty alcoholic drink (naturally not approved by us!) to antidepressants, beta-blockers and tranquilisers.
Non-medicinal methods are the talking therapies. This is where Ilum sits. Often you will be offered a single type of therapy, it may be CBT, Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, Hypnosis etc. W, however, use a range of techniques to offer you a cure.
It is the irrational mind that causes the anxieties, fears and phobias. It overwhelms the rational mind leaving us trapped in a prison of fears. We combine different techniques by using their strengths to complement each other. We disconnect the irrational side of the Anxiety, fear or phobia from the memory manifestation of it.
Once the irrational side is gone, all that you’re left with is the controlled learning of what caused the Anxiety, fear or phobia and an understanding of how all you need is a realistic, healthy, fact-based emotion towards that situation or object.
This basically means if you’re afraid of dogs, we can help you with that so that feeling will be gone. You’ll no longer be dodging them in the street but you won’t be so at ease that you’ll go and try to pet a snarling Staffie.