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I Have Severe Phobias: Can You Help?

I Have Severe Phobias: Can You Help?

A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, and it’s an unrealistic, excessive fear of an object, person, animal, activity, or situation. When you’re living with a phobia, you do whatever you can to avoid the things that trigger your fear. Otherwise, you can experience a lot of unpleasant symptoms such as intense fear, feeling trapped, dizziness, nausea, and tunnel vision. 

Since having a phobia causes you to do whatever it takes to avoid that fear trigger, it can make your life incredibly difficult. It may not be as noticeable if you fear dogs or insects, but you may have a low quality of life if you have an extreme fear of water, heights, or tight spaces. In severe cases, it may even dictate your place of employment, commute, and social activities. 

Because of this, psychiatrist Venice Sanchez, MD, and her team want to help you better understand phobias and walk you through how to manage your paralyzing fears effectively. 

Understanding phobias

The term “phobia” is often used to describe a certain fear trigger. However, experts have divided phobias into three distinct categories, as follows:

Specific phobia

Specific phobia is the most common type of phobia and is triggered by a specific thing. You may be frightened by an animal (dogs, cats, spiders, or snakes), people (clowns or doctors), environments (dark places, heights, or thunderstorms), or situations (flying in a plane, being in a tight space, or crossing a bridge). 

Specific phobias are often inherited conditions.

Social anxiety disorder

Previously known as social phobia, social anxiety disorder is the fear of social situations where you could be embarrassed or humiliated. This phobia is particularly heightened when unfamiliar people are involved. You could fear something specific like speaking in public or just social situations in general. 

Social anxiety disorder tends to run in families but can also be brought on by childhood trauma.

Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is the fear of being in a public place that would make it difficult to make a quick exit if you started to experience panic. When you have this phobia, you may avoid crowded places such as movie theaters, concerts, or public transit. Agoraphobia is often accompanied by panic disorder. 

How are phobias treated?

When you come to see us for a particular phobia, our team sits down with you to discuss what your phobia entails, what your symptoms are, and when your phobia started. This helps us diagnose you effectively and develop a proper treatment plan.

For specific phobias, we can prescribe anti-anxiety medication for when you have to encounter your specific trigger such as when you’re flying in an airplane or traveling somewhere near water. 

In addition, we can provide psychotherapy to give you helpful tools for managing your anxiety along with exposure therapy that exposes you to your triggers in very controlled environments. 

If you have social anxiety disorder, our team can provide beta blockers to help you overcome debilitating physical symptoms such as increased heart rate and dizziness. Psychotherapy can help you overcome the general anxiety itself by giving you strategies on how to manage social fears.

Because agoraphobia causes panic attacks, it’s typically treated very similarly to panic disorder. We can prescribe anti-anxiety medications and provide psychotherapy. 

For expert phobia and anxiety treatment, schedule an appointment with Dr. Sanchez today by calling our office or booking online. We proudly serve the Newport Beach, California, area.

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