Phobias are irrational fears that are disproportionate to the real threat to the individual. Phobias can present as agoraphobia, characterised by avoidance of certain places, outdoors and situations. Social phobia is a fear or panic of public speaking or even just bumping into people in a supermarket or at social events. Specific phobias involve marked anxiety or panic triggered by an unnatural and irrational fear. Some common specific phobias include fear of spiders, heights, flying, specific animals, birds, other creatures and even technology.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is used by practitioners to restructure thinking and modify behaviour. Some specialists use exposure therapy to enable the individual to slowly and gradually face their fears, by becoming ‘used’ to the stimulus that triggers the anxiety. Desensitising a person will help build confidence to overcome and control fear.