Many people experience fears or Phobias. While these two terms may be easily confused, there is a significant difference between the two concepts. Fears can be defined as a healthy response to dangerous situations. Many times fear provides an almost instinctual response of fight, flight, and freeze in situations where the body responds to a perceived threat in a way that it may be protected. Phobias, on the other hand, are described as persistent, irrational thoughts toward an object or situation. This situation is then avoided at all costs and could impair a person’s everyday living. Examples of some Phobias could include those towards spiders, the dark, or of heights.

Periodically a single event could cause a phobia, but there are also some people who may be more vulnerable to developing Phobias during their lifespan. Personality, genetic influences, and even repetitive frightening situations to which the person has been exposed can all contribute to developing Phobias. Phobias are not a result of weakness, but rather a form of self-protection. The brain’s ‘alarm system’ responds out of proportion to a perceived threat in an attempt to protect itself. As a result, the person becomes convinced that the danger is greater than it really is.

Therapy can address these fears and Phobias so that a person can respond differently to situations in which they find themselves.