It’s official – we all have fears! Whether it’s a phobia of flying, insects or even something a little unconventional like oranges, it can be really hard to deal with. Some people aren’t even scared of physical things; it’s more that they’re afraid of certain situations and scenarios, such as failure or meeting new people. Phobias are maladaptive responses which go beyond the typical fight or flight responses. Scientists still aren’t sure if it’s genetic or environmental, but phobias can be very real psychological disorders.
So, What Can We Do About It?
Many people throughout the UK actually spend a lot of time and money on trying to treat their fears. In fact, according to a recent survey by Voucherbox, people spend an average of £100 on various treatments. The study says that 29% of respondents had been to hypnotherapy or psychotherapy. Hypnotherapy aims to safely access your subconscious to bring about positive changes whilst you’re in a ‘trance’. It hopes to re-program emotional responses. Psychotherapy usually involves seeing a psychologist or other professional, for a range of different types of treatments, including talking therapies. If you see your doctor, you might be referred for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or similar. Medicating people is also an option, but only if the fears are bringing about anxieties or depression; medication is typically a last resort.
Of course, the study also talks about education being the top way to overcome fears, and this is largely true. Take the fear of flying – aviophobia – for example. Many experts say that by educating yourself about the way planes work and the statistical risks, you can overcome it. The logic says that a fear of flying is actually really illogical. So, when you break things down and learn about why turbulence happens, and how many people actually get into plane crashes vs car crashes, you can find comfort in knowing that there’s only a really tiny chance that anything bad will happen to you.
Are We All Scared Of The Same Things?
When fears are broken down, they are likely to be as individual as we are. However, there are certain traits and trends depending on our gender, age or other contributing factors. According to the Voucherbox survey, women are more likely to be afraid of insects, whilst men are more likely to be afraid of personal failure. In fact, this is the most common fear in the UK, with 12% of people being afraid that they might lose their financial security, their job or their relationships and end up alone.
The top five most common fears are apparently personal failure (as stated), insects, personal anxieties, social situations and terrorism. Clearly, some will vary from society to society, but many people around the world will have similar ones. However, there are also some really odd ones, which include turophobia (the fear of cheese), or nomophobia (the fear of being without mobile phone coverage… which is actually probably pretty common in this day and age).
Phobias can strike anyone, and they don’t make you weak! Just remember that there is help out there. What’s the strangest phobia you’ve ever encountered?