What is fear?
Fear is our defense mechanism. It activates when there are some dangers and is one of the basic primordial emotions.
How does it work?
In our brains, there is a part called the amygdala, it plays a role in decision-making, responding to emotions, and processing memory.
When something scares us, like a lion, the amygdala is activated, which prepares our body for a fight or flight situation. It triggers a variety of hormonal mechanisms that lead to the release of stress hormones, adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol.
They raise the pressure, accelerate the heart, increase blood sugar levels, divert blood from the periphery of our body to vital organs, raise muscle tone.
What controls fear?
Larger functions of our brain take their steps. The hippocampus and the anterior lobe of the brain are activated and decide whether the threat is real or false.
If they estimate it to be false, they outgrow the amygdala and lower our organism to normal levels. Otherwise, they propel us into action.
When is fear dangerous for health?
Imagine someone who is under constant fear (soldiers in war, police officers, firefighters, doctors …), at one point, our body cannot handle all that. Sleep disturbances, eating, anxiety, and depression occur, the inability to divert our thoughts and stuff to phobia, jump in pressure, develop diabetes and heart problems.
Types of fears
There are three types of fear in psychology and psychiatry:
- Real fear – the fear of really dangerous situations or creatures, such as the fear of an angry dog, snake, some wildlife, fire, earthquake, etc
- Neurotic fear – irrational or exaggerated fear of some external objects, such as the previously stated phobic fear of confined space (claustrophobia) or of the street (agoraphobia), excessive fear of airplanes, cars, etc
- Anxiety – A fear that has no source in an external situation.
What are the most common fears that bother people?
If we are afraid of a situation or a person who is truly threatening then that fear is adequate. And if we are afraid of situations or people who are not realistically threatening, then fear is inadequate. The fears that people most often have problems with are inadequate, that is when people fear situations, things, phenomena that are not objectively threatening.
Phobias are one of the inadequate fears.
Phobia is an unfounded or irrational fear of objects, ideas, or situations. This is said to be an irrational fear because a person with phobic fear often lacks rational and understandable reasons for fearing a particular thing.
Types of phobias
Some of the most common phobias are:
It represents a fear of open spaces, squares, and streets. The cause of agoraphobia can be multiple: we can relate our previous traumatic experience on the street to a particular place, then generalize our fear to all open places, and avoid streets and squares because they are associated with past unpleasant experiences. Also, we can project our deep unconscious fears for various reasons on the outside and fear the open space without a clear and rational reason
This is a type of phobia characterized by an irrational fear of being judged and criticized by other people.
In the presence of others, we may experience intense discomfort caused by fear of humiliation, shame, confusion…
Social phobia can be mild or extreme or anywhere inbetween but unless you want to become a recluse, it’s worth doing your best to overcome it.
It is the fear of closed space or physical barriers.
But it can affect you, even in larger spaces – as with almost anything to do with our minds, fear isn’t totally rational which is annoying at best and limiting at worst.
It is the fear of heights. This is perfectly natural – it’s part of our survival mechanism. And, in certain instances like being too close to a cliff edge, it’s very useful.
But if you suffer from fear of heights and maybe can’t use a glass encased lift or take a room in a hotel above a couple of floors, it’s worth getting help – hypnosis works really well for this.
Here are some more interesting phobias :
- Ailurophobia – fear of cats
- Atelophobia – fear of imperfection
- Bibliophobia – fear of books
- Bacteriophobia – fear of bacteria
- Coulrophobia – fear of clowns
- Cynophobia – fear of dogs
- Philophobia – fear of love
- Gephyrophobia – fear of bridges
- Gynophobia – fear of women
- Xenophobia – fear of strangers
- Trypophobia – fear of holes or textures with a pattern of holes