If I told you that you have Glossophobia, you would probably first wonder what that is. Well between 20 and 25% of all Americans have it. It is the fear of public speaking.
There are many phobias that people have that they don’t know about or avoid the topic altogether. Many people just don’t pay attention to them until they pop up some where in our everyday life. People can fear anything. Science has categorized scores of phobias.
There are social phobias, like that of public speaking. There are acquired phobias. This is when something bad happens to you in your lifetime and you always become afraid of it. Agoraphobia means “fear of the marketplace.” This is the fear you get when you are away from a safe place like home. This phobia is especially strong in women. Women have a hidden fear of rape or being compromised, so they feel more secure by staying at home.
Not to be out done, many men have a fear of doing their job properly at work. This can cause anxiety, stress, and short tempers. Many men bring these home from work to their families in the evening without even knowing it. Many wives and children feel like they are walking on eggs, when the man comes home. They have to judge how the man will react to certain situations.
The National Institute of Mental Health says that 19.2 million people are being currently treated for phobias of one type or another. After the bridge collapse in Minnesota this past summer, there was an increase in Gephysrophobia cases. This is the fear of bridge collapse. The same is true with 9-11 phobias. There was an increase in the fear of flying called Aviaphobia and Altophobia the fear of heights. These were set in motion by the events of that sad day.
So what is a phobia? The National Institute of Mental Health has come up with a simple definition. They are an irrational fear of things that can’t harm us. When a fear is so intense that it affects our daily lives, it is considered a phobia.
People that have very severe phobias, can lead to chronic depression, schizophrenia, and mental illness. Many people find ways to avoid facing their fears (phobias). Still others have to seek help because of their jobs or way of life. Adding to the problem, is when someone is unexpectedly thrown into something that they fear. The sudden surprise along with the phobia itself compounds the problem.
Geeta Aatre-Prashar, a psychologist at St. Louis University, says that “Phobias seem to be a combination of external events with a predisposition.” The predisposition appears to be the culprit. It is a form of brain chemistry.
A good example of this would be two children witnessing a violent crime. One grows up afraid of violence while the other grows up to become a policeman. The predisposition has different affects on different people. It is a perception of how we view things.
A phobia can cause a panic attack that lead to other dangers. For example, a person in a car on a bridge, that fears a bridge collapse, jumps out of their car only to be hit another car in ongoing traffic. A panic attack is similar to heart attack. You can feel it coming on but, you can’t stop or control it.
The good news is that an individual can be treated successfully for a phobia. Of all the mental disorders, phobias are the easiest to deal with. sometimes the fear is not all that bad. Fear can be useful. It can be used as a tool to warn us something bad might be about to happen. What an individual has to do though is use good common sense. Just because one bridge falls, doesn’t mean another will. Control over your phobias is important. Once you learn to master them, you can lead a normal life. There is help available in working on these controls. Take it step by step to desensitize your fears. If this requires a professional for help, seek one out.
The key in treating any phobia is the individual himself. If they are motivated, they can succeed and live a normal life.
Geeta Aatre-Prashar, St. Louis University