Everybody has his or her own particular fears and dislikes – they’re normal.
A phobia, though, is something else. Most people who come across, say, a cockroach will feel revulsion; people with a phobia of insects may experience overwhelming fear and anxiety – even though the bug presents no direct danger to them.
Phobias can seriously cripple a teen’s ability to function in school and social life. Additionally, phobias can lead to social rejection if they’re perceived as silly by a teen’s peers. Sovereign Health provides a tolerant, understanding place for teens to heal at Rancho San Diego, a residential phobia treatment center for boys and girls aged 12 to 17.
What Are Phobias?
Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder based around an intense, irrational fear of a person, place, thing or situation. Phobias create sensations of intense, overwhelming anxiety. A person with a phobia may even unconsciously begin to organize their life around avoiding the subject of their fear.
Some phobias – fears of animal attack, heights – are more manageable than others. Phobias of unavoidable situations – public places, attending school – can be absolutely destructive to normal functioning, especially in a teenager. In general, phobias can be categorized into the following groups:
- Specific phobias: A phobia about a specific situation, person or thing, these are the classic phobias that come to most people’s minds.
- Social phobia: One of the two complex phobias, a person with a social phobia finds social situations intensely uncomfortable. Often, this phobia runs hand-in-hand with fears of failure, humiliation and rejection. Even going to a party will create massive anxiety for a person with this phobia. Teens with this phobia can miss out on important social events. Social phobia, however, should never be compared with shyness.
- Agoraphobia: The other complex phobia, people with agoraphobia dread being in situations where there’s no escape. It’s a phobia that may mean being uncomfortable in an enclosed space such as a bus or airplane; in extreme cases people with agoraphobia might have a panic attack after leaving their home.
Symptoms of Phobias
Symptoms of phobic disorder may include:
- Suddenly feeling hot or cold
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Intense nervousness and anxiety