(ORDO NEWS) — Fear is a normal feeling associated with the instinct of self-preservation. Moreover, this feeling in case of danger can save a life.
That’s why. as we discussed earlier in the article on fear, it is built into our DNA. However, sometimes there are no objective reasons for fear, as a result of which it simply prevents a person from living a full life.
Irrational uncontrollable fears are called phobias. They are very different – people can be afraid of spiders, snakes in closed spaces, ponds, heights, etc. But where do phobias come from? According to scientists, they arose in the course of evolution.
True, it is still not clear why a reasonable fear develops into a phobia. However, there are some assumptions about this that we want to share with you.
What are phobias and how do they manifest?
First of all, we note that sometimes there is a very thin line between a phobia and reasonable fear, as a result of which it can be difficult to distinguish it from irrational fear.
For example, if a person is at a high altitude, fear is a completely natural feeling. Most people in this situation will behave more cautiously.
As we said above, a phobia is considered a fear that does not correspond to objective reality, it can be excessive or occur where there are no reasons for this.
For example, if a person is afraid to even approach a window on a high floor, although in reality nothing threatens him, then this is already acrophobia, and not a rational fear.
Most phobias have the same symptoms, and differ only in the direction of the fear. A person tries in every possible way to avoid situations that frighten him.
Sometimes people start thinking about a frightening situation or object, causing them to become anxious for no apparent reason.
When confronted with an object or situation that causes unjustified fear, a person’s heart rate increases, pupils dilate, and breathing becomes rapid.
Why do phobias occur?
According to Ron Rapi, professor of psychology and director of the Center for Emotional Health at Macquarie University, phobias tend to develop in relation to objects and situations that can be explained in terms of evolution.
That is, people are afraid of snakes, spiders, heights, thunderstorms, etc.
At the same time, no one is afraid of wires and sockets, although they can sometimes kill a person too. This suggests that phobias have been around since ancient times.
But how and why does irrational fear arise instead of rational fear? According to one theory, phobias occur during key periods of development, that is, in early childhood.
They can arise from bad experiences, for example, after being bitten by a dog, a person may become afraid of dogs.
This theory was first proposed by Sigmund Freud. In his opinion, fears in adulthood are influenced by experiences in childhood.
The memory of events in early childhood may be suppressed, but eventually it manifests itself in the form of phobias.
However, for most people, phobias are not associated with some kind of trauma or other unpleasant situations in childhood. Therefore, many scientists do not agree with this theory.
Yes, it is possible that a childhood negative experience can develop into a phobia, but for most people the cause of phobias is different.
In particular, this opinion is shared by Joel Paris, Professor of Psychiatry at McGill University.
Obviously, for a phobia to arise, a person does not have to have a negative experience himself. Unfounded fears can arise from the negative experience of another person.
For example, if the danger was told or shown. This means that certain films seen as a child, or warnings from parents, can become a catalyst for phobias.
Can phobias be “hereditary”?
It is quite possible that not all phobias are “trained” by a person. Some psychologists argue that phobias can be innate.
This theory is called “non-associative explanation”. The first study on this subject was published in the journal Behavior Research and Therapy in the late 90s.
“Perhaps some people are genetically more predisposed to developing a phobia,” says Chris Askew, professor of psychology at the University of Surrey.
It is believed that phobias are even inherited. A study on hereditary phobias was published in 2017 in the journal Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience.
True, experts continue to argue on this score. It is possible that phobias themselves are not inherited, but people with certain traits are more likely to develop phobias.
That is, innate character traits can be a risk factor. A striking example of this is neuroticism, that is, a personality trait in which a person perceives the world as threatening and dangerous.
How to get rid of phobias
It is believed that in order to get rid of a phobia, it is necessary to face it and overcome it.
The bottom line is that a person must understand that his fears are not justified, and what he expects does not come true in the end.
However, most people try to avoid situations that cause them fear. Therefore, for most people, phobias last for a long time, sometimes for a lifetime.
Contact us: [email protected]