Phobias Fighting The Fear By Helen Saul

1731 words - 7 pages

Imagine walking into a party and thick mob people. A woman walks in at the same time with a horrified look on her face. She grabs her head, she is shaking, her eyes close, and she starts to hyperventilate. This woman has a fear of crowds. Fears like, what this woman has, develop into phobias. People live their lives in fear and are consumed by it but some fear is actually good. Too much fear can result in a phobia. A phobia is a fear that interferes with normal living. This fear can be so over bearing that it can cause someone to have stomach aches, high blood pressure, ulcers, skin rashes, headaches, and other health problems (Orr, 1999). Phobias can cause a person to avoid tasks if their fear gets in the way. According to Abramovitz (2003), “5 to 12 percent of Americans have some kind of phobia.” Phobias are not just a recent discovery.
The origins of phobias date back 2,400 years ago when Hippocrates was documenting cases of them. According to Hippocrates the first patient, “through bashfulness, suspicion and timorousness will not be seen abroad, loves darkness as life and cannot endure the light, or sit in lightsome places, his hat over his eyes, he will neither see nor be seen by his good will” and the second patient, he said, ”dared not to come in company for fear he should be misused, disgraced, overshoot himself in gesture or speech, or be sick; he thinks every man observes him, aims at him, derides him, owes him malice.” As Hippocrates observed back then, phobias have not changed. He saw people with all different kinds of phobias. That is anywhere from animal phobias to social phobias and other fears that can be seen in any case today. It just so happens that the Greek word phobos means “intense fear or terror” and it translates into our word phobia (Saul, 2001, p. 18-20). In Helen Saul’s book Phobias Fighting the Fear she states, “”Learning and memory are built on experience alone,” Locke said. Phobias are therefore learnt as a result of a bad experience. And like behavioral therapist today, he said that fear can also be unlearnt through experiences.” (2001, p. 26). John Locke was a 17th century philosopher that argued the empiricist view. There are others who researched phobias in history.
Sigmund Freud also had ideas about phobias. Sigmund Freud was a psychologist who came up with the Oedipus complex between 1909 and 1910 and the “id” and the “ego”. The Oedipus complex is where a boy has an infatuation for his mother and sees his father as a threat. This can cause the boy to have an anxiety attack. A single one with palpitations or breathlessness can be enough to trigger a phobia. During an attack the ego feels helpless and deals with it by projecting the anxiety externally. The anxiety attack then becomes associated with something out side the mind. It is easier to control outside situations than internal thoughts and the phobia becomes a way of expressing a terrifying reaction. This process is carried out at a subconscious...

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