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Millions of people suffer from phobias. Some of the weirdest phobias revolve around fear of clocks, garlic and even certain people. Find out more by watching this video.
Transcript: Any phobia is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by an intense, irrational fear of a particular...
Any phobia is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by an intense, irrational fear of a particular situation, object or animal. Most people realize their fears are extreme, but the anxiety is very real, regardless of how common or rare the phobia. Food-related phobias include the fear of garlic, fear of vegetables, fear of meat and even the fear of food itself. If these sound unusual, consider arachibutyrophobia, which is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one's mouth! Body parts also provide their fair share of terror-inducing phobias. Genuphobia is the fear of knees. Omphalophobia is the fear of belly buttons. But surely the oddest in this category is geniophobia, which is the abnormal - and definitely peculiar - fear of chins! Animals also figure prominently in odd phobias. Ranidaphobics fear frogs, mottephobics fear moths and lutraphobia evokes horror in response to otters. But, the weirdest of these by far is zemmiphobia - fear of the Great Mole Rat, a hairless, sightless buck-toothed rodent that lives underground. Phobias of specific objects are common, but some are less common than others. Aulophibics have a morbid fear of flutes, chronomentrophobics have a horror of clocks and cnidophobics are terrified of string. However, the most perplexing may be consecotaleophobia - the fear of chopsticks. Another consideration: it's not uncommon to have more than one phobia - and conflicting phobias could be a real problem. For example, a man with pogonophobia, the fear of beards, might experience even greater anguish if he was also affected by xyrophobia - the fear of razors! Phobias may also be problematic in more ways than one. For instance, vestiphobics, who have a morbid fear of clothing, most certainly experience major issues beyond the fear itself. Clearly, it would be especially difficult also to suffer from gymnophobia, the fear of nudity. Other phobia combinations might actually come in handy. The anablephobic who's afraid of looking up might not have a huge problem with nephophobia, the fear of clouds or astrophobia, which is the fear of stars. Another odd phobia, which may not be so odd but bears mentioning is pentheraphobia, an intensely disabling fear of one's mother-in-law! Honorable mention for the weirdest phobias also goes to: pteronophobia, the fear of being tickled by feathers; helminthophobia, the fear of being infested with worms: and blennophobia, the fear of slime. Most phobias can be successfully treated. If you - or someone you know - is affected by phobias, consult a mental health professional.More »
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Imagine living your life afraid of food, or scared of people. While these phobias may seem irrational to some, to others, they are debilitating. Test your phobia IQ now!
Last Modified: 2013-08-29 | Tags »
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Hypnotherapy is a common treatment for anxiety. While anxiety can be debilitating, knowing your options can help you choose the best treatment for anxiety.
Transcript: Anxiety disorders are debilitating by definition, but there are a wide range of treatment options that...
Anxiety disorders are debilitating by definition, but there are a wide range of treatment options that can help! Usually, anxiety disorders are treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. The most common anti-anxiety medications are known as benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines, like Klonopin and Xanax, help ease feelings of anxiety in the short-term. Aside from anti-anxiety drugs, anti-depressants like Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft can be used to treat anxiety disorders. Finally, a type of heart medication called beta-blockers may help treat the physical symptoms of anxiety. All three types of prescription drugs usually work best when combined with some form of psychotherapy. One common psychotherapy technique, cognitive therapy, helps a sufferer change the thinking that leads to anxiety. During cognitive therapy, a patient with social phobia may work on seeing social situations in a more positive way or, a person with generalized anxiety disorder might learn that his or her intense worries are disproportionate to reality. On the other hand, behavioral psychotherapy helps people alter the way they react to anxiety-inducing situations. That might mean repeat exposure to dirt for a person with germ-phobic OCD or it could involve deep breathing exercises for a person prone to panic attacks. These two types of psychotherapy are often combined in an approach known as cognitive-behavioral therapy, or CBT. Sometimes, a psychologist will add a hypnotherapy component to any psychological treatment. While in a heightened, hypnotic state, an individual may be more receptive to discussion and suggestion. Hypnotherapy is one of several alternative therapies, which may help treat an anxiety disorder. Alternative therapies refer to treatments that are not necessarily backed by scientific trials, but which may have value to a patient nonetheless. Other non-Western therapies include acupuncture, which involves inserting thin needles in specific parts of the body and taking herbal supplements, like valerian or St. John's wort. However, any and all treatment options should be discussed with your doctor. So if you, or someone you love, is suffering from severe anxiety, talk to a medical professional!More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-05 | Tags »
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Everyone fears something. But there's a big difference between temporary anxiety and the crippling, uncontrollable fear that can result from a phobia. Take this quiz to learn the real facts on fear!
Last Modified: 2013-08-29 | Tags »
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People with hypochondria believe they are seriously ill, despite doctors saying otherwise. Watch this video to get details on the causes, symptoms and treatments of hypochondria.
Transcript: The American Psychological Association claims five-percent of all U.S. adults suffer from hypochondria....
The American Psychological Association claims five-percent of all U.S. adults suffer from hypochondria. Hypochondria is a mental illness where a person worries and fears they're seriously ill, despite all contradicting medical evaluations and assurances. Hypochondriacs misinterpret normal bodily functions or minor health issues as signs that something very serious is wrong. For example, a hypochondriac may misplace his wallet and become convinced that he's developed Alzheimer's disease; or he might be certain a standard headache is really a brain tumor. Hypochondriacs tend to exacerbate their condition by obsessively consuming medical research, frequently checking their vital signs, such as temperature and heart rate, and by regularly scouring their bodies for lumps, sores, or other problems. When doctors reassure them nothing's wrong, hypochondriacs may go "doctor shopping," looking for practitioners who believe them that they're sick. Hypochondriacs can get so obsessed that their work, family and social lives suffer. And 60-percent of people with this condition also suffer from another mental illness, namely major depression or an anxiety disorder. Doctors find that a history of physical or sexual abuse may foreshadow hypochondria. Growing up with a hypochondriac parent, or having a serious illness, as a child is also a factor. Whatever the cause, hypochondria is tough to treat, as patients have a hard time admitting that their problems are mental, not physical. Talk therapy is the most common treatment for people seeking help. In therapy, patients learn how to change the thinking and behaviors behind their symptoms. Certain medications, like Lexapro, Paxil and other antidepressants in the selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor class, are also helpful. The goal of treatment is not to cure hypochondria, but help the patient live as normally as possible, even if symptoms continue. If you or a loved one seems to suffer from hypochondria, make an appointment to see a mental health professional.More »
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Fears and phobias are not just a psychological problem, they can be physically crippling as well. Learn more about the connection in this video.
Transcript: A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, and is defined as an intense, irrational fear of a particular...
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, and is defined as an intense, irrational fear of a particular situation, object, animal or activity. People who suffer from a phobia may experience extreme emotional and physical reactions when encountering their particular fear. Nearly everyone fears something. Some people become anxious during thunderstorms. Others get queasy in tall buildings. Still others find themselves jumping onto a chair at the sight of a tiny mouse. But there's a big difference between temporary anxiety that's experienced occasionally and the often crippling, uncontrollable fear that can result in a person going to great lengths to avoid their phobia - even if it means missing a job interview, vacation or school play. When people with phobias can't avoid what they're afraid of, they may experience various symptoms, such as a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, trembling or weakness. Most people with phobias realize their fear is excessive and irrational. But they typically are unable to overcome their feelings of dread and the often desperate need to escape the subject of their phobia. Ultimately, this may interfere with the ability to function in daily life. The American Psychiatric Association divides phobias into three main categories including Specific Phobias, Social Phobia - also known as Social Anxiety Disorder -- and Agoraphobia. Specific Phobias, also known as Simple Phobias, are the irrational fear of a very specific situation, place, animal or object. The most common specific phobia is fear of animals such as dogs, cats, mice, snakes or spiders. And that's ONLY the tip of the iceberg. The "Phobias List" identifies more than 500 Specific Phobias, ranging from fear of garlic, dust, clocks and comets, to dancing, snow, strings and puppets. A person with social phobia may be intensely fearful of being singled out, talking to strangers, ridicule, eating or showing embarrassment in social situations. The most common social phobia is fear of public speaking. Agoraphobia is a fear of any situation where it may be difficult to escape or get help if needed. People with agoraphobia often feel unsafe in any public place and may become so disabled by their fear that they become housebound. Phobias typically develop early in life. They may be triggered by experiences, but also tend to run in families. So children whose parents have a phobia are about three times as likely to develop a similar phobia, than where there is no family history. Phobias are the most common anxiety disorder among women overall, and the second-most common anxiety disorder among men over 25. For people who suffer from a phobia, the effects can be life altering. Their lives are often planned around avoiding, concealing or defending their phobia, while struggling to cope with their fear. Most phobias can be successfully treated. If you - or someone you know - is affected by phobias, consult a mental health professional.More »
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Phobias are characterized by intense avoidance of things, from enclosed spaces to social situations. While debilitating, anxiety management and exposure therapy can help alleviate fear. Take a quick look at some common aversions.
Transcript: Most everyone fears something. Typically, we control our fears and continue with our daily activities....
Most everyone fears something. Typically, we control our fears and continue with our daily activities. Some people, however, experience exaggerated and irrational fear of a specific situation, place, animal or object. This anxiety may be so intense that it results in a panic attack. People who experience such exaggerated and irrational fears have a Specific Phobia. The most common Specific Phobia is fear of animals. And, while there are literally hundreds of Specific Phobias documented, other common fears include blood, heights, enclosed places, elevators, flying, lightning, dentists and insects. Although people who suffer from Specific Phobias may realize their fear is unreasonable, they are unable to prevent the intense anxiety and dread that may occur if they encounter the subject of their fear - and, sometimes, when they're simply just thinking about it. When people with a Specific Phobia are unable to avoid the source of their fear, they may experience extreme anxiety and discomfort, along with various other symptoms, such as a rapid heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, trembling, weakness or even a panic attack. The good news is that many Specific Phobias are relatively simple to avoid. For example, a fear of pigs probably wouldn't pose a problem in a big city. Similarly a fear of trains could be avoided by choosing a different mode of transportation. On the other hand, a fear of flying would be a significant issue for someone whose job requires traveling. And fears of making decisions, lightning or even dogs could potentially keep a person housebound, unable to attend to their daily responsibilities. Specific Phobias often begin in childhood, and rarely after the mid-20s. They also tend to run in families. For example, the child of a parent who has a fear of spiders is likely also to develop that same fear. Most people with Specific Phobias can improve their quality of life and reduce their fears through treatment from a trained therapist. Treatment may involve cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, relaxation techniques, anxiety management or medication - usually in a combination that's tailored to the patient's needs. The aim of treatment is to help patients reduce their anxiety and overcome their fears by confronting the phobia in a controlled way, or through gradual exposure to the subject of their fear. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs may also be used to help reduce symptoms and enhance the therapy's effectiveness. Specific Phobias can be treated successfully. If you - or someone you know - is affected by Specific Phobia, consult a mental health professional.More »
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For a person with obsessive compulsive disorder, overwhelming, unwanted compulsions are tied to obsessive behaviors, like ritualistic counting. Recognizing OCD is the first step to getting help. Here's a primer.
Transcript: Stress is part of life. So are routines. With OCD, a type of anxiety disorder, normal concerns and habits...
Stress is part of life. So are routines. With OCD, a type of anxiety disorder, normal concerns and habits are pushed aside by unwanted thoughts, which compel a person compulsively to perform rituals to make the thoughts go away. The first step toward diagnosis - and, ultimately, getting help - is understanding OCD's symptoms, which are each affected person's unique obsessions and the compulsive behaviors that result. Obsessions are uncontrollable fears, irrational impulses, and persistent, unwanted thoughts that occupy the mind of a person affected by OCD. These obsessions typically center on themes, like fear of contamination, harm or losing control; perfectionism, unwanted sexual thoughts, and excessive preoccupation with morality and/or religion, also called scrupulosity. Compulsions, which are the persistent repetitive actions by people with OCD, are usually performed according to "rules" that their minds tell them will make everything okay. A person with OCD may constantly scrub household areas, recheck that tasks are performed correctly - like making sure the burglar alarm is on - repeat activities according to a "safe" number, or continually rearrange items to be sure they're "right." The difference between typical concerns about illness or finances, and habits like bedtime rituals or "cleaning day," is that the anxiety is temporary and the routines typically flexible. For people with OCD, constant anxiety and necessary rituals interfere with daily living. Unfortunately, most people with OCD remain undiagnosed for years. One reason for this is that OCD sufferers often hide their behaviors, fearing embarrassment, ridicule or discrimination. Others simply don't think of their behavior in terms of a treatable illness. If you - or someone you know - is affected by OCD, it's important to realize that there's no shame in seeking help. In fact, talking to a family doctor or a mental health professional is a positive step toward regaining control of one's daily life. There are several components to an accurate diagnosis of OCD including a thorough psychological, medical and family history, as well as a discussion of specific symptoms and behavior patterns. Diagnosing OCD involves meeting the criteria published by the American Psychiatric Association - including experiencing obsessions or compulsions that significantly interfere with one's daily routine, and realizing they're excessive or unreasonable. The clinician also confirms that the obsessions are intrusive, persistent thoughts that cause distress and can't be suppressed - and that the compulsive, repetitive behaviors are an effort to prevent anxiety about unrealistic obsessions. Symptoms of OCD are the obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors meeting the American Psychiatric Association's criteria. And once diagnosed, there are treatments that can help. For concerns about OCD, consult a mental health professional.More »
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Getting a proper diagnosis for a phobia will help you get control over your disorder and find a suitable treatment. To know more, watch this video.
Transcript: Fear is a normal response when health or safety is threatened. Yet for people with phobias, the MOST...
Fear is a normal response when health or safety is threatened. Yet for people with phobias, the MOST common of anxiety disorders, irrational fear of a situation or object may result in SUCH extreme emotional and physical reactions that daily life suffers dramatically. Common phobias involve an intense and unreasonable fear of anything from social situations, to public places that appear to be inescapable or dangerous, as well as objects or animals. When these fears become so all-consuming that they prevent a person from living a normal life, it's wise to consider seeking professional help. While there are no laboratory tests to diagnose phobias, a family physician will know the questions to ask in order to determine whether the fears are actually caused by a phobia - or if the symptoms may be masking a physical illness. Diagnosing a phobia involves meeting the criteria published by the American Psychiatric Association and varies slightly according to the three main categories of phobias: Specific Phobias, also known as Simple Phobias; Social Phobia, also known as Social Anxiety Disorder; and Agoraphobia, which may be accompanied by panic attacks. The common factor in all diagnosed phobias is the presence of persistent and irrational fear of a situation or object, the realization that the fear is unreasonable and uncontrollable, intense anxiety when exposed to the fear, and avoiding the source of fear at all costs. Most phobias can be treated effectively using various techniques to help reduce the fear and anxiety that arises in response to the fear. These techniques include: behavioral therapy, medication - or a combination of the two, depending on the type of phobia. Behavioral therapy typically involves working with a trained therapist who helps patients confront the source of their fear through real or imagined scenarios. The goal is to help patients learn to conquer fear and anxiety through gradual, repeated exposure to the subject of the phobia. A therapist may address fear of flying by having the patient look at airplane pictures, then go to an airport, sit on an airplane and - ultimately - taking a flight. A similar approach would be used with a patient who fears dogs. Various medications are also used in the treatment of phobias. Tranquilizers such as Valium and Xanax may be used to treat the anxiety that accompanies phobias, while anti-depressants like Zoloft or Paxil may be used to help prevent the panic attacks that often accompany symptoms of agoraphobia. Phobias can often interfere with leading a normal life. But, in most cases, phobias can be successfully treated with behavioral therapy and medication. For help with a phobia, consult your doctor or mental health professional.More »
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What is agoraphobia? It is a type of anxiety disorder that often causes panic attacks. Learn about agoraphobia here in this video.
Transcript: Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder that often occurs in combination with panic attacks, also called...
Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder that often occurs in combination with panic attacks, also called Panic Disorder, and is a fear of being in any place or situation where it would be difficult to escape or get help if needed. The literal translation of Agoraphobia is "fear of the marketplace," which may lead to the incorrect assumption that Agoraphobics are simply afraid to go outside. However, a person with Agoraphobia typically feels unsafe in any public place - especially those places that tend to be crowded. Common fears of an Agoraphobic include crowded shopping malls, using public transportation or flying on an airplane, being stuck on a crowded bridge or freeway, standing in line, or attending sporting events. These fears may be heightened by fear of a panic attack, which typically involves such extreme fear and intense physical symptoms - such as trouble breathing, chest pain and lightheadedness - that a person with Agoraphobia may feel like they're going crazy or might even die. A panic attack may come on suddenly, and without warning - while standing in line at the market, sitting on a bus or simply out watching a movie with friends. The unpredictability of the panic attacks often leads to avoiding places where an attack previously occurred. As a result, people with Agoraphobia often develop "safe zones" where they can go without experiencing severe anxiety. The severity of Agoraphobia varies. Some people simply avoid fear-provoking situations and lead a relatively normal life. Others may experience such constant anxiety about when and where a panic attack might occur that they become afraid to venture from the safety of their home. Agoraphobia typically begins during adolescence or early adulthood, although it may also develop in young children and older adults. And, while the exact cause of Agoraphobia isn't known, researchers have identified several risk factors including: stressful childhood events, a tendency toward anxiety, and panic-like symptoms. Women are also three times more likely to develop Agoraphobia than men. Although Agoraphobia often results in isolation, depression and even substance abuse to help cope with fear and loneliness, there are treatments that can help. The first step is to see a doctor for a complete physical exam to rule out any medical causes. Most people with Agoraphobia can improve their quality of life with treatment from a trained therapist. The most effective treatments for Agoraphobia are cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy, which help patients overcome anxiety and fear through controlled, gradual exposure. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs may also be used to help reduce symptoms and enhance the therapy's effectiveness. Agoraphobia can be treated successfully. If you - or someone you know - is affected by Agoraphobia, consult a mental health professional.More »
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What is a social phobia? A social phobia is the fear of certain types of situations, such as such as public speaking. Get the basics here.
Transcript: Many people feel ill at ease in social situations. However, people who suffer from Social Phobia often...
Many people feel ill at ease in social situations. However, people who suffer from Social Phobia often experience SUCH extreme fear of scrutiny, humiliation or being judged by others that they may have a panic attack - or simply avoid social situations altogether. The most common form of Social Phobia is fear of public speaking. It is also typical to fear social situations to the extent that EVEN the possibility of interpersonal interaction can cause extreme distress and an overwhelming desire to escape or avoid the situation. Some Social Phobias are confined to a specific situation, such as intense fear of using a public restroom, eating with strangers, making a phone call, being called on in a meeting or having to meet someone new. When people with Social Phobia aren't able to avoid the feared social situation, they may experience a variety of symptoms including rapid heartbeat, dizziness, shortness of breath, excessive sweating, trembling or weakness. Blushing Phobia, called Erythrophobia, may also accompany Social Phobia. People with Blushing Phobia typically experience extreme, uncontrolled blushing even in casual social situations. Knowing that others see them blushing causes considerable embarrassment and nervousness - and even more blushing. Most people with Social Phobia may recognize that their fears are unreasonable and excessive, yet they typically are unable to control their anxiety, as well as the physical and psychological reactions experienced when they come face to face with the source of their fear. Social Phobia typically develops between the ages of 11 and 15, and rarely after the age of 25. And, while Social Phobia affects both males and females, women and girls are twice as likely as men and boys to develop Social Phobia. Ultimately, Social Phobia may become so debilitating that it can keep a person from being successful at work or school, as well as prevent them from experiencing what would otherwise be enjoyable activities with colleagues, family and friends. Most people with Social Phobia can obtain relief from their fear and anxiety by seeking help from a trained therapist. Treatment typically includes behavioral therapy, medication - or, often, a combination of the two. Behavior therapy helps Social Phobia sufferers through coping skills, relaxation techniques and cognitive therapies that may help change unwanted thought patterns through controlled exposure to their fear. Medications used in the treatment of Social Phobia often include antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs, which can help alleviate symptoms and enhance the effectiveness of therapy. Social Phobia can be treated successfully. If you - or someone you know - is affected by Social Phobia, consult a mental health professional.More »
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Millions of Americans suffer from panic attacks. But what are panic attacks and how does someone deal with them? Check out this video to find out more about what to do if you have a panic attack.
Transcript: For the two to six million Americans that suffer from panic attacks, what's the best way to deal with...
For the two to six million Americans that suffer from panic attacks, what's the best way to deal with them? Panic attacks are sudden episodes of intense fear or panic accompanied by physical symptoms, like a racing heartbeat and dizziness. For people who suffer from panic attacks, it can be immensely helpful to learn in-the-moment anxiety management techniques. One particularly effective one is to breathe slowly and deeply at the first sign of an attack. This may sound simple, but during a panic attack, most people find that they either tend to hold their breath or that their breathing speeds up with their heartbeat, becoming shallow and somewhat ragged. These responses make symptoms worse, which is why individuals who suffer from panic attacks can benefit from breath re-training. To do this exercise, an individual finds a time when he or she is relaxed and then practices taking deep breaths from the diaphragm, rather than shallow ones from the chest. This means inhaling and expanding the belly, and then exhaling, and pushing all the air out of the belly. Also known as yoga breathing, this is a powerful way for people who feel out of control to help themselves when having an attack. Once a person masters this skill he or she can try it while walking or conversing with someone. Eventually, relaxing diaphragmatic breathing becomes second nature, so that it's easy to use even when panicking. Muscle relaxation goes hand-in-hand with this type of deep breathing. Anxiety causes muscles to tense up, so making a conscious effort to relax them one by one helps ease symptoms. The activity also takes a sufferer's mind off the attack itself. It's also vital to learn to stop and think during a panic attack. Sometimes, ending the cycle of racing thoughts can be as easy as taking a moment to focus on them. The "stop and think" method helps when fears of going insane or dying accompany a panic attack, a frequent and unfortunate occurrence. Finally, people with panic attacks need to be aware that stepping away from the panic-inducing situation can help ameliorate an attack. Sufferers shouldn't be afraid to leave, or to ask for help doing so. And while these self-help methods work, it can also be immensely effective to see a mental health professional to discuss anxiety management techniques. They will also be able to prescribe medication, like Klonopin or Xanax, which help ease panic symptoms. Remember, there is relief for panic attacks! If you can't get yours under control, get professional medical help!More »
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