What is a Teen Phobia?
A Teen Phobia is an intense fear related to some specific person, thing, or event. A person can have a phobia, based on some past traumatic event or experience, or it can exist independent of any known or obvious reason. This overwhelming fear is so encompassing that it can often produce a panic attack if the person comes into contact with the phobia trigger. Because of this, a person with a Phobia will make great efforts to avoid any situation or context in which they’ll have to face or address it, which can create difficulty around the person trying to lead a normal, productive life. Some common examples of phobias are: flying, water, heights, and spiders.
What Does It Look Like?
While a person with a phobia may not exhibit the same specific symptoms consistently, some of the most common symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Panic attack symptoms (sweating, quick heart rate, chills, striking pains)
- Avoidance of situations where the Phobia trigger might be present
- Constant anxiety about coming into contact with the Phobia trigger
- Extremely distracted by the thoughts of the Phobia trigger
- A sense of being frozen and unable to respond, when in contact with the Phobia trigger
There are some known causes of phobias but research is ongoing. Sometimes, a person can have a phobia due to a traumatic incident earlier in life that produces an anxious reaction in the brain when brought back into contact with a related person, object, or event. Other times, phobias can seem to be consistent between a parent and child. There are other instances where the cause of the phobia is unknown.
Subtypes of Phobias
A Phobia related to a specific, known source. There is a long list of Specific Phobias, but some of the most common are:
- Fear of water
- Fear of heights
- Fear of flying
- Fear of sharp objects
- Fear of animals
Fear of Open Spaces
This Phobia, known as agoraphobia, is an extreme fear triggered by being in a space where escaping, in the case of an emergency, would be difficult. For instance, a crowded event, such as a concert or sporting event. This Phobia is most commonly related to and characterized by panic attacks. This anxiety can become so overwhelming that it causes a person to avoid leaving their house.
This is a Phobia characterized by an extreme sensitivity to and fear of what others might think or how they might be judged. Whereas all of us have thoughts and worries about how others perceive us, this Phobia is characterized by such intense worry of others’ opinions that a person avoids being around other people entirely.
Teen Phobia Treatment
For phobias, identifying the cause can sometimes, but not always, help a person move beyond it. However, teen phobia treatment most often involves a person learning other strategies to allow them to react differently to the anxiety, regardless of when it occurs. Therapy can also help a person learn to see the irrational nature of their fears, therefore learning to discern what is, and what is not, a reasonable reaction to oncoming anxious feelings.
Additional therapeutic techniques
Because phobias are a type of anxiety disorder, there are many other practices, geared towards helping a person relax, that can prove to be extremely helpful for a person to let go of old thought patterns and reactions, and develop new ones. Some of these practices include:
There are medications that can be used in conjunction with talk therapy for teen phobia treatment that can be very successful at helping lessen a person’s anxiety surrounding the phobia trigger, as well as provide overall ease.
How long will my phobia last if I don’t get teen phobia treatment?
It’s hard to say how long your phobia will last if you don’t get treatment, because this differs for each individual. However, among the people who do seek treatment, those who do so earlier, rather than later, tend to have quicker relief from the symptoms.
What if I’ve already learned to deal with my phobia?
It’s common for a person to learn ways to deal with their phobias, but often these measures include avoiding the trigger, which usually catches up with you sooner or later. Beyond this, a person trying to deal with a phobia by avoidance usually still suffers from an underlying sense of anxiety, caused by a constant need to avoid the trigger. We recommend treatment as a means to a more thorough and empowering way to deal with the phobia and overcome it, rather than just avoiding it.