Phobias are a type of anxiety believed to be caused by multiple factors such as genetics, brain chemistry, learned behavior and environmental triggers. Many people initially find phobia-based fears amusing, such as when friends see you overreact to the sight of a spider in a video. But having these fears can disrupt your daily life. They can even become hurdles in otherwise healthy relationships. If your phobias are disrupting your life, it is likely time for phobia therapy.
The two main methods of phobia treatment are medications and phobia therapy, also called psychotherapy. As for other types of anxiety, Greene Psychology Group provides therapy to help you overcome your phobias. We accept patients for face-to-face appointments in our Raleigh, NC office or virtual therapy visits throughout the state of North Carolina.
Do I Need Phobia Therapy or Medications?
Psychiatrists and other medical doctors often prescribe medications for phobia treatment. These medications can work according to the genetic and brain chemistry factors in phobias. But, medications do not address the underlying issues that cause the fear-based reactions and anxiety. According to recent studies, cognitive behavioral therapy provides more effective long-term results than prescribed medications.
Phobia therapy also helps you avoid the side effects of these medications. Common side effects include:
- Dry mouth
- Weight gain
- Sexual dysfunction
- Lost sex drive
- Cognitive issues
- Impaired coordination
Many people discover that the benefits of medications for phobia treatment are not worth the side effects. Taking these medications requires medication management visits with the prescribing psychiatrist or other doctor. You can take medication under a doctor's care and see a therapist at the same time. But therapy can often help you overcome your fears and anxiety for good.
Environmental triggers and learned behaviors are the two biggest factors in phobia development, according to many therapists and other medical professionals. In other words, your phobia of spiders may stem from a learned response to these creatures. You can actually overcome your fear and anxiety by unlearning your response. This is how psychotherapy works.
The most common types of phobia therapy include cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy. There are also alternative therapies available that can help with fear-based anxiety.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most common modern method for phobia treatment. It helps you change your negative thought patterns, the automatic thoughts that cause your phobia reactions. As a result of these changes, you overcome your fear. The process is gradual, but can provide great results.
Exposure therapy is a phobia treatment method that slowly exposes you to the things or events that you fear. This therapy desensitizes you and reduces your anxiety, often in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy. It teaches you methods that you can use in your daily life.
Of course, the exposure does not take place until you learn healthy coping skills. These relaxation methods include:
- Deep breathing
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Guided imagery
Alternative Methods of Phobia Therapy
Besides psychotherapy, also called talk therapy, alternative methods can supplement your efforts in phobia treatment. These are not methods that will "cure" your fear-based anxiety on their own. But they do provide additional support for your efforts in phobia therapy.
Alternative methods include yoga, meditation, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, homeopathy, massage therapy and herbal remedies. These are not medically tested methods. But many individuals seeking phobia therapy find that they learn additional relaxation techniques and promote better whole-person wellness through these methods.
Help for Your Phobias through Phobia Therapy in Raleigh, North Carolina
Greene Psychology Group in Raleigh offers therapy for anxiety, depression, stress and self-improvement. Schedule your first visit today by calling Greene Psychology Group at 919-205-5339.