Cognitive behavioral model of specific phobia and specific phobias

I’ve noticed recently that phobias place significant limitations on people’s lives. Especially animal-related phobias make it difficult for people to be outside, in cafes and even in the homes of their loved ones. Of course, phobias are not limited to animals, many situations, living things or objects can cause phobia and complicate the person’s life.

Phobia is an irrational and excessive fear of certain situations/objects/functions (e.g. flying, high places, animals, injections, seeing blood). Although the person knows that the feared situation is not dangerous, he cannot control it. Exposure to the phobic stimulus almost always provokes an immediate anxiety response, which may be in the form of a situational or situationally predisposed panic attack. Phobic situations are avoided or endured with intense anxiety or distress. It leads to the deterioration of the functionality of the person.

Subtypes of Phobia

Situational Type:

Being in public transport, tunnels, subway, ship, plane travel, car, train, bridges, elevators, indoor places..

It is most common in childhood and mid-twenties.

Natural Environment Type:

Lightning, storm, high places, water, darkness..

It usually starts in childhood.

Blood-injection-wound type:

Blood, wound, injection or invasive medical procedures

It is usually familial and often marked by a strong vasovagal response.

75% of patients faint when faced with these situations.

Animal Type:

Animals, birds, insects, spiders.

It usually starts in childhood.

Other :

choking, shortness of breath,

vomiting (emetophobia),

Fear of illness and certain situations that may lead to illness,

Loud voice

Fear of costumes or fairy tale heroes

The Cognitive Behavioral Model of Specific Phobias

specific phobias biological factors emerge as a result of the interaction of cognitive and behavioral factors. Certain objects and situations arouse more fear than others because they are genuinely dangerous (snake is more dangerous than flower phobia, snake phobia is more common than flower phobia). Fainting is seen in blood, injection, injury phobias and this is an evolutionary advantage.

Negative automatic cognitions (eg: “dog bites me”) and behaviors (“dog avoidance and avoidance”) play a role in the formation and maintenance of phobias. Individuals with specific phobia, as in all anxiety disorders, overestimate the danger of the situation they fear and underestimate their own coping power. Often they avoid the phobic stimulus so they do not learn that their fear is unreal (I know nothing will happen, but …)‏.

Treatment of Phobias

One of the most effective methods in the treatment of phobias is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. In behavioral studies, the person is confronted with the feared situation or object in a real or imaginary plane. Gradually, the person gets used to this situation and the fear decreases. In the cognitive part, the person’s negative automatic thoughts (eg, this dog bites me) are studied. The applications made in the session are given to the client as homework. By teaching muscle relaxation and breathing exercises, the client is provided to cope with the anxiety that occurs in the phobic situation. In recent years, EMDR therapy is also frequently used in the treatment of phobias.

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