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Developmental Disability

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Fatima Akter
Fatima Akter

Phobias (2020)

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Phobias (2020)

Specific Phobias- Specific phobias affect 19.3 million adults or 9.1% of the U.S. population. NIMH: Specific Phobias.- Women are twice as likely to be affected than men.- Symptoms typically begin in childhood; the average age of onset is 7 years old.- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are closely related to anxiety disorders, which some may experience at the same time, - along with depression.

But for some, these fears are more severe, can persist into adolescence and adulthood, and are best described as phobias. Needle phobias can be learned from a past experience of pain, but there is also a biological component that makes some people react very strongly to the idea of procedures involving a needle.

These phobias can make procedures feel more painful, lead to severe panic, and in some cases to a physical response that causes fainting. This can make it extremely difficult to consider getting medical procedures involving needles. Estimates show that as many as 2 in 3 children and 1 in 4 adults have strong fears around needles. As many as 1 in 10 people might delay the COVID-19 vaccine due to these fears. People who have mental, emotional, or behavioral disorders such as anxiety disorders, people with certain disabilities, and people with certain conditions that affect how they manage sensations like touch or movement, may have more difficulty managing such fears. People with disabilities may be less likely to get vaccinations even though they may be more at risk for certain illnesses, such as severe effects of COVID-19. Parents who have fears of needles themselves may hesitate to have their children vaccinated.

For extreme fears, it is best to talk to a mental health provider to understand how severe the problem is and plan the best strategies to treat the phobia. Treatment for phobias can include counseling, exposure therapy where the person gradually faces their fears with the support of a mental health provider in carefully planned steps, and/or medication.

Healthcare providers can increase their own awareness of needle fears and phobias. Providers can let their patients and family members know they understand that extreme fears and phobias are a real concern. Healthcare providers can offer information and support to decrease feelings of shame and fear and assist people with developing a plan to manage their fears. Different strategies for pain management can be offered as a routine part of procedures involving needles.

New technologies, such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), can be used as an add-on to exposure therapy for common anxiety disorders. Although the benefits of VR for exposure therapy have already been demonstrated extensively in research, AR applications are only just becoming widely available. Evidence for the added value and effectiveness of AR exposure therapy (ARET) is still scarce. The current study aimed to explore whether a first markerless AR iOS app for specific phobia could induce fear for multiple animal species in a general population sample. In two experiments, participants made use of the PHOBOS AR app in a behavioral approach task (BAT), using animals for which they were anxious, but not phobic. Self-report data and physiological measures were recorded. In Experiment 1, 108 participants chose one of the seven available animal species and were allocated to either a smartphone or tablet condition. Results showed increasing levels of self-reported anxiety with increasing levels of BAT difficulty. However, this increase was smaller in individuals reporting low levels of perceived realism. No effects on heart rate (HR) could be established. In Experiment 2, 52 participants were exposed to virtual spiders. For both self-reported anxiety and the interaction with perceived realism, results were similar to those of Experiment 1. Skin conductance did increase significantly from baseline to the highest level of difficulty of the BAT, and the severity of fear of spiders also appeared to be related to the fear response in the BAT. In conclusion, the study shows that animals presented in AR through a mobile device can evoke anxiety, which is a pre-requisite for the implementation of ARET. However, further research should establish the effects of ARET in a clinical sample of people with specific phobias.

Patients with specific phobias experience anxiety and panic attacks along with unreasonable fear of exposure or anticipated exposure to a feared stimulus. According to some theories, specific phobias may develop due to an association of an object or situation with emotions such as fear and panic. This activity describes the evaluation and management of specific phobias and reviews the role of the interprofessional team in improving care for patients with this disorder.

Objectives: Explain when a specific phobia should be considered on differential diagnosis. Review the criteria used to diagnose specific phobias. Describe the considerations that influence the management of specific phobias. Review the importance of communication and cooperation among members of the interprofessional team in providing behavioral therapy as a first line treatment for patients with specific phobias.

Patients with a specific phobia experience high levels of anxiety along with excessive and unreasonable fear due to either exposure to a phobic stimulus, the anticipation of exposure to a phobic stimulus, and even speaking about the feared stimulus. As a result, these patients will try to avoid the anxiety-provoking stimulus to any extent possible. Many patients have a strong family history of specific phobia. However, more studies need to be conducted to rule out the nongenetic transmission of specific phobias. [1][2][3]There is a high familial tendency in the blood injection injury type of phobia. Specific phobias can be categorized into the following subcategories:

Specific phobia affects about 5% to 10% of the US population. A bimodal distribution of onset can be seen with specific phobias. Animal phobia, natural environment phobia, and blood injection injury type of phobia tend to have a childhood peak, whereas, there is an early adulthood peak for situational phobia.

Medical conditions that can result in the development of a phobia include substance use particularly hallucinogens and sympathomimetics, central nervous system (CNS) tumors, and cerebrovascular diseases. However, in these conditions, phobic symptoms are unlikely in the absence of additional findings on physical, neurological, and mental status examinations.Schizophrenic patients may also present with phobic symptoms. However, patients with a phobia have intact insight into their irrational fears and lack psychotic symptoms associated with schizophrenia.It is also important to rule out panic disorder, agoraphobia, and avoidant personality disorder. It can be difficult to distinguish specific phobia from panic disorder, agoraphobia, and avoidant personality disorder. However, in specific phobias, these patients tend to experience anxiety or fear immediately upon exposure to the phobic stimulus. In addition, patients with specific phobia do not exhibit signs of fear or anxiety when they are not facing or anticipating the phobic stimulus.It is important to rule out other conditions such as hypochondriasis, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and paranoid personality disorder. There is a subtle difference between hypochondriasis and specific phobia. For example, patients with hypochondriasis fear having the disease, and patients with specific phobia fear contracting the disease. The same holds true for the difference between obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobia. For example, patients with OCD may avoid knives because they have compulsive thoughts of harming their children; whereas, patients with a specific phobia may avoid knives because they fear cutting themselves. Patients with paranoid personality disorder have generalized fear, which is not found in patients with specific phobia.

When left untreated, phobias can be lifelong, however, studies show that phobias tend to spontaneously attenuate over time. With the appropriate behavioral techniques and medications, the prognosis is good.

Left untreated, specific phobias can significantly impair functioning. If a patient is unable to engage in normative social dynamics due to debilitating anxiety, the patient may end up isolated away from society.

The management of phobias is usually with an interprofessional team that includes a mental health nurse, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and primary care provider. In most cases, behavior therapy is the first-line treatment and does work. However, the period of desensitization can take weeks or even months.

Martin Antony, PhD, talks about the difference between a fear and a phobia, where phobias come from, what the most common phobias are, and the effective therapies and strategies that can help people overcome them.

While virtual reality technology is being put to use within a number of NHS trusts, NSFT is thought to be one of the first mental health trusts to offer VR for such an extensive range of phobias, which includes fear of exams, driving, public speaking and storms.

It has been especially useful during treatment for things such as needle phobias, as the process of preparing for and giving an injection is not something which we could easily replicate in the therapy room.

This is perhaps one of the saddest phobias of all. The fear of falling in love would make it impossible to experience the joy of having a life companion or to raise a family with someone. But with the necessary counseling, anything is possible. But by the way, it's pretty common for the average person to have some fear when it comes to falling in love. Barring a serious phobia, here's how to overcome the fear of falling in love. 59ce067264


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