When A Family Member Has Extreme Fears

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Fear is a basic, normal human emotion that usually helps protect us and keep us away from danger. Being afraid is normal and may sometimes be helpful in dangerous situations. Whenever we feel afraid, it seems like we are receiving a signal that warns us of imminent danger or it may serve as a warning to be more careful.

Like all other emotions, fear can be classified as minor, average or intense depending on the situation you are facing or the person that you are meeting. You can likely be afraid for a short period of time or it may last longer than usual. In our human anatomy, the brain readily reacts every time we meet danger. Once our brain detects that there is danger ahead, it will then send signal to our nervous system causing our body to respond physically like having palpitation, or blood pressure increase. Our blood then pumps towards different muscle groups in our body to prepare us for our response whether to run away or fight.

Fear is a term that usually refers to the emotional reaction of a person when there seems a “danger”. But it can also refer to anything or any situation that a person is usually afraid of. This happens whenever we feel unsure or unsafe whenever we are faced with a certain kind of situation. One example would be the fear of going into deep water or fear of being alone. These fears can usually be overcome by being familiar with the situation in which you are afraid of.

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If you have fear of going into deep water, it would be an advantage because you are on the safer side whenever you decide to go on a beach outing with your family or friends. But you may miss the fun because of your fear. You may overcome it by trying to go to the water with someone whom you trust and try to learn swimming safely.

Oftentimes, these fears start from childhood. Kids often experience fear of being in the dark, of being alone, or seeing monsters or scary images. These fears may also be the effect of some actions by adults that resort to scaring children whenever they are not obedient enough to what the adults want them to do. Usually, elder family members make jokes by frightening young kids without being aware that they may instill fear to the child which may not be easily forgotten.

So, family members should also be careful when doing pranks or even in disciplining children. They should be sensitive enough with the feelings of the children as to not create more fear in the future. They fear may become too intense that the child may have trouble overcoming them.

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And when a fear is too intense already, it can be considered as a phobia. A phobia is a term used to refer to an intense fear reaction. Usually, phobias aren’t really that dangerous in reality but to the person who feels the fear, the danger seems real to them because the fear is too intense. And when this happens, having a phobia usually disrupts the person from doing his daily activities especially when he encounters those situations or things that really illicit fear and may seem dangerous on his part.

One sample situation would be if a person has a social phobia. A person with social phobia has a strong fear of being with people and talking to them, or has the fear of reciting in class like giving report or speaking to classmates. So, there will be tendency that the student will not go to school anymore because of the intense fear that he will be experiencing when faced with those situations. Typically, there are physical body responses that they may experience when faced with those “dangerous” situations. When one is forced to face their fear without being careful, the person may sweat a lot or even pass out which may cause further trouble.

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A person with phobia is often teased and bullied because of their unusual reactions during those situations that other people may think as “normal”. This is where family members can show support to their loved ones with phobia. They should be more understanding and helpful because having phobia is not something that they want. The reaction of fear is really uncontrollable which also makes them anxious and embarrassed. The family can help in lessening the stress by understanding and helping the person with phobia deal with his fears gradually.

Others may need to undergo therapy from licensed therapists just to overcome the “fear” to avoid embarrassment and anxiety. But if the family is just understanding and sensitive enough of the plight of their relative with phobia, you can help him just by being there and talking to him about gradually facing the object or situation that causes fear. Let him know that you will just be there for him, cheering and praying that the fear will disappear as time goes by, by being brave and motivating the “patient” to also help himself to overcome such situations.