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How to Confront your Phobias

By Tiffany Bynum

Wet hair is a phobia. Photo by author

We all fear something, whether it’s spiders, planes, or if you’re like me, wet detached hair. Researchers say there are four common types of phobias: animal, natural environment, situational, and blood injection/injury. But why are we so afraid? Genetics and your environment can play a role. Some people are born with various genes that cause psychological symptoms, such as phobias. On the other hand, traumatic experiences such as 9/11 for example, can make people become afraid of flying.

However, phobias are very treatable. Clinical psychologist (and biology teacher Mr. Addicott’s wife,) Dr. Adrienne Addicott, says, “The gold standard treatment for phobias is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), which focuses on changing thoughts and behaviors associated with the irrational fear.” You can also follow these steps to try and overcome your fear, (via Wikihow):

  1. Enter the exercise feeling relaxed. …
  2. Write down situations where you encounter your phobia. …
  3. Rank your situations. …
  4. Imagine the first item on your list. …
  5. Gradually work through your list. …
  6. Seek out your situations in reality. …
  7. Continue to confront your fear…
More phobia-inducing wet hair. Photo by author

How do you know if you have a phobia, versus just a dislike, or irritation? A phobia is a fear that becomes irrational. For instance, if you’re on a walk, and have to cross the street because someone is walking their dog, that’s irrational. If your friend invites you to a wedding in Hawaii, but won’t go because you have to fly there, that’s irrational as well.  My fear of detached hair is obviously up there. I go as far as lint rolling my towel in order to remove loose hair, so it doesn’t get on me when I use it. That’s a pretty extreme fear of something that doesn’t cause any harm. I don’t know what I’m so scared of, but it just grosses me out to the max.

 

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