A phobia is something that you feel really frightened of that is not actually dangerous and which most people do not find worrying

Young man sat on bed

The nearer you get to the thing that makes you anxious, the more anxious you get...and so you tend to avoid it. Away from it you feel fine but you may also feel frightened when you think about it. Phobias can really get in the way of life.

Common phobias can be complicated and include:

  • Agoraphobia: A fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult, ie fear of leaving home or travelling on public transport
  • Social phobias: A fear of being with other people.

Some more unusual (and specific) phobias include:

  • Genuphobia: A fear of knees
  • Porphyrophobia: A fear of the colour purple.

Top tips

  • Talk to someone: This could be anyone that you find helpful to talk to, don’t bottle it up.
  • Listen to your body: Understanding how your body reacts to fear is really important.
  • Tune into your thoughts: Spotting unhelpful thoughts can help to challenge phobias.
  • Learn how you relax: To help cope with the phobia.
  • Test yourself: If you feel able to, with support, you can start to find times when you are able to cope with the phobia and build up from there.
  • Professional help: If your phobia is really getting in the way of life, or you want advice on panic attacks you may need extra support from someone trained to help, this might include talking or behaviour therapy.

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