Overcome phobias, trauma, PTSD and grief
What is a phobia?
Phobias can affect anyone regardless of age, sex, and social background. A phobia is an overwhelming, intense, pronounced, and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling, or animal. It is much more intense than fear. They develop when a person has an irrational, exaggerated, and/or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object.
Social phobias and social anxiety
Social phobias and social anxiety disorders are some of the most common phobias. 15 million Americans and approximately eight million people in the UK suffer from some form of social anxiety disorder. It is a long-lasting and overwhelming fear of social situations. More than 75% of people experience their first symptoms during their childhood or early teenage years. It is a common problem that usually starts during the teenage years. It can have a huge impact on your life and be incredibly distressing, but help is available and the phobia and related issues can be resolved effectively.
The Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale can be used with the help of a medical professional and therapist to assess the extent of your social phobia. The first question asks how anxious or fearful you feel in the situation. The second question asks how often you avoid the situation. This measure assesses the way that social phobia plays a role in your life across a variety of situations. Clinical hypnotherapy can be used to ease, relieve, and ultimately combat and resolve all phobias and anxiety disorders. Phobias can often be triggered and develop from an initial traumatic event or incident, and last for many years if left untreated.
How are phobias linked to trauma?
Often a phobia may develop after a serious incident or traumatic event. For example, the London Bridge and Westminster terror attacks in 2017, and the Manchester Arena bombing terror attack in 2017, left many people in shock, and later suffering from symptoms of trauma, and some were also left with the effects of PTSD. Even people who weren’t at the actual terror incidents were affected. Someone does not necessarily have to be present at the actual incident or event to be affected by it and thus suffer from the resultant symptoms of trauma and the effects of anxiety, trauma, and PTSD. Often family members and friends are also affected by traumatic events, reliving what happened to their loved ones. Grief also affects the victims' families, especially if a loved one has died or suffered life-changing injuries.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Grief is a natural response to loss, and there are some healthy ways to help you deal with the grieving process. Often the pain of loss can be overwhelming. It is helpful to remember that grieving is a completely individual and unique experience for you. The grieving process takes time and healing happens gradually. It cannot be ignored, forced, or rushed. In 1969, psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross introduced what became known as the 'five stages of grief'.
Here are the five stages of grief:
- Denial - "This can’t be happening to me"
- Anger - "Why is this happening? Who is to blame?"
- Bargaining - "Make this not happen, and in return, I will ____"
- Depression - "I’m too sad to do anything"
- Acceptance - "I’m at peace with what happened"
Again, it is important to remember that we may all pass through these five stages differently, at a different speed, pace, and intensity. Our experience of grief will be unique to us.
What is trauma?
A 'trauma' is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. A traumatic event can cause physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological harm. Common sources of trauma include:
- domestic violence
- natural disasters
- severe illness or injury
- the death of a loved one
- witnessing an act of violence
There are many other causes of trauma not listed here, and it is important to remember that everyone experiences trauma and its symptoms in unique and various ways.
Here are some of the more common symptoms of psychological trauma:
- shock, denial, or disbelief
- confusion, difficulty concentrating
- anger, irritability, mood swings
- anxiety and fear
- guilt, shame, self-blame
- withdrawing from others
- feeling sad or hopeless
- feeling disconnected or numb
Phobias, trauma, PTSD, and grief can all be inextricably linked and tied together by one extreme incident in the past. Although this is not always the case, it is a common scenario.
However, as unique as we all are, so is the case for people suffering from phobias and the after-effects of a traumatic life event. No one person is the same, and nor are their life experiences. This is why each person should be treated and cared for uniquely. We all have our own story. Clinical hypnotherapy is widely used to help people overcome fears, phobias, trauma, grief, and PTSD.
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