What is a phobia?

Don't worry. You're not alone

What are phobias?

Phobias are an extremely strong fear that a person has of something – for instance an animal, a feeling, an object, situation or place (often known as the ‘trigger’). A phobia associates the trigger with extreme feelings of danger, and can cause huge restrictions and anxieties around a person’s life, as they try to avoid it. Some people may not be distressed by their phobia unless they are physically near it or in the situation at the time, while others can be affected just by thinking about their phobia.

How are you feeling?

It is good to understand and to monitor how you are feeling. Some common signs that you are experiencing a phobia are:

  • Panic about a specific trigger
  • Anxiety about what may happen to you if you are around the trigger
  • Dizziness and feeling faint
  • Feeling sick when thinking about your trigger
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Feelings of being detached from your body
  • Avoiding situations linked to your phobia
  • Feeling as though you are in extreme danger

Who does it affect?

Around 10 million people in the UK have some sort of phobia, so remember that you are not alone. Phobias can affect anyone at any time in their lives, no matter who they are, where they are from, how old they are, or what personality type they are.  Phobias can develop at any time, and are sometimes caused by childhood incidents linked to your trigger. It may be that you have a phobia that wasn’t caused by a particular event, but is still as extremely difficult to deal with.

Should I tell my friends and family?

We understand that having a phobia can be isolating and terrifying, and talking about it can be daunting. One of the best things you can do to help yourself, however, is to reach out to the people you trust, and speak to them about how you are feeling. They may be able to talk through your problems and help you find solutions, or provide you with emotional support and empathy towards how you are feeling.

How can TALKWORKS help?

If you feel you may be dealing with a phobia, TALKWORKS is here to help. We can provide you with talking therapies to help you understand your phobia and to develop strategies to help you manage it or to overcome it. With five teams across Devon and Torbay, support can usually be provided close to where you live. Appointments can take place either remotely, or in a variety of community buildings, hospitals, GP surgeries and libraries.

To get in touch with us:

self-refer today 

If you prefer, you can speak to us over the phone by calling us on 0300 555 3344, or you can make an appointment with your GP to discuss how we can help.

The sooner you take this next step, the sooner we can help you to feel in control of your life again. 

Your experience with us

Your feedback matters

“I could not fault the service I received. I was listened to and given so many different resources to help my anxiety and depression. I was so very low a year ago but with the amazing support from my therapist I feel more and more myself every day. Thank you TALKWORKS.”

“The therapy gently supported me to both understand and come to terms with my diagnosis and how it has impacted on me as a person for so many years. I felt I could be open and honest in a very safe space. I not only feel better, I understand myself better too.”

“I was apprehensive about using the service thinking I wasn't "bad" enough but a talk to the cardiac group by a TALKWORKS practitioner gave me confidence to self-refer. I was referred with respect and taken seriously throughout, felt safe and was given tools and advice to help myself take control of my situation.”