Prognosis of Phobias

In the case of phobias, it is important that the patient acknowledges the phobia and the underlying problem before actual treatment begins. The prognosis of phobias depends entirely on how the patient is approached; how open the patient is to treatment and the depth of the problem.

Most children develop phobias in their childhood, and in most cases these phobias resolve as the child reaches adolescence or adulthood. If some of these phobias remain, they can severely affect the quality of life and limit your potential as an adult or even during your life in school and college. Very often, even with regular treatment and acknowledgement of the phobia, they are not always cured. If these individuals are not given adequate support, they are likely to get depressed and even turn to substance abuse. Support and acknowledgement from family members and friends is crucial to the success of any kind of treatment for phobias. Phobias can also lead to social isolation, leading to the loss of employment or inability to complete education.

The treatment of phobias is done with the help of different therapies. The primary one involves cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). CBT is a combination of awareness about the condition along with identification towards what actually triggers this behavior. As the treatment progresses, the behavioral component of CBT employs methods to change those trigger patterns. Desensitization is an important part of the treatment for phobias.

Along with CBT as a method of treatment, occasionally drugs are also used to control symptoms. These drugs are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI medications. These medications are also known as antidepressants. As the class of medications suggests, these medications affect the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin affects the level of our happiness so controlling it can definitely affect our moods. Some of the common pharmacological molecules used in these medications include fluvoxamine, paroxetine, fluoxetine, citalopram, sertraline and escitalopram.

These medications are very strong and can also cause severe side effects. The side effects can vary depending on each patient but there are some common side effects.

  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Dry mouth

There have been instances of patients facing acute anxiety and increased depression after being put on SSRI medications. Children seem most susceptible to the acute side effects of these SSRI medications. There is another class of anti depressants known as monoamine oxidase inhibitor or MAOI. Your doctor may recommend these if he finds that the side effects are a cause for concern.

Another class of drugs used is beta blocker drugs. These drugs block the effect that adrenaline has on the body. Therefore these drugs block the effect panic has on the body. One such beta blocker is propranolol. This is a very strong drug and should never be taken without a prescription. The treatments of propranolol are still being studied and have had mixed results.

Another class of medicines used in treatments for phobias are benzodiazepines. These medications are used to treat anxiety by relaxing the muscles. This class of medications also often results in addictions in patients. Some of the molecules include alprazolam, loazepam, diazepam and clonazepam.

Hypnotherapy along with Neuro Linguistic Programming is also used to treat the associations that trigger panic attacks. Simulations and visual imagery are also used to acclimatize the body to events that trigger panic attacks. There are other pseudo-sciences and alternative treatments that help in treating phobias but are not considered valid treatments because of the inadequacy of research into them.

Frequently asked questions
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  2. Origins of Phobias and Anxiety Disorders, Author(s): Michelle G. Craske; ISBN: 978-0-08-044032-3
  3. Harald Merckelbach, Peter J. de Jong, Peter Muris, Marcel A. van Den Hout, The etiology of specific phobias: A review, Clinical Psychology Review, Volume 16, Issue 4, 1996, Pages 337-361, ISSN 0272-7358, 10.1016/0272-7358(96)00014-1.
  4. H.B. Gibson, Hypnosis and behavior therapy: The treatment of anxiety and phobias: J. C. Clarke and J. A. Jackson: Springer, New York (1983). vxiii + 361 pages $26.95, Behaviour Research and Therapy, Volume 22, Issue 3, 1984, Page 325, ISSN 0005-7967, 10.1016/0005-7967(84)90014-7.