Psychological and emotional effects of phobias

Life-Limiting and Severe Anxiety
One of the main criteria for diagnosing a phobia is that it is life-limiting in nature. Depending on what your phobia is, you might find it a real struggle to run errands, go out with friends, or even make it to work every day. In other words, a specific phobia can significantly impair your education, your career, and your overall quality of life.

Limitations associated with phobias can make you experience social isolation. You may wonder why you are not like everybody else. This can affect your relationships with family and friends, which can contribute to you becoming reclusive and depressed.

Phobias can create awkward and embarrassing situations. For example, how do you explain to your best friend that you can never visit her home because she owns a dog? How do you turn down a trip to the Bahamas with a new love because you can’t bring yourself to get on a plane?

Social phobia can be especially difficult to manage because the underlying fear is of humiliation. Having a phobic reaction can make you feel embarrassed, which often only reinforces the persistent fear.

Feeling out of Control
Perhaps one of the worst emotional components of a phobia is the out of control feeling.

You may understand that your phobia is irrational and/or excessive, but no matter how hard you try, you cannot get it under control. You are not alone if you spend time thinking about what your life would be like if you could simply live daily without the dread of coming into contact with that specific object or situation.

Helplessness may appear when you realize that your phobia has affected several or even all aspects of your life, like your job, social life, and general happiness. You may feel that there is nothing you can do to heal. You may assume that you will always have your phobia. You may wish things were different, but feel that they never will be.