Fear is one of the worst feelings in life, but when it becomes a disturbing, exaggerated, persistent, extremely anxious feeling that can even affect your social life it is considered a phobia. Phobia in children is more common than we think and what can seem like a simple “fear” of an object or a certain situation can be a very serious problem.
Babies and children are naturally afraid mainly of unknown facts. When still babies it is normal to have fears of loud noises, unknown people, being away from their parents or facing totally new situations for them. In the larger ones, fear of the dark , fear of being alone, fear of animals, etc.
According to psychologists and therapists, fear is part of the developmental stages of human beings and everyone has to live and win, as long as it is something completely controlled. Phobia tends to hinder the child’s psychological development and in some cases affect living with others.
Most Common Fears and Phobias
The most common phobias in children are: animals mainly dogs, doctors, injections and needles, height, dark and insects . Fear is natural, but when the situation extends for long months and episodes and persists when advancing in age, it does not give in as it should during development is considered a phobia.
When placed in front of the situation, they panic, high anxiety level , excessive crying or simply have a block of reactions. Usually, it is associated with the first encounter with the object or situation in a terrifying way, at least in the child’s view.
Types of Phobia in Children
Phobia in general is related to an unjustified fear that the child or adult cannot explain, but it becomes uncontrollable. In other cases it is related to the excessive protection of the parents, having been forced to face certain situations without being prepared or even being infected with the parents’ fears and traumas. Phobias are separated by types and names such as:
- Uncontrollable fear of places with a lot of people – Demophobia.
- Fear of closed places including school – Claustrophobia
- Blood Fear – Hematophobia
- Insect Fear – Acrophobia
- Fear of animals – Zoophobia
- Fear of heights – Vertigo
- Fear of water – Hydrophobia
Being able to identify if the child’s fears are small natural fears of development or if it is a real trauma accompanied by stress and extreme anxiety levels are essential to identify the phobia in children and if necessary seek help from specialists.
IMPORTANT: There are phobias from different situations and objects, some of them very unusual, such as fear of urinating (urophobia), fear of one’s own voice or speaking loudly (phonophobia) or fear of ugly people (unatractiphobia).
What Symptoms Characterize Phobia
Obviously it is visible when a child is afraid of some situation or object, by using a reaction of disgust. But how to know how to differentiate simple fear from a phobia? The symptoms to be observed always occur in situations of exposure to the outbreak , however in the case of phobia they occur more frequently and for long periods, following the child’s growth.
The distress they present when they see the situation, the fear of being in front of their “monsters” that even begin to be avoided at all costs so as not to go through stress. Children with phobias have:
- Excessive sweat
- Breathing difficulty
- Dores no stomach
- Feeling faint
These are the main symptoms, but can be accompanied by several others such as chills, uncontrollable fear of death, feeling of being choked,
discomfort in the chest and abdomen . When in a phobia attack, there are usually between 4 or 5 symptoms at the same time, so it is of great importance that parents observe the signs.
How to Treat Phobias?
When parents notice that the phobia is limiting, disrupting the child’s life and interfering with other areas of life, it’s time to seek help from a specialist. Living in fear is not good and having a phobia is even worse! Imagine a child who has a phobia of dogs whether small or large and when faced with one, they panic?
This is a very common example that occurs with thousands of children around the world. But the question is: How to deprive the child of not having contact with a dog if the world is full of them? Can’t the child walk on the street, visit relatives and friends, let alone have an active social life due to the phobia? Helping them to overcome their fears and traumas is always the best way out , believe me!
Parents can help cure phobia in children by recognizing that the fear is real. Exposing the child with force and still saying that they are “little babies” or not to be “ridiculous” will not solve anything. It will only make them try to control themselves in the face of the focus and “try to hide” their feelings. Look for a child psychologist who will indicate the appropriate treatment for each case.
There are techniques that can expose the child to fear gradually, always with medical supervision, showing that there is no danger. The technique focuses on stimulating the child’s desire to get closer, to want to know more closely what was afflicting you until the fear disappears completely or at least you can have the minimum contact without going into despair.
During this treatment, the therapist can show the child about his behavior and teach him techniques for self-control and relaxation. There are few cases in which drugs are prescribed for the treatment of phobias, only in cases considered extreme.
My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.
Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.