A Guide to Overcoming Phobias: The Symptoms

Physical Symptoms

Symptoms that appear physiological often develop out of the unexplored anxieties and can range from stomach ulcers, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, rashes, to stuttering, blushing, warts, impaired memory, palpitations – the list is endless.


If a persona suffering from a stomach ulcer was taken into hospital and operated upon, their stomach ulcer might disappear and they would be proclaimed as fit and healthy again. However, if that menacing, free-floating anxiety was still lying dormant within the person’s subconscious mind, chances are that they would later develop a different symptom. The mind carries it’s memory traces and patterns and these are likely to be repeated if the cause of the anxiety or phobia is not revealed and dealt with.


Anxiety and Panic Attacks


A person who is confronted with the symbolic situation or object of his phobia could suffer a variety of symptoms depending on the degree of anxiety felt. The most common ones are: palpitations, sweaty hands or back of the neck, racing heart, pounding head, tremors, breathlessness, fainting, constricted muscles, light-headedness and shaking – quite often the person suffering the attack feels rooted to the spot.


The first time an anxiety attack is experienced it usually seems to happen for no apparent reason, therefore, the subject cannot rationally explain it to himself ad it is literally a ‘fear of the unknown’.


Once the panic attack is over, the subject returns to normal, realizing that no harm has really been done. However, because it cannot be satisfactorily explained, the sufferer never knows when it is going to recur – it has been likened to living next door to a volcano – that could erupt at any time.


In fact the victim of the panic attack is subsequently watching and waiting for the next onset, so much so that, when it does happen again, it erupts with a vengeance, increasing the level of anxiety to an alarming degree. This leads to a ‘vicious cycle’ of the mind affecting the body and the body counteracting by affecting the mind’ until the whole pent up emotion is discharged and the energy dissipated.


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