What makes you really squeamish? Whether it's a a mouse or a spider--or riding on an airplane or being stuck in an enclosed space for too long--I think we'd all agree that phobias aren't a laughing matter. I'll share my phobia (which I'm dealing with right now!) if you share yours--let's get to know each other a bit...
The National Institutes of Health describes a phobia as "a strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger." Symptoms may include panic and fear, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, trembling, and a strong desire to get away when faced with the source of the phobia. (Can you be baby-phobic?)
Want to know what my lifelong phobia is? Rats. And mice and rodents of any kind. Even gerbils and hamsters. When I went to a school camp in elementary school, we spotted a mouse in our cabin, and I slept with my sleeping bag covering my head and face all night--even though it made me really hot and sweaty and uncomfortable. I was sure that the mouse was going to come after me. I'll just say, that my sons will never have pet hamsters in the house--sorry guys! And, I'm a little on edge these days since we recently caught a few rats in our home's crawl space--eeeeeeew! Fortunately none made it into the house, but I bet you can imagine how freaked out I am that they might. Somebody get me a paper bag. (Erin, how's the mouse-in-the-house situation? Read her mouse story here.)
Is there a cure for our fears of heights, dogs, or--gulp--rats? Researchers in Australia believe that a nasal spray might help. They found that two chemicals, oxytocin (a hormone that affects emotion) and D-cycloserine (an antibiotic that may have mild effects on brain activity) may help phobia sufferers, if administered in a nasal spray. But, still more health experts say that if your phobia is so intense that it's preventing you from living a full and healthy life, it's time to pursue therapy, which some believe can be an effective way of training yourself to deal with your specific fears.
Your turn! What's your phobia? Is it manageable like mine is (sort of--unless I'm faced with an actual rat!), or is it a bit more debilitating, causing you to change your life because of your phobia?MORE FROM VITAMIN G: