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Signs and Symptoms of Having a Phobia

I have talked previously about there being three kinds of phobias:

  • Acute, which is an extremely obvious inappropriate phobic reaction. It is disabling and evident to everyone else.
  • A manageable phobia is where you are able to carry on with your life, duties and may manage to hide the phobia.
  • An unconscious phobia, which is when you have avoidance behaviours to certain people, things, or places but are unaware of the phobia or your behaviours.

These symptoms are what you experience and the signs are what is observed about you by others when exposed to the source (stimulus) of the inappropriate phobic reaction. Not all of these signs and symptoms may be present.


Heart palpitations – a sense you hear your heart is going to jump out of your chest.

Shortness of breath – depending on how extreme the phobia is and the level of toleration of the stimulus.

Light headedness – a sense of dizziness.

Fainting – a loss of consciousness.

Tensing of the body – as it prepare to defend itself.

Stomach disturbances – a sense of butterflies or over-production of acid, resulting in reflux.

Diarrhea or constipation – nervous upset that disturbs the gastrointestinal system.

Hypersensitivity to sensory input – sights, sounds, touch, smell and taste may seem more intense.

Skin hypersensitivity – can feel hot, cold, itchy as if something is crawling across your body.

Fear – of the source (stimulus) of the inappropriate reaction.

Aggression and violence – outburst of behaviour that is part of a defensive reaction.

Wanting to run away – not coming in contact with the stimulus.

Freezing – the body becomes catatonic and you are unable to move.

A sense of panic – a feeling of loss of control.

Avoidance of the stimulus – unable to tolerate closeness to the stimulus.

A sense of foreboding – that something terrible will happen if you are exposed to the stimulus.

Doom-laden thinking – that the fear is forever.

Refusal – to be exposed to the stimulus.

Paranoia – that people are against you if they are part of exposing you to the stimulus.

Exhaustion – at having been exposed to the stimulus.

Disability – unable to leave your home or work in extreme cases.

Delayed reaction – some inappropriate reactions cause problems not immediately but after a time lapse.


Some of the above.

Irrational behaviour – you seem to have lost control of your faculties and cognitive (thinking) process and actions.

Panic reaction – loss of control with high levels of anxiety.

Fight or flight response – prepares to do battle or run away.

Selective sensory impairment – unable to respond to visual, auditory (sound), kinaesthetic (touch), olfactory (smell), gustatory (taste) signals. Temporary sensory shutdown.

Unable to process rational instruction – goes into defensive state and does not respond to rational instruction.

Avoidance behaviour – when you specifically deviate from normal behaviours to avoid situations. This is only relevant when the avoidance behaviour is detrimental to your wellbeing.

Psychiatric complications

Most common phobias are quite easily resolvable when you engage in the process of resolving the fear.

Extreme persistent phobia is generally a sign of a certain level of mental illness such as schizophrenia, non-specific psychosis, paranoia, borderline personality disorder and certain levels of bipolar disorder with psychotic complications.

See our range of Phobia Solutions Hypnosis downloads for help in overcoming your phobia.





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