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Phobia help WIBU

(9 Posts)
GeekCool Wed 13-Jul-11 09:10:40

To go to the doctors? I've had a phobia of snakes all my life. It's an extreme phobia - unable to look at pictures, photos etc. I do also suffer anxiety so if I do come across a picture it can turn into a panic attack.
In my general day to day it's not as though I come across many slithering (shudder) around, but there are pictures (seemingly everywhere to me!), they are in films, cartoons, the blasted rubber ones.
Is this a reasonable thing to see a doctor about? I'm so used to people laughing or being shocked and then trying to 'test' my phobia I'm not sure if IABU to consider requesting help through the NHS or not.
I do also have a 4 year old DS and guess what he quite likes sad

(First thread start in here, it may be wrong place)

Hufflepuzzpig Wed 13-Jul-11 09:13:11

Do it. It's a genuine phobia, you need help from a psychologist.

(I say 'genuine' because of the symptoms you describe - many people use "phobia" when they actually mean "fear" - to be a phobia it has to impact everyday life, so if you are missing out on normal things because you are scared a snake will appear, it's a phobia)

sausagesandmarmelade Wed 13-Jul-11 09:15:28

You have nothing to lose by visiting your GP re this....but not sure you would be able to get help on the NHS.

I know that London Zoo do classes for those with spider phobia's and may well do the same re snakes. Hypnotherapy also works for some....

Definitely worth starting to investigate so that you start to take control over your phobia, rather than it controlling your life (says she....terrified of spiders!).

Birdsgottafly Wed 13-Jul-11 09:16:58

The most used form of counselling by the NHS at present is Cognitive Behavourial Therapy (CBT).

It is excellent for phobias, you can research this online or there are plenty of books about it. It will help with your anxiety, also.

Wether your GP will refer you, is a different matter, the reason they might not is because of budgeting, but by all means go and see him, tell him about your anxiety, not just your phobia.

The initial interview will be 'picture building' and discussing the format of what will be done, time constraints and your willingness to do any 'homework' set.

Each week you will be given tasks to do at home, these may be as little as ten minutes a day.

Doing a course will help you for the rest of your life as you can use the tactics that you will learn.

Allinabinbag Wed 13-Jul-11 09:18:40

I would say YANBU to go, but the NHS may not have the solution. I have some desensitization therapy on the NHS for six weeks (all that was available) and although I could now carry around the offending phobia item in my bag, it hasn't made any difference to my day to day reactions to it. Obviously if you live near great provision, say a clinic, that treats this, it may be better.

I think looking (if you can afford it) at private options for the treatment of phobias is a good idea. I am not bothered at present as I just get round it by avoidance, and that's easy, but if I thought I was going to have to deal with it everyday, I would get treated privately- not sure which therapy though (I found desensitization just a bit rubbish for me but it wasn't long enough).

GeekCool Wed 13-Jul-11 09:20:48

Thank you for the responses, nice to know I'm not being totally ridiculous. I understand it may not be possible on the NHS. I think I've left it for so long but weirdly it really does impact my life now. Walking in the park freaks me out, it's all in my head I know but I get so wound up about it. What I mean is, it's easy to make this phobia become a daily issue.

I think even help controlling my fear/anxiety a bit more will help. They do know about my anxiety having been seen a few times mid attack.

Birdsgottafly Wed 13-Jul-11 09:24:59

With CBT you learn to control your responses, although it is thought of as 'in your mind' the therapist will highlight to you that you have physical responses even before you see your phobic object, controlling that physical response helps to de-escalate the process of fear or the phobia. Not to say that you will be cured but if you use it with hypnotherapy then you shouldn't be bothered by it.

If you cannot get CBT for your phobia then ask for it for your anxiety. GP's are more inclined to refer as it has shown that using CBT is alot cheaper than medication, it is being given extra funding in some areas.

Birdsgottafly Wed 13-Jul-11 09:26:30

Some charities give free courses in CBT, so you may be able to be signposted.

Hufflepuzzpig Wed 13-Jul-11 09:27:18

I had CBT (for self harm and depression/PTSD) and it really is good. I agree you may not get help on NHS - I was a teen when I had it, it's harder for adults to get it) but it is definitely worth asking.

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