Fear, anxiety and phobias

Agnes is a brilliant, 27-year-old software engineer with a multinational company and she is usually very confident in her abilities and accomplishments. However, she sometimes experiences intense worry and becomes very anxious about nothing in particular. During such episodes, she is often aware of her heart beating very fast, she starts sweating and finds it difficult to concentrate.

At such moments, she usually has a feeling that something bad is about to happen and she truly becomes really scared. These episodes are causing her serious distress and she is afraid that she may be losing her mind or something. Thus, she discussed her concerns with her family physician who referred her to see a psychiatrist.



Fear is a normal biological protective mechanism which our body utilises when faced with dangerous situations that may be harmful to us. It sets off alarm bells in our heads and prepares our body to cope with the emergency situation. This response is described in physiology as the ’fight-flight response.’ It ensures that our hearts beat faster, so they can supply our muscles with more blood – which carries the fuel (glucose and oxygen) required by the body.

The pupils of our eyes dilate, so we can see very clearly – to help us scan our environment for a weapon or an escape route from the danger. Our muscles become tense and primed for action. We may sweat, and feel like emptying our bladder or bowels – all actions that are geared to reduce our body weight and get rid of ‘waste’ and unnecessary baggage.

So, all of these reactions would occur if, for instance, you enter your room and suddenly see a snake in one corner. You will either jump and look for a stick to kill it (fight response); or you quickly shut the door and run away, while calling for help (flight response). These responses are perfectly normal reactions to a threatening situation.


Anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders and phobias occur when individuals experience all the above physiological symptoms of fear, in the ABSENCE of any real threat or danger. The individual experiences a fast heart rate, starts sweating, may experience abdominal discomfort and is tensed up, but is not exactly sure what they are worried or anxious about – as we saw with Agnes above.

This may be in the form of free-floating anxiety or a rapidly escalating episodes of panic attacks. It is described as a phobia, when it is characterised by a specific but exaggerated and irrational fear of an object (such as a spider) or a situation (such as heights or open spaces). Individuals who suffer from anxiety disorders often experience significant distress which prevents them from carrying out their usual day-to-day activities.

It is perfectly normal to have some anxiety just before an examination, or a job interview. The disorder line is crossed where such anxiety begins to cause significant distress in otherwise normal situations, and/or interferes with functioning.


Types of phobias

Several types of phobias can occur but the commonest are:

Social phobia: Exaggerated fear or avoidance of being the focus of attention, or of behaving in an embarrassing or humiliating way. This fear becomes clear when they are required to interact in social situations or to speak publicly.

Agora phobia: This is excessive fear of being in open places, or in situations where a quick escape will be difficult, such as going to public places like the market, crowds, travelling away from home e.t.c. Such people become very reclusive and socially withdrawn.


What are the causes of anxiety disorders?

Anxiety disorders can be caused by lots of things, depending on the individual and the sources of the worry. They also depend on other factors such as your genes, family background, life experiences and the way you instinctively cope with challenges. Indeed, identifying what makes you anxious and why they cause that reaction in you may be the first steps to managing your anxiety disorder.


Can they be treated?

Anxiety disorders are relatively straightforward to manage, and most individuals with some professional help can very quickly learn to keep their anxiety in check and under control. Psychological treatment options include the use of psychotherapies, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and so on.

In some instances, there may be the need to also take some medications to control the feelings of overwhelming anxiety. But the outcomes are usually very good for all concerned. If you or someone you know has difficulties with anxiety disorders, speak to a mental health professional and the troubles will be over.




Buy and read digital replicas of your TRIBUNE titles by subscribing through E-VENDING

P&ID: US Judge Grants Nigeria’s Request To Access Ex-President Jonathan, Diezani’s Bank Records
A New York Federal Judge, lorna Schofield has granted Nigeria’s request for a subpoena on 10 United States banks for information to prosecute government officials allegedly connected to the Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) alleged bribery scheme and subsequent $9.6 billion claims… Read full story

COVID-19: Nigerians Recycling Face Masks From Dumpsites ― PTF
The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 pandemic has raised an alarm over the practice of some Nigerians picking face masks from dumpsites to recycle and sell. The chairman of the task force and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, who warned on this during the task force… Read full story

[PROFILE]: Who Is Professor Ibrahim Gambari, President Buhari’s New Chief Of Staff?
On Tuesday, May 12, there was an official statement that Professor Ibrahim Gambari would succeed the late Abba Kyari as Chief of Staff (CoS) to President Muhammadu Buhari. The official announcement according to the Presidency will be made on Wednesday during the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting… Read full story

Reps Tackle FG For Using Foreign Airline To Evacuate Nigerians Abroad
The House of Representatives on Tuesday kicked against the Federal Government’s decision to engage foreign airlines in evacuating Nigerians stranded in abroad. The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Mohammed Shamsudeen Bello and eight others… Read full story

Reps Unhappy Over Mysterious Deaths In Jigawa •Ask FG to halt evacuation of COVID-19 patients to states of origin
The House of Representatives on Tuesday solicited for Federal Government’s intervention to urgently establish at least five testing centres in Jigawa State as part of efforts geared toward ending the mysterious deaths in the state. The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by… Read full story

We Tested 111 For Coronavirus In Kogi, They All Returned Negative, Says Govt
Kogi State government said on Tuesday said that 111 persons it tested for coronavirus returned negative. The state Commissioner for Information and Communication Strategy, Mr Kingsley Fanwo, made the disclosure in a statement in Lokoja, the state capital… Read full story

Bandits Killed 15, Injured Five During Kaduna Attack ― Police
At least, 15 people have been killed by bandits in the recent attack on Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State police command. The incident was said to have occurred in the early hours of Tuesday when gunmen invaded the community… Read full story

Another COVID-19 Patient Delivered Of Baby Boy At LUTH
A team of doctors, anaesthetists and nurses at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, delivered another woman, 37, with coronavirus of a baby boy weighing. Professor Wasiu Adeyemo, Chairman, Medical Advisory Committee (CMAC) of LUTH, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria… Read full story

32-Year-Old Man Who ‘Recently Returned From Dubai’ Dies Of Coronavirus In Lagos
The Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, says a 32-year-old man who recently returned from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, with severe underlying health conditions, died of coronavirus on Tuesday. Abayomi confirmed the death of the man, whose identity was not revealed… Read full story

COVID-19: Lagos State Releases Additional Guidelines For Reopened Commercial, Industrial, Institutional And Recreational Facilities
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Lagos State Government on Tuesday issued additional guidelines for the operations of all the commercial, industrial, institutional and recreational facilities that have just been recently unlocked in the state. According to a statement by the state Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources… Read full story

Senate Demands Prompt Action From Security Agencies Over Banditry In North
The Senate on Tuesday asked the relevant security agencies to take firm and prompt actions against the resurgence of banditry in the country. The lawmakers also demanded full implementation of the recommendations of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Nigeria Security Challenges… Read full story

EDITORIAL: Justice For The Port Harcourt Three
DURING these perilous times when Nigerians are daily confronted with hunger and pain, with waves of joblessness and privations surging since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, some felons are still at their beastly best, perpetrating horrendous and blood-curdling crimes… Read full story

You might also like

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. AcceptRead More