Many people with a phobia do not need treatment and find that avoiding the object of their fear is enough to control the problem.
However, with certain phobias, such as a fear of flying, avoidance may not always be possible, so you may want to get professional help and advice to find out about treatment options.
Most phobias are curable, but no single treatment is guaranteed to work for all phobias. In some cases, a combination of different treatments may be recommended. The main types of treatment are outlined below.
Talking treatments are often very effective for people with phobias. There are several different types of talking therapy, including:
Counselling: a trained counsellor listens to your problems, such as feeling anxious in certain situations, and helps you to overcome them.
Psychotherapy: a psychotherapist uses an in-depth approach to find the cause of your problem and suggests ways to deal with it.
Cognitive behavioural therapy: a type of counselling that explores your thoughts, feelings and behaviour in order to develop practical ways of effectively dealing with the phobia.
Speak to your GP to find out if talking treatments would be suitable for you and whether they are available on the NHS in your area.
Many simple phobias can be treated using a form of behaviour therapy known as desensitisation or self-exposure therapy. It involves being gradually exposed over a period of time to the object or situation of your fear so that you start to feel less anxious about it.
Sometimes, a combination of behaviour therapy and medication may be recommended.
Medication is not usually recommended for treating phobias because talking therapies are normally successful. However, medication is sometimes prescribed for treating the effects of phobias, such as anxiety.
Three types of medication are recommended for treating anxiety. These are:
- tranquilisers, and
For more information on these medications, see the Medications for Mental Health Conditions section.