As far as our primitive survival instinct is concerned, any pain is bad or dangerous. It doesn’t compute that medical science has given us the means to live longer and be healthier and that some of the ways it does that will hurt. It is this neurology that also objects to the drawing of blood, which can be a very specific form of needle phobia based on the fundamental fear that, if we’re bleeding, we might die.
Everyone is afraid of something. It doesn’t matter where you live, the year you were born, your skin colour or creed, our top five fears are a natural component of the human experience. They part of our primeval, genetically determined survival instinct. Without them, our chance of recognising danger and avoiding it or defending ourselves would be considerably reduced. The whole point of those top five fears is to keep us safe.
If a childhood phobia is left untreated, it can soon become an uncomfortable habit that causes feelings of terror and panic whenever exposed to the stimuli. It can then have an effect on a child’s well-being and social development and restrict many of aspects of their life. Many phobias are rooted in childhood and can range from the surprisingly common fears of the seemingly harmless, like buttons, balloons and clowns or the more serious fear of going to school.
Tunbridge Wells based Hypnotherapist Karen Martin helps needle phobic sports enthusiast Sam man up and get over a traumatic childhood experience.
What do the Dalai Llama and Kate Winslet have in common? They’re both afraid of flying. Variously described as aerophobia, aviatophobia, aviophobia or pteromechanophobia.
An estimated 500 million people worldwide have a fear of flying with 2.5 million of those in the UK. As many as 20-30 per cent of population are apprehensive about flying and between 2 and 10 per cent have a phobia. It’s more common in women and often starts in childhood or early adulthood.
So, on a Boeing 737 carrying 200 passengers, between four and 20 passengers will be really scared and more than a fifth will be quite worried.