see also AgoraphobiaAnxiety

A phobia is a more or less disabling fear attached to a specific object or situation which is, on the face of it, not at all threatening. A fear of snakes is reasonable in the middle of Africa, less so in Britain, but when a picture or even a shape suggestive of a snake causes intense physical loathing, the fear is irrational, phobic. Most of us have a phobic reaction to something, but in the normal course of events either manage to avoid it or to keep our fear in check.

A phobia may be the result of an unpleasant personal experience, but it can also be a fear copied from parents, a fear transferred from quite another object or set of circumstances, or a fear dredged up from the deepest levels of consciousness where Jung imagined the collective memory of the human species to exist. More prosaically, though rarely, phobias can be due to organic disease, to Epilepsy, brain tumours, or brain injury. Acute panic states can also be brought on by Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels) or hyperventilation (fast, shallow breathing which starves the brain of oxygen).

Where no organic cause can be found, conventional treatment is by drugs (to control the anxiety), and various forms of behaviour therapy, notably desensitisation (step by step exposure to the feared object or situation, coupled with relaxation techniques) and flooding (very unpleasant, full-scale exposure to it). Homeopathy offers constitutional treatment, and a number of remedies for specific situations. See also remedies listed under Fright.

Fear of heights
Specific remedies to be taken 4 times daily for up to 14 days or 1/2-hourly for up to 14 doses if fear is intense

  • Fear associated with impulse to jump Argentum nit. 6c
  • Fear associated with sensation of falling Borax 6c
  • Fear associated with extreme giddiness Sulphur 6c

Fear of the dark
Specific remedies to be taken 4 times daily for up to 14 days or l/2-hourly for up to 10 doses if fear is acute

  • Person talks and prays continuously Stramonium 6c
  • Person nervous and highly strung, responds immediately to affection and reassurance Phosphorus 6c

Stage fright
Fear of performing in public speaks remedial to be taken 4 times daily for up to 14 days or l/2-hourly for up to 10 doses if fear is acute

  • Great apprehension, although person performs well once he or she has started, or person who, when eating in company, feels full after a small amount of food and socially inadequate Lycopodium 6c
  • Person feels weak at the knees Gelsemium 6c
  • Where person is a musician and prone to stomach upsets Anacardium 6c
  • Fear acute enough to cause flatulence and diarrhoea Argentum nit. 6c

Self-help: With certain phobias, if motivation is strong enough, it is possible to desensitise yourself to some extent; this is true of some animal phobias, and of claustrophobia and Agoraphobia. Take things very slowly, exposing yourself to the thing you fear step by step; learn a few simple breathing and relaxation techniques so that you can defuse anxiety each time it threatens to get the better of you.

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Ailment & Diseases

  Epileptic Fits
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  Argentum nit.
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Related to Mind & Emotion
  Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
  Institute of Psychoanalysis & British Psychoanalytical Society
  Gamblers Anonymous
  British Association of Psychotherapists
  Alcohol Concern
  Counsel and Care
  International Autistic Research Organisation, The
  Al-Anon Family Groups
  Albany Trust Counselling
  National Autistic Society, The
  Cruse, Bereavement Care
  Families Anonymous
  British Association for Counselling and Pyschotherapy (BACP)
  Alcoholics Anonymous (Great Britain) Limited
  British Society of Medical and Dental Hypnosis
  Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
  Narcotics Anonymous
  Scripps Alcohol Treatment Center

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