Friday, 13 May 2016

What is it about Friday 13th?

It's Friday 13th, the only one in 2016, and those of you who suffer from a fear of Friday 13th may well be feeling some of the common symptoms of phobia. 

These include: shaking, feeling disorientated or confused, sweating profusely, rapid heart beat, dry mouth, dizziness, nausea, and pains in the chest. Often people also worry about being out of control, fainting or even dying, and this can add to the feelings of anxiety and distress.

So why fear Friday 13th?

There are a whole range of reasons why it is thought we fear this day, many of them stemming from associations with bad events in the bible. However more generally speaking, phobias are strong irrational fears about something being dangerous when there is little or no danger at all. Sometimes we develop fears and phobias following a traumatic event and this creates an association between our object of fear and the bad event. However often people with a phobia or fear have no idea where it has come from.

How do phobias impact on people's lives?

People who suffer from phobias often go out of their way to avoid the thing that causes the symptoms. For example, someone with a phobia of travelling on planes, might avoid going on holiday altogether, may turn down promotions that involve such travel and may generally find themselves making excuses for not travelling on a plane. Those with a fear of Friday 13th may avoid important meetings or events on that day and may even avoid going out altogether.

When to get help

If you can live with your fear or phobia with little impact on your life then you probably don't need to seek help. If on the other hand your life revolves around the phobia and planning how to avoid your object of fear, then it would be advisable to seek professional help.

Treatment for phobias?

Behavioural techniques are very effective for treating people with phobias. The process usually involves a slow gradual exposure to the object of fear until such time as you can tolerate it without the unpleasant symptoms. For example, if you fear spiders you may start by looking at a picture of a spider, then video images and then an actual spider. 

Luckily, Friday 13th doesn't come around that often and usually people who suffer from this phobia can therefore manage without professional help.

More information and help

Read our article on phobias >

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