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13 Mar 2004

need to overcome phobia
i have a phobia of earth worms, which ive had since the age of 4 ( im now 36 ) to other people it sounds utterly stupid, but to me its the complete opposite. when it rains i dont want to leave the house as theres always worms on the pathway, and it takes all the strength in me to venture out to my car. when i see worms, i cannot describe the terror inside me, i feel nauseas and my whole body shakes. i can remember the incident which sparked this phobia, i was 4 years of age, playing in the garden with a hose pipe with my sisters, i,d never seen a worm before and one somehow got onto my shoe, i remember screaming as my sisters taunted me, saying it was going to eat me. stupid i know! but the phobia has stuck ever since. my parents tried to help me overcome my fear as a child, by getting me into the garden to look at worms but it never worked. i cannot stand the sight of worms even if its in a magazine or on a tv show. snakes dont bother me nor do snails etc, its only worms.
how do i overcome this phobia ? and do medical aids cover treatment for phobias? i really need help in overcoming this.
Answer 372 views
Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

Dear jenni,
Yes, phobias are rum things, and of course they involve being scared of something that ISN'T particularly frightening to anyone else ( nobody complains of a phobia for bombs or man-eating tigers --- you're supposed to be scared of those, and rather silly if you're not scared of them ) -- and how very specific they usually are. I'm only surprised that you manage to meet so many earthworms. Apart from the occasional reader who seems to have married one, I don't run into them at all often.
Actually, your description is excellent, and also reminds us of the senseless cruelty of sisters and others who think it is harmless fun to taunt a frightened child. Such a specific Phobia is a well-recognized diagnosis and disorder, which can be quite disabling, and certainly any good medical aid ought to pay for its treatment. Fortunately, they can be really effectively treated.
Personall, I'd recommend seing a good Psychologist, as the best treatment would be Behaviour Therapy, which neednt take long. Basically, one learns first to deeply relax oneself, then starts to associate the idea of whatever one fears ( the worms, eg ), firstly in one's imagination ( thinking of a very small worm, very far away ) with feeling relaxed, not terrified. Eventually, if one wanted to ( though I expect you'll prefer other hobbies ) you could become not only a keen gardener, but even run a worm-farm, if you chose to. the point being -- you could soon be free to make the choice, rather than frightened to even imagine it. A psychiatrist would probably think of prescribing a drug, though I think they are far less useful in these very specific phobias than in more generalized anxiety disorders.
So, see a psychologist, and set yourself free from these fears.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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