The goal of treatment is to help you function effectively. The success of the treatment usually depends on how severe your phobia is.
Systematic desensitization is a technique used to treat phobias. You are asked to relax, then imagine the parts of the phobia, working from the least fearful to the most fearful. Gradual exposure to the real-life situation has also been used with success to help people overcome their fears.
Anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications are sometimes used to help relieve the symptoms.
Behavioral treatment is often used together with drug therapy. This can include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy, including learning to recognize and replace panic-causing thoughts
- Pleasant mental imagery
- Relaxation techniques
Behavioral treatment appears to have long-lasting benefits.
Other treatments that can reduce the number of attacks include:
- Getting regular exercise
- Getting enough sleep
- Reducing or avoiding the use of caffeine, some over-the-counter cold medications, and other stimulants
Phobia clinics and group therapy are available in some areas to help people deal with common phobias, such as a fear of flying.