Technically speaking, a phobia is a mental disorder. Certain environmental and biological factors are blamed for the occurrence of phobias that make way into our lives. Almost all our phobias are deep rooted somewhere in our mind due to some undesirable past experiences. These undesirable experiences are stored in our memories and they get converted into fear after few repetitions, eventually turning into a phobia over a period of time.
To give you an example over here; the tribal people have to face life and death situation almost every day when they go hunting for food in the jungle. Let’s say, one of the tribe members survives a narrow death after having a close encounter with a wild wolf in the tall grasses. It’s natural for him to get scared whenever he moves past tall grasses in the near future because his fear would force him to believe that there might be a wild wolf hiding behind the tall grasses. Although in reality, no wild wolf might be present inside the bush. As such, it’s believed that six out of every 10 phobic individuals remember the first incident when fear paved way into their lives. Individuals who know when their fear crisis started are able to find a connection between the object and the fear sensation as explained in the example above. However, individuals who are unable to find a connection between the object and the fear sensation usually have a hard time managing their phobia because they are not sure about what’s really happening to them.
Talking about social phobia, individuals suffering from social phobia are aware of the fact that their fear is illogical, yet they go out of their way to avoid the situation that causes fear in their minds. Social phobia is the fear of being judged by others. Social phobia could be a result of a bad experience in the past. It has been observed that individuals suffering from phobias are immune to the fact that subconsciously their brain returns to those unpleasant experiences of the past, whenever they face a similar situation in life. In some cases, an individual might have completely forgotten about the earlier incident. That being said, the only time the negative emotions comes into light is when the person encounter a similar situation in his life.
In order to gauge what really happens when a phobic experience arises, we need to understand what goes inside our brain when we encounter a particular situation in life. Just like undesirable memories, our brain stores pleasurable memories as well. For instance, if you have cherished the company of a person in the past, your brain will give life to all the pleasurable moments, when you meet that person after a very long time. Likewise, a particular music running in the background reminds us of some pleasurable moments whenever the same music fall on our ears. While this is a positive feeling, our brain reacts in a similar manner during unpleasant times. In general, it’s safe to claim that strong emotions stay deep rooted in our minds and are attached to a particular situation, thing or environment, which can eventually manifest into a phobia.