Why do fears get worse over time?

Todd Farchione, PhD
Research shows that when we respond to our fears by running away and avoiding them, we can actually feed the fear and make it worse over time.

For situations that are dangerous (and should be avoided), this really isn’t a problem. In fact, it can be adaptive. But for fears that are less rational, or appear to be excessive or less adaptive given the nature of the situation, we need to respond differently.

The emotional part of your brain is incorrectly responding as though something is dangerous, resulting in feelings of fear. The fear you’re experiencing is essentially a false alarm. And that’s exactly how you should try to respond to it.
Changing behaviors is an effective way to teach the emotional part of your brain to settle down and ultimately lead to a reduction in your feelings of fear. 

This content originally appeared on doctoroz.com.

Continue Learning about Emotions



Medical science recognizes a mind-body connection and that your emotions may affect your body's physical health. Being down or depressed can cause fatigue, aches, and pains. If you are having problems and are also stressed, it's a ...

good idea to let your doctor know. This can be part of the diagnosis. Seeking an emotional balance and developing some resistance to bad feelings can be an important step to improved health. Techniques to improve your emotional health can range from medication to talking with an advisor, eating healthfully or exercising.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.