Counterphobia- The preference by a phobic for fearful situations

Most people with fears or phobias avoid the thing that they fear the most but there are some people who ironically seek things that they fear and this is what we call counterphobia. This may be difficult to grasp because putting oneself in a fearful situation, especially in a situation that you really fear can cause one to exhibit signs and symptoms of anxiety and fear. But these people with counterphobia seek fearful situations because they might feel invigorated or they might feel excited when encountering the things they fear most and can be compared to getting an adrenaline rush.

A person with this fear might alternate between avoiding the thing that they fear the most and seeking out and facing that particular thing they fear and might even find it pleasurable when they find themselves frightened.

Even if they seek out the thing they fear, a counterphobe may exhibit symptoms such as trembling, frustration over seeking fearful experiences, shortness of breath, and sometimes a full blown panic attack may happen.

Treatment can be difficult because of the conflicting thoughts that are present in a counterphobe. Psychotherapy can be challenging for the psychiatrist because usually a person with this phobia can’t make up his mind whether he is scared or feels pleasure and excitement when faced with his fear. Anti-anxiety, anti-depressant medications or even mood stabilizers may help with this phobia.