Phobias

Phobias

Fear of heights, fear of driving, fear of spiders - these are specific phobias. A phobia is a strong, irrational fear about something that poses little or no threat. A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. If you have a phobia, don't let it control your life. Medications and therapy help most people overcome phobias.

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    There is no evidence that phobias can be prevented. This is partly because scientists are not entirely clear what causes phobias in the first place. Phobias, however, can be treated.

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    The easiest way to manage phobias on a daily basis is to avoid the object or situation that triggers your intense fear. Depending on the object of your fear, this could cause an unmanageable interruption in your ability to live life on a daily basis. Anti-anxiety medication will also provide a temporary way to manage symptoms, but ultimately, some kind of behavioral therapy or exposure therapy will give you a more long-term solution.

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    Specific phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, and anxiety disorders are usually treated with either psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. However, for specific phobias, a type of psychotherapy called CBT, or cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, is fast, simple, and usually very effective. CBT helps veterans with specific phobia see and understand distortions in the way that they perceive the world and the people around them. The cognitive part of CBT focuses on the patterns of thinking behind your fears, and the behavioral part works on changing how you react to the situations or triggers that create anxiety for you.

    CBT for specific phobia frequently includes exposure therapy, which involves confronting the thing that you are afraid of, in a gradual and controlled way, until the fear diminishes. For example, a fear of spiders can be confronted by being in a room with a spider in a closed jar (which cannot hurt you), and gradually approaching the jar on repeated occasions until you are comfortable enough to touch it.
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    Specific phobia is characterized by extreme fear of an object or situation that is not harmful under general conditions.

    Examples may include a fear of the following:

    - flying (fearing the plane will crash)

    - dogs (fearing the dog will bite/attack)

    - closed-in places (fear of being trapped)

    - tunnels (fearing a collapse)

    - heights (fear of falling)

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    You may want to speak to your doctor about your phobia symptoms, as phobias sometimes require the supportive guidance of a medical or mental health professional. If you have intense or irrational fear of a particular situation or object that is interrupting your ability to live your life and manage your responsibilities on a daily basis, it is important to get support. A medical professional can prescribe a treatment program that will help you manage or put an end to your symptoms.

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    A Social Work, answered on behalf of
    These are some physiological and emotional symptoms of phobia:

    • Anxiety
    • Panic attacks
    • Shortness of breath or smothering sensation
    • Chest pain or discomfort
    • Feeling of choking
    • Sweating
    • Nausea or stomach distress
    • Fear of fainting
    • Fear of losing control of going crazy
    • Feeling of unreality or of being detached from yourself
    • Feeling unsteady, dizzy, lightheaded, or faint
    • Hot or cold flashes
    • Trembling or shaking
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    Your child is more likely to develop a phobia if you have dealt with one yourself. Also, research shows that a parent's anxiety level can effect whether or not a child develops a phobia. If you are concerned about how to minimize the effect of your own phobia or anxiety level on your child, it is important to speak with a mental health professional.

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    Every year, approximately 19 million of Americans experience one or more phobias that range from mild to severe. Phobias can occur in early childhood, but usually are first evident between the ages of 15 and 20 years. They affect both genders equally, although men are more likely to seek treatment for phobias.

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    A , Psychology, answered
    What causes phobias?
    Phobias can be caused by a traumatic situation that triggers a strong fear response, witnessing something disturbing, or even media hype of a current event. In this video, psychologist Todd Farchione, PhD, explains common ways people develop phobias. 
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    A , Psychiatry, answered
    Traumatic events often lead to specific phobia. Genes are also believed to play a role because the tendency to develop specific phobia runs in families.

    Twice as many women as men develop specific phobia. People who have a close relative with specific phobia are at higher risk. A terrifying or deeply troubling experience, as well as a genetic predisposition, increases the likelihood of developing specific phobia.
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