What causes phobias?

Todd Farchione, PhD
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. 

Research suggests that both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the onset of phobias. Specific phobias have been associated with a fearful first encounter with the phobic object or situation. The question still exists, however, whether this conditioning exposure is necessary or if phobias can develop in genetically predisposed individuals.

The cause of phobias is unclear. There appears to be a relationship between your own phobias and the phobias of your parents or family members. It is not clear whether that is caused by genetics or is a result of observing fearful behavior and then experiencing it yourself.

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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.