anxiety disorder defined by a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation

A phobia (from the Greek: φόβος, romanizedfobos, lit.'fear') is a strong fear about a specific thing or situation. In psychology, phobia is considered an anxiety disorder. Phobia is different than just being scared of something. The fear is so strong that it affects, and often damages, the sufferer's life. For example, the person will usually do everything they can to avoid the thing they fear. If they cannot avoid that thing, they will suffer from very strong anxiety which can damage their social relationships, their ability to work, and other areas of their everyday life.

There are two basic types of phobias: specific phobias and social phobias. People with specific phobias fear a certain thing, for example spiders (this is called arachnophobia) or high places (acrophobia). People with social phobias fear social situations (for example speaking in public, being in crowded areas, or being around other people).

Difference between phobia and fear change

Fear is a normal human emotion. A phobia is different from normal fear in many ways:

  1. With phobias, a person fears something which is not really dangerous, or which is not anywhere near as dangerous as the person believes it is. For example, many humans fear spiders. However, a person with a phobia of spiders might panic when even thinking about a spider, refuse to leave home because they are too afraid of seeing a spider, or spend hours of each day making sure there are no spiders in their home. People with phobias realize that their anxiety is much more severe than normal fear would be.
  2. Phobia lasts much longer than regular fear. For example, a person with a phobia of spiders might continue to feel severe anxiety for hours after seeing a spider.
  3. When a person feels normal fear, their fear does not damage their life. Phobias cause problems in sufferers' daily lives. For example, they may damage important relationships or make it difficult for the person to work. People with social phobias may avoid being with other people or meeting new people.

It is hard to tell how many people suffer from phobias. Researchers think that between 5 and 13 percent of people seem to have a phobia. Women suffer from phobias about twice as often as men.

Fears in children change

Every child is afraid of something. For most children, these fears eventually disappear.

Normal fears in children include:

These fears would only be called phobias if they caused problems in the child's daily life, or if they caused the child to suffer from severe anxiety or emotional distress.

Causes and risk factors change

Causes and risk factors phobias can be very bad.

Caused change

They can be caused by:

  • phobia occurs mostly in childhood[2]
  • innate fear
  • traumatic event (assault, assault witness, injury ...)
  • hear about the possible danger (animal attacked someone; about a natural disaster ...)[3]

Risk factors change

Types of phobias change

Specific phobias change

also psychological phobias. These include hundreds of types of phobias. Some:

Social phobias change

Symptoms change

When a person with a phobia is exposed to their fear (encounters with the stimulus, thinks of it, sees the object of fear in the picture...) occur at these physical and psychological symptoms. Intensity depends on the degree of fear.

Psychological symptoms change

Psychological symptoms are symptoms that take place within a human. These include:

Physical symptoms change


Treatment change

There are different ways to help people with phobias. There is treatment available; it focuses on making the patient less sensitive to the fear they suffer from, or showing him or her how the cycle of fear works. There is also medication available (mostly sedatives) that help people cope. Finally there are self-help groups.

Related pages change

List of phobias

References change

  1. "Specific Phobias (Symptoms) - Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety - Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania".
  2. "Trápí Vás fobie ? | soBITCH blog". Archived from the original on 2009-11-12. Retrieved 2012-02-20.
  3. avril 2010, Marie-Ève Cousineau, Coup de pouce (15 April 2010). "Phobies: mieux les comprendre". Coup de Pouce.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. "Phobia Definition, List of Types, Causes & Treatment". MedicineNet.
  5. "Specific phobias - Symptoms and causes". Mayo Clinic.
  6. "Symptoms". 3 October 2018.
  7. Cherry, Kendra. "How Phobias or Persistent and Extreme Fears Are Treated". Verywell Mind.

Other websites change