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What are Phobias

Phobias are the most common type of emotional disorders in the US. They are a type of anxiety disorder, which is the most prevalent mental disorder.

Definition:
An intense fear of certain situations, activities, things, animals, or people.

1) Experiencing intense fear in a situation that does not merit it.
2) Realizing that the fear is above and beyond what is necessary and that this behavior is irrational.
3) The person’s reaction to the situation is uncontrollable, aka automatic. The person lacks control of their fears.
4) During the situation the person may feel rapid heart beating, shaking and trembling, need to flee, and shortness or inability to breathe.
5) Continued fear even when the situation is avoided.

Phobia Statistics:
Anxiety disorders in women – 9.7%
Anxiety disorders in men – 4.7%
Median age for onset of phobia – 13

Clinical Phobias
* Social phobia- fears involving other people or social situations such as performance anxiety or fears of embarrassment by scrutiny of others, such as eating in public. Overcoming social phobia is often very difficult without the help of therapy or support groups. Social phobia may be further subdivided into
o generalized social phobia (also known as social anxiety disorder or simply social anxiety) and
o specific social phobia, in which anxiety is triggered only in specific situations.[7] The symptoms may extend to psychosomatic manifestation of physical problems. For example, sufferers of paruresis find it difficult or impossible to urinate in reduced levels of privacy. This goes far beyond mere preference: when the condition triggers, the person physically cannot empty their bladder.

* Specific phobias – fear of a single specific panic trigger such as spiders, snakes, dogs, water, heights, flying, catching a specific illness, etc. Many specific phobias involve fears that a lot of people have to a lesser degree. People with the phobias specifically avoid the entity they fear.

* Agoraphobia – a generalized fear of leaving home or a small familiar ’safe’ area, and of possible panic attacks that might follow. May also be caused by various specific phobias such as fear of open spaces, social embarrassment (social agoraphobia), fear of contamination (fear of germs, possibly complicated by obsessive-compulsive disorder) or PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) related to a trauma that occurred out of doors.