Phobias

What is a phobia?

The definition of a phobia is an overwhelming, persistent, unreasonable fear of an object or situation. People with phobias often understand that their fear is irrational and that no real danger is present. For example, many people fear spiders; if a person’s fear is irrationally exaggerated enough, this might classify as a specific phobia. People with specific phobias actively seek to avoid the feared object or situation often to the detriment of everyday life.

There are five types of specific phobias, they include:

  • Animal – common examples include fear of dogs, snakes or spiders
  • Natural environment – examples include fear of height, water or thunderstorms
  • Blood injections / injury – common examples are the fear of pain or being beaten
  • Situational – such as fear of flying or elevator
  • Other – phobias which do not specifically fit into another subtype

What are the symptoms?

If your phobia doesn’t impact your life that much, it’s probably nothing to be concerned about. But if avoidance of the object, activity, or situation that triggers your phobia interferes with your normal functioning, or keeps you from doing things you would otherwise enjoy, it’s time to seek help.

You should consider treatment for your phobia if:

  • You avoid certain situations or places because of your phobia and this interferes with aspects of your life
  • It causes uncontrollable anxiety when exposed to the fear
  • Feeling an intense need to escape
  • Knowing that your fear is irrational, but feeling powerless to overcome it

What are the therapies that can help? 

Related issues

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