Overview
Phobia is a marked fear or anxiety about a specific object or situation (e.g., flying, heights, animals, receiving an injection, seeing blood).

When a person has a phobia, they will often shape their lives to avoid what they consider to be dangerous. The imagined threat is greater than any actual threat posed by the cause of terror.

How many types are phobias?
There are three types of phobia:

Specific phobia: This is an intense, irrational fear of a specific trigger.

Social phobia or social anxiety: This is a profound fear of public humiliation and being singled out or judged by others in a social situation. The idea of large social gatherings is terrifying for someone with social anxiety. It is not the same as shyness.

Agoraphobia: Agoraphobia is defined by the fear of being alone in certain situations or places, especially in public places that can not be immediately deserted or in which the aid may not be available in a possible panic attack, a lift or out of the house. Fears usually lead to avoiding situations and places, for example being alone outside the house (in supermarkets, circulating streets, theaters, churches), being alone in a crowd, traveling alone by car, bus or the plane, or to be alone on a bridge or a lift. Sometimes, these people simply do not leave their home, or they are afraid to be alone at home. Some people are able to expose to the dreaded situations or places, but endure these experiences with considerable fear. Often, the person is more capable of confronting the dreaded situation or place when accompanied by someone (husband / wife, known persons). Avoidance of these situations and public places may affect their ability to move to work or to fulfill their domestic responsibilities (eg shopping, taking children to a doctor or kindergarten).

The onset of agoraphobia occurs at the age of 18-35, and the first episode suddenly appears in a certain circumstance, entails anxiety and avoidance behavior. As agoraphobia progresses, patients become more and more dependent on the family. Agoraphobia is the most common phobic disorder. People with agoraphobia have an increased risk of panic disorder.

Specific phobias are known as simple phobias as they can be linked to an identifiable cause that may not frequently occur in the everyday life of an individual, such as snakes. These are therefore not likely to affect day-to-day living in a significant way.

Social anxiety and agoraphobia are known as complex phobias, as their triggers are less easily recognized. People with complex phobias can also find it harder to avoid triggers, such as leaving the house or being in a large crowd.

A phobia becomes diagnosable when a person begins organizing their lives around avoiding the cause of their fear. It is more severe than a normal fear reaction. People with a phobia have an overpowering need to avoid anything that triggers their anxiety.

Symptoms
A person with a phobia will experience the following symptoms. They are common across the majority of phobias:

  • a sensation of uncontrollable anxiety when exposed to the source of fear
  • a feeling that the source of that fear must be avoided at all costs
  • not being able to function properly when exposed to the trigger
  • acknowledgment that the fear is irrational, unreasonable, and exaggerated, combined with an inability to control the feelings

A person is likely to experience feelings of panic and intense anxiety when exposed to the object of their phobia. The physical effects of these sensations can include:

  • sweating
  • abnormal breathing
  • accelerated heartbeat
  • trembling
  • hot flushes or chills
  • a choking sensation
  • chest pains or tightness
  • butterflies in the stomach
  • pins and needles
  • dry mouth
  • confusion and disorientation
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • headache

A feeling of anxiety can be produced simply by thinking about the object of the phobia. In younger children, parents may observe that they cry, become very clingy, or attempt to hide behind the legs of a parent or an object. They may also throw tantrums to show their distress.

Types

The most common specific phobias include:

  • Claustrophobia: Fear of being in constricted, confined spaces
  • Aerophobia: Fear of flying
  • Arachnophobia: Fear of spiders
  • Driving phobia: Fear of driving a car
  • Emetophobia: Fear of vomiting
  • Erythrophobia: Fear of blushing
  • Hypochondria: Fear of becoming ill
  • Zoophobia: Fear of animals
  • Aquaphobia: Fear of water
  • Acrophobia: Fear of heights
  • Blood, injury, and injection phobia: Fear of injuries involving blood
  • Escalaphobia: Fear of escalators
  • Tunnel phobia: Fear of tunnels

These are far from the only specific phobias. People can develop a phobia of almost anything. Also, as society changes, the list of potential phobias changes. For instance, nomophobia is the fear of being without a cell phone or computer.

Discover more about the connection between mind and body, how psychotherapy can help you overcome a difficult period or childhood trauma, how to manage better your emotions and how to keep stress under control. Browse the information on the web site and send the contact form to PsihoHelp with your message or questions, either to make your appointment.

MAKE AN APPOINTMENT