A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. It is a strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no real danger.

There are many specific phobias. Acrophobia is a fear of heights. Agoraphobia is a fear of public places, and claustrophobia is a fear of closed-in places. If you become anxious and extremely self-conscious in everyday social situations, you could have a social phobia. Other common phobias involve tunnels, highway driving, water, flying, animals and blood.

People with phobias try to avoid what they are afraid of. If they cannot, they may experience

  • Panic and fear
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trembling
  • A strong desire to get away

Phobias usually start in children or teens, and continue into adulthood. The causes of specific phobias are not known, but they sometimes run in families.

Treatment helps most people with phobias. Options include medicines, therapy or both.

NIH: National Institute of Mental Health

Symptoms of Phobias

The following features are indicative of Phobias:
  • immediate feeling of intense fear, anxiety and panic
  • worsening anxiety
  • doing everything possible to avoid the object or a situation
  • sweating
  • rapid heartbeat
  • tight chest
  • difficulty in breathing
  • feeling nauseated
It is possible that Phobias shows no physical symptoms and still is present in a patient.

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Common Causes of Phobias

The following are the most common causes of Phobias:
  • negative experiences
  • panic attack related to a specific object or situation
  • genetic factors
  • environmental factors
  • changes in brain functioning

Risk Factors for Phobias

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Phobias:
  • children
  • older age
  • family history
  • more sensitive temperament
  • negative experience

Prevention of Phobias

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Phobias. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • get enough rest
  • eat healthy diet
  • regular physical activity
  • avoid caffeine use

Occurrence of Phobias

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Phobias cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Phobias can occur at any age.

Common Gender

Phobias can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Phobias

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Phobias:
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5): To identify the symptoms, medical, psychiatric and social history

Doctor for Diagnosis of Phobias

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Phobias:
  • Psychiatrist

Complications of Phobias if untreated

Yes, Phobias causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Phobias is left untreated:
  • social isolation
  • mood disorders
  • risk of suicide

Procedures for Treatment of Phobias

The following procedures are used to treat Phobias:
  • Exposure therapy: To change the response to the object or situation that you fear from
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy: To view and cope with the feared object or situation differently

Self-care for Phobias

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Phobias:
  • Implement mindfulness strategies: Helpful in learning how to tolerate anxiety and reduce avoidance behaviors
  • Use relaxation techniques: Helps in coping with anxiety and stress
  • Regular physical activity and exercise: Helpful in managing anxiety associated with specific phobias

Patient Support for Treatment of Phobias

The following actions may help Phobias patients:
  • Try not to avoid feared situations: Practice staying near feared situations to learn how to deal with them
  • Support groups: Join a self-help or support group where you can connect with others who understand what you're going through
  • Model positive behavior: Parents should demonstrate a positive behaviour that boost your children moral

Time for Treatment of Phobias

While time-period of treatment for each patient may vary, below is the typical time-period for Phobias to resolve if treated properly under an expert supervision:
  • In 6 months - 1 year

Related Topics

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Phobias.

Related Topics

Panic Disorder

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