Phobias - General Information

What are Phobias?


Fear is an emotion that every person feels regardless of age, status in life, gender etc. As humans, fear is a normal emotion: you feel fear whenever you sense danger or whenever you perceive that something terrible is going to happen.

However normal it is for us to feel fear, there are numerous cases where people feel fear because of something so irrational that interferes with what is considered as their normal everyday activities. In this light, the simple fear develops into a phobia.

A phobia differs from fear in the way that phobia is an irrational, constant and severe fear of one of the following: a place, a situation, an animal or an object. These things donít normally frighten the majority of people so they are considered irrational fears; phobias.

People who suffer from phobias feel an overpowering need to steer clear of any kind of contact with particular causes of their irrational fear. Moreover, even the mere thought of having any kind of contact with the causes of their irrational fear is enough to send them into a panic or anxiety attack. In every 10 people who suffer from phobias, 6 of them actually remember the very first time they felt an overwhelming fear of the cause of their phobia.

Some phobias such as phobias from dangerous animals are considered fine since these phobias can be really dangerous when you come in contact with them. However, phobias that are veered towards places and situations are not supposed to be tolerated since it could lead to a personís inability to cope with normal activities.


Phobias - The 3 General Types of Phobias


In general, there are specific types of phobias which can be further divided into subcategories. These are Agoraphobia, Social Phobia and Specific Phobia.

People who suffer from agoraphobia are extremely frightened of particular places and situations where the person feels that when something bad happens to them, they will not be able to find help. In some cases, they also feel that when they are placed in an embarrassing situation, they will not be able to rise above it. An estimated 2.2% or 3.2 million of Americans aged 18 to 54 have agoraphobia.

On the other hand, people who suffer from social phobia are severely frightened of social situations such as parties. Yes, even when they know all the people at the party, striking up and maintaining conversations and rapport with strangers, speaking to persons with authority over them and eventually getting into intimate relationships frightens them. Social phobias typically develop in childhood, and when it is not detected, it can go on until adolescence. An estimated 3.7% or 5.3 million Americans aged 18 to 54 suffer from social phobia.

For people suffering from specific phobias, they are extremely frightened of particular objects and situations such as elevators, flying in an airplane, riding a boat, rats, cockroaches and similar. This type of phobia is the most prevalent and an estimated 4.4% or 6.3 million Americans aged 18 to 54 suffer from specific phobias.

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