Phobic disorders are one of the most common Psychological disorders. Specific phobia affects 5 to 10 % of the general population, and Social Phobia affects about 3%. The onset is typically in childhood or early adult life, and the condition is usually chronic. Many people with specific phobia learn to “live around” the feared stimulus. Social phobia is often more disabling.
Phobic disorders develop because of a pairing of anxiety with specific environmental events or experiences. For example, emotional trauma accompanying experiences such as riding in a car or speaking in public may produce a phobia. The majority of individuals with these problems, however, do not report that particular events have led to the disorder. Under these circumstances, the cause of the disorder is unknown.
What is a specific phobia?
It is an intense, irrational fear or aversion to a particular object or situation, other than a social situation.
Typical specific phobias are
- Fears of animals (especially insects or spiders)-Arachnophobia
- Fear of natural calamities (like storms)-Seismophobia, Turbophobia etc.
- Phobia of blood-Hemophobia
- Fear of injection or injury- Aichmophobia or Traumatophobia
- Situations (eg, heights, closed places, elevators, airplane etc.)- Claustrophobia, Acrophobia, Agoraphobia etc.
How do these people deal with daily life?
Most people with specific phobia deal with this problem by simply avoiding the feared stimulus, although this is not always possible. For example, people who have a fear of insects or spiders may avoid basements, attics, or closets; however, the emotional reactions or avoidance behavior may cause more serious problems.
People who have a fear of flying may be unable to perform certain kinds of work. For example, people who have a blood/injection/injury phobia may experience dilation of blood vessels, lowered heart rate, lowered blood pressure while standing, or fainting on exposure to the condition they are afraid of.
We may thus conclude that people with specific phobias have an intense and irrational fear of certain things. They try to avoid those things at any cost. However, their fears can be treated by a Psychologist.
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