Phobias are intense, persistent and irrational fear of an object, activity or situation which poses little to no actual hazard. It is a type of anxiety disorder. Common phobias include fear of enclosed places, heights, flying insects, snakes, needles etc. Phobias can be of anything, like buttons. Most phobias usually develop in childhood, but they can also develop in later life. The main difference between a fear and a phobia is that a phobia is unreasonable, which a fear may or may not be.
The actual cause of phobias is still greatly unknown. But there does seem to be a link between one’s own phobias and the phobias of their parents. This could be due to genetics or learned behavior.
Phobias typically exhibit the following symptoms:
- A feeling of uncontrollable panic, terror or dread when exposed to the source of fear
- The feeling of complete and utter avoidance of said
- The inability to function normally because of anxiety
- Physical as well as psychological reactions, including sweating, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, a feeling of panic and intense anxiety
- Often, the knowledge that the fears are unreasonable or exaggerated but feeling powerless to control them nonetheless
- In some cases, anxiety just thinking about the fear
- In children, possibly tantrums, clinging or crying
- Arachnophobia – The fear of spiders
- Ophidiophobia – The fear of snakes
- Acrophobia – The fear of heights
- Agoraphobia – The fear of open or crowded spaces
- Cynophobia – The fear of dogs
- Astraphobia – The fear of thunder and lightning. Also known as Brontophobia, Tonitrophobia, or Ceraunophobia.
- Claustrophobia – The fear of small spaces
- Mysophobia – The fear of germs
- Aerophobia – The fear of flying
- Trypanophobia – The fear of injections
- Trypophobia – The fear of holes
Treatments include facing fear, relaxation and meditation, beta blockers and antidepressants etc. Of course, expert opinion is necessary before taking any step.