Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
The definition of a phobia is the unrelenting fear of a situation, activity, or thing that causes one to want to avoid it.
The three classes of phobias are social phobia (fear of public speaking, meeting new people or other social situations), agoraphobia (fear of being outside), and specific phobias (fear of other items or situations).
Although phobias are largely underreported, the number of people who suffer from phobias is estimated at more than 6 million people in the United States.
The average age that phobias begin is about 10 years of age.
Women tend to be twice as likely to suffer from a phobia compared to men.
While there are nearly as many phobias as there are situations, the most common kinds of phobias include social phobia, agoraphobia, claustrophobia, coulrophobia, aerophobia, zoophobia, arachnophobia, dentophobia, aichmophobia, ophidiophobia, acrophobia, mysophobia, and a fear of blood.
Agoraphobia often coexists with panic disorder.
If left untreated, a phobia may worsen to the point where the person's life is seriously affected by the phobia and by attempts to avoid or conceal it, leading to problems with personal health, friends and family, failures in school, and/or lost jobs while struggling to cope.
Phobias tend to run in families, can be influenced by culture and parenting style, and can be triggered by life events.
Phobia sufferers have been found to be more likely to manage stress by avoiding the stressful situation and by having difficulty minimizing the intensity of the fearful situation.