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- Phobia facts
- What is a phobia? What are the different kinds of phobias?
- What are the complications of phobias?
- What are the causes and risk factors for phobias?
- What are phobia symptoms and signs?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose phobias?
- What is the treatment for phobias?
- What is the prognosis for phobias?
- Is it possible to prevent phobias?
- How can people cope with phobias?
- Where can people get information and help for phobias?
- What research is being done on phobias?
Quick GuideWhat's Your Biggest Fear? Phobias
What is a phobia? What are the different kinds of phobias?
A phobia is defined as the persistent fear of a situation, activity, or thing that causes the sufferer to want to avoid it. The three types 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 particular items or situations).
Phobias are largely underreported, probably because many people with phobias find ways to avoid the situations that they fear. Therefore, statistics for how many people have phobias vary widely. Phobias are fairly common. Women are thought to be twice as likely to develop a phobia than men.
Some of the most common phobias include fears of public speaking or other social situations (social phobia or social anxiety disorder), open spaces (agoraphobia), closed-in spaces (claustrophobia), the dark, clowns (coulrophobia), flying (aerophobia), blood, birds (ornithophobia) or all animals (zoophobia), commitment (gamophobia), driving (vehophobia), snow (chionophobia), spiders (arachnophobia) and bugs, needles (aichmophobia), snakes (ophidiophobia), death, math, heights (acrophobia or altophobia), bridges or tunnels, germs (mysophobia), and having dental work done (dentophobia). Fears of midgets, haunted houses, long words, helmets, pickles, feet, and phobias of holes are just a few unusual fears/phobias and may be considered weird or strange by some but can be just as debilitating as those phobias that are more common. Agoraphobia often coexists with panic disorder.