Phobias (cont.)

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What is a phobia? What are the different kinds of phobias?

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A phobia is defined as the unrelenting fear of a situation, activity, or thing that causes one 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 phobia sufferers find ways to avoid the situations of which they are phobic. Therefore, statistics that estimate how many people suffer from phobias vary widely, but at minimum, phobias afflict more than 6 million people in the United States, with the average age of developing a phobia being about 10 years of age. Other facts about phobias include that these illnesses are not unusual and are thought to affect up to 28 out of every 100 people, and in all western countries, phobias strike 7%-13% of the population. Women tend to be twice as likely to suffer from a phobia compared to 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), clowns (coulrophobia), flying (aerophobia), blood, animals (zoophobia), commitment (commitment phobia), driving, spiders (arachnophobia), needles (aichmophobia), snakes (ophidiophobia), math, heights (acrophobia or altophobia), germs (mysophobia), and having dental work done (dentophobia). Fears of midgets, haunted houses, helmets, pickles, and feet 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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/12/2012

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Phobias - Cause Question: What was the cause of your phobia?
Phobias - Symptoms Question: What were the symptoms of your phobia(s)?
Phobias - Treatment Question: What was the treatment for your phobia?
Phobias - Types Question: Describe your phobia, how it makes you feel, and if you've received treatment for it.
Phobias - Assessment Question: Discuss the tests, exams, and/or different doctors you saw to treat your phobia.
Phobias - Coping Question: Please share tips and suggestions for how to cope with your particular phobia.