Phobias (cont.)

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What are the signs and symptoms of phobias?

Symptoms of phobias often involve having a panic attack -- in that they include feelings of panic, dread, or terror, despite recognition that those feelings are excessive in relationship to any real danger -- as well as physical symptoms like shaking, sweating, trouble thinking clearly, nausea, rapid heart beat, trouble breathing, and an overwhelming desire to escape the situation that is causing the phobic reaction. Also, extreme measures are sometimes taken to avoid or escape the situation.

How are phobias assessed?

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Many providers of health care may help with the diagnosis of phobias, including licensed mental-health therapists, family physicians, or other primary-care medical providers, specialists whom you see for a medical condition, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers. If one of these professionals suspects that you may be suffering from a phobia, you will likely be asked a number of questions to understand all the symptoms you may be experiencing and you may need to submit to a medical interview and physical examination. A phobia may be associated with a number of other mental-health conditions, including schizophrenia. Phobias are particularly associated with other anxiety disorders. In addition to panic disorder, examples of other anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As anxiety disorders in general may be associated with a number of medical conditions or can be a side effect of various medications, routine laboratory tests are often performed during the initial evaluation to rule out other possible causes of the symptoms.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/21/2014

Phobias Picture Slideshow: What Are You Afraid Of?

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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.