Phobias

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    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.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    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.

View the Phobias Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuidePhobias Picture Slideshow: What Are You Afraid Of?

Phobias Picture Slideshow: What Are You Afraid Of?

What is the prognosis for phobias?

Cognitive therapy and exposure therapy alone, in combination, or with relaxation training have been found to be effective in treating phobias. Relaxation training alone has also been found to be effective in treating phobias. While some interventions, like sedating people who are phobic about getting dental work, may be useful in the short term, they may undermine truly overcoming the condition.

Is it possible to prevent phobias?

Phobia prevention that involves educating people with this illness, their loved ones, and other involved individuals like children's teachers have been found to be effective in preventing phobias from ever occurring.

How can people cope with phobias?

Ways that individuals with a phobia can work toward overcoming their fears include talking about their phobia, refraining from avoiding situations they find stressful, imagining themselves facing their fears (visualization), and making positive statements to themselves like, "I will be OK." In fact, when self-help methods are combined with brief psychotherapy, phobia sufferers may achieve significant improvement in symptoms.

Where can people get information and help for phobias?

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
http://www.aacap.org

American Counseling Association
http://www.counseling.org

American Psychiatric Association
http://www.psych.org

American Psychological Association
http://helping.apa.org

Anxiety and Depression Association of America
http://www.adaa.org/

Freedom From Fear
http://www.freedomfromfear.org

National Association of Social Workers
http://www.naswdc.org

National Mental Health Association
http://www.nmha.org

National Panic/Anxiety Disorder News, Inc.
http://www.npadnews.com

What research is being done on phobias?

Research studies are focused upon how well phobias respond to various treatments over the long term, as well as how age-related changes in thinking ability (cognition) may interact with anxiety. The use of herbal and other dietary supplements in the treatment of phobias is being explored, as well.

REFERENCES:

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Leinonen, E., U. Lepola, H. Koponen, J. Turtonen, A. Wade, and H. Lehto. "Citalopram Controls Phobic Symptoms in Patients With Panic Disorder: Randomized Controlled Trial." Journal of Psychiatry Neuroscience 25.1 (2000): 25-32.

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Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/15/2016

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