CausesThe exact cause of phobias is unknown, but it appears that genetic factors may be involved. Phobias may develop in children and adults. Adults with phobias are able to recognize that their fears are irrational, but some young children may not. Phobias may co-exist with other conditions including depression, anxiety, panic disorder, and substance abuse
People with phobias may avoid the stimulus that causes a phobic reaction. This may interfere with their jobs, such as a fear of flying in airplanes, or disrupt their social life. Over time, people with phobias may feel cowardly and lose self-esteem.
There are different types of phobias, including specific phobia, social phobia, and agoraphobia. Specific phobias include a fear of certain objects or situations, such as spiders, driving across bridges, elevators, or the sight of blood. People with social phobia fear certain social or social performance situations, such as speaking in front of an audience, attending parties, or dating. Agoraphobia is a fear of being in a place or situation that may be difficult to leave or find help in the event of a panic attack. People with agoraphobia may avoid situations that involve leaving their home.
TreatmentTreatment for phobias may include therapy, mediation, or both. Systematic desensitization therapy involves working on confronting phobias. Therapy may include real-life exposure to phobias to help reduce fears. Phobia clinics or group therapy may help groups of people overcome fears, such as the fear of flying in airplanes. Additionally, anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications may help reduce the symptoms of phobias.
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The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.