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A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, defined by a persistent fear of an object or situation

A phobia is a persistent, excessive, unrealistic fear of an object, person, animal, activity or situation. It is a type of anxiety disorder. A person with a phobia either tries to avoid the thing that triggers the fear, or endures it with great anxiety and distress.

Some phobias are specific and limited to one 'thing' such as a fear of spiders (arachnophobia) or dogs (cynophobia) so in these cases you can live relatively free of anxiety by avoiding the things that you fear.

Other phobias can cause issues in a wider variey of situations, for example a fear of heights (acrophobia) can be triggered by looking out of the window of an office building or by driving over a high bridge; a fear of confined spaces (claustrophobia) can be triggered by using a lift, the underground (tube) or even by using a small toilet cubicle. If you are suffering from these types of phobia it can result in the need to alter your life drastically as in extreme cases it will dictate your employment, job location, driving routes, recreational and social activities and home environment.

Although there are many types of phobia, there are only three major types:

  • Specific or simple phobia
  • Social phobia
  • Agoraphobia
Chris Barton - Phobia

Specific Phobia
This is the most common form of phobia where you fear specific things and this can be further broken down into situational phobias (fear of flying, confined spaces, driving, dentists, bridges & tunnels etc.). natural or environmental phobias (fear of storms, thunder, water, the dark and heights etc.), animal phobias (fear of spiders, dogs, cats, snakes, insects and rodents etc.) blood/injection/injury phobias (fear of blood, needles, germs and surgery etc) and medical/illness phobias (fear of vomit, illness and death etc). The list of phobias under this category  is almost endless as the fears are of specific things and can be at least partly generic or inherited and seem to run in families; the thought being that children can learn their phobias from the adults around them.  

Social Phobia
Social phobia is where you fear social situations where you feel you may be humiliated, embarrassed or judged by others; this anxiety can increase when unfamiliar people are involved and can be limited to performance such as giving a business presentation but can also be more generalised so that you avoid social situations such as eating in public, using public toilets and social gatherings in public places.

Agoraphobia
This is a fear of being in public places where it may be difficult or embarrassing to make a sudden exit; you may avoid going to the movies or concerts, traveling on a bus or train. Many people with agoraphobia also experience panic symptoms which involve intense fear plus uncomfortable physical symptoms including trembling, sweating and heart palpitations.

Phobias can increase an adult's risk of other types of mental/psychiatric illness, especially anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse.

The list of phobias can run into hundreds, but no matter whatever is stopping you living your life to the full, I can help you

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