More Facts About Phobias

Specific Phobia
A specific phobia is an intense fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. Some of the more common ones are centered around:
  • Closed-in places (claustrophobia)
  • Heights (acrophobia)
  • Escalators
  • Tunnels
  • Highway driving
  • Water
  • Flying (pterygophobia)
  • Dogs
  • Spiders
  • Injuries involving blood.
Agoraphobia is the fear of being alone or in public places. This type of phobia rarely occurs in the absence of panic disorder.

Possible Causes of Phobias

Ongoing research is being performed to define the causes of phobias. Some researchers believe a small structure in the brain called the amygdala is responsible for the symptoms of phobias. The amygdala is believed to be a central site in the brain that controls fear responses.
Animal studies are adding to the evidence that suggests phobias can be inherited.
Another area of research is investigating a biochemical basis for phobias. Scientists are exploring the idea that heightened sensitivity to disapproval may be physiologically or hormonally based.
Other researchers are investigating the role of environment on the development of phobias. People may acquire their fear from observing the behavior and consequences of others, a process called observational learning or social modeling.


A person with symptoms of phobia experiences extreme anxiety when exposed to the feared object or situation. He or she recognizes that this fear is excessive or unreasonable, and finds that normal routines, social activities, or relationships are significantly impaired as a result.
Other common symptoms can include:
  • Sweating
  • Racing heart
  • Trembling.
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Different Types of Phobias

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