A phobia is a constant, irrational anxiety surrounding specific objects, activities, or situations. The most common ones are social interactions, being in public places, or specific things that pose little or no actual danger (such as spiders or water). Researchers are still attempting to determine what exactly causes them. In some cases, they are treated or managed with medications. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is also a useful treatment that teaches coping skills.
Phobias are a group of disorders that include persistent, recurring, irrational severe anxiety surrounding specific objects, activities, or situations. Phobias also involve specific avoidance of the particular item or activity that causes the anxiety.
A phobia is a relatively common condition, and a diagnosis is usually made only when fear or avoidance behavior is a significant source of distress to the individual or when it interferes with social or occupational functioning.
Common types of phobias include:
Social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder, is a disorder characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. People with this disorder have a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and of being embarrassed or humiliated by their own actions. Their fear may be so severe that it interferes with work, school, or other ordinary activities.
While many people with this disorder recognize that their fear of being around people may be excessive or unreasonable, they are unable to overcome it. They often worry for days or weeks in advance of a dreaded situation.