What is a Phobia?
Phobia is an intense, irrational fear of something that actually poses little or no threat. While adults with phobias realize that these fears are irrational, they often find that facing, or even thinking about facing, the feared object or situation brings on a panic attack or severe anxiety. *
Types of Phobia
Social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder, is diagnosed when people become overwhelmingly anxious and excessively self-conscious in everyday social situations. People with social phobia have an intense, persistent, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and of doing things that will embarrass them. They can worry for days or weeks before a dreaded situation. This fear may become so severe that it interferes with work, school, and other ordinary activities, and can make it hard to make and keep friends.*
Some of the more common specific phobias are heights, escalators, tunnels, highway driving, closed-in places, water, flying, dogs, spiders, and injuries involving blood.
Agoraphobia is one of the many Specific Phobias. It is characterized by an intense fear of new places, open spaces or other public places. People with agoraphobia sometimes fear leaving their house, and may isolate themselves from friends and family because they are no longer able to go to the places where people socialize.
Types of Treatment
Cognitive therapy is a form of talk therapy that helps people to examine the thoughts influence their choices and behavior. Cognitive therapy challenges irrational thoughts and works to replace them with more rational ones.
Exposure therapy is form treatment that attempts to gradually expose a person with phobias to the conditions or items which cause them anxiety in an effort to reduce the amount of anxiety associated with the stressor. Exposure therapy can have very quick and dramatic success.
Medication therapy can also have great success when accompanied with other forms of supportive therapy. Anti-depressant and/or anti-anxiety medications have seen the most success.
If you would like more information or an assessment by a mental health professional you can contact Catholic Charities Behavioral Health Services at
1-866-682-2166 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Information courtesy of The National Institute of Mental Health