Specific phobias : Causes-Symptoms-Diagnosis-Treatment

 What are Specific phobias?

Specific anxiety disorder is associated with intense, irrational worry of one thing that poses very little or no actual danger. Although adults with phobias might understand that these fears square measure irrational, even puzzling over facing the dreaded object or state of affairs brings on severe anxiety symptoms.

The term "phobia" refers to a bunch of tension symptoms brought on by sure objects or things.

What are Specific phobias?
Specific phobias

A specific anxiety disorder, often referred to as an easy anxiety disorder, may be a lasting and unreasonable worry caused by the presence or thought of a particular object or state of affairs that sometimes poses very little or no actual danger. Exposure to the article or state of affairs brings concerning an instantaneous reaction, inflicting the person to endure intense anxiety (nervousness) or to avoid the article or state of affairs entirely. The distress related to the anxiety disorder and/or the requirement to avoid the article or state of affairs will considerably interfere with the person's ability to perform. Adults with a particular anxiety disorder acknowledge that the worry is excessive or unreasonable, nonetheless square measure unable to beat it.

  1. Medical And Anatomical Concept Of The Human Body

Medical terms

  • Specific phobias are an awesome and unreasonable concern of objects or things that create very little real danger however provoke anxiety and shunning. Unlike the temporary anxiety you will feel once giving a speech or taking a look at, specific phobias are long lasting, cause intense physical and psychological reactions, and may have an effect on your ability to perform commonly at work, in school or in social settings.

  • Specific phobias are a unit among the foremost common anxiety disorders, and not all phobias want treatment. However, if a selected phobic neurosis affects your existence, many therapies are a unit out there that may assist you run through and overcome your fears — typically for good.

  • Specific phobias and fears are among the most common of all mental health disorders In a given year about one in five people will experience a specific phobia and about one in ten will have a panic attack Social anxiety disorder and agoraphobia are some of the more common specific phobias and fears seen by behavioral therapists Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that involves fear of being trapped or confined to a space from which there is no escape People with agoraphobia often avoid situations where they feel helpless or unable to get help Agoraphobia usually develops after having experienced.

Specific phobias are a specific fear of objects or situations that may cause distress and/or avoidance The various types of specific phobias include: Ablutophobia - Fear of bathing showering or washing oneself; also referred to as Bathing Phobia Agyrophobia - Fear of crossing the street; more specifically to cross from one side to another Agliophobia - Fear of pain Agraphobia - Fear of sexual abuse Alektorophobia- Fear of chickens More specifically domestic fowls and hens that have been kept for their eggs and meat.

Types of Specific Phobia

There are five different types of specific phobia.

  • Animal Type (e.g. dogs, snakes, or spiders)

  • Natural Environment Type (e.g., heights, storms, water)

  • Blood-Injection-Injury Type (e.g. fear of seeing blood, receiving a blood test or shot, watching television shows that display medical procedures)

  • Situational Type (e.g., airplanes, elevators, driving, enclosed places)

  • Other Types (e.g., phobic avoidance of situations that may lead to choking, vomiting, or contracting an illness; in children, avoidance of loud sounds like balloons popping or costumed characters like clowns)

Specific Phobias versus traditional Childhood Fears

It is vital to differentiate between specific phobias and traditional childhood fears. consistent with the kid Anxiety Network , some analysis shows that ninetieth of kids between the ages of 2-14 have a minimum of one specific worry. Not all fears interfere with daily functioning, and don't essentially advantage psychological treatment. Below are some samples of typical childhood and early adolescent fears.

  • Infants/Toddlers (ages 0-2 years) loud noises, strangers, separation from parents, large objects

  • Preschoolers (3-6 years) imaginary figures (e.g., ghosts, monsters, supernatural beings, the dark, noises, sleeping alone, thunder, floods)

  • School Aged Children/Adolescents (7-16 years) more realistic fears (e.g., physical injury, health, school performance, death, thunderstorms, earthquakes, floods)

Symptoms  Specific phobias

A specific phobic neurosis is AN intense, persistent, irrational worry of a selected object, situation, or activity, or person. Usually, the worry is proportionately bigger than the particular danger or threat. folks with specific phobias are extremely distressed concerning having the worry, and sometimes can attend nice lengths to avoid the article or state of affairs in question. in line with the Diagnostic and applied math Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), the year-long community prevalence estimate for specific phobias is roughly 7%-9%.

A specific phobic neurosis involves AN intense, persistent worry of a selected object or state of affairs that is out of proportion to the particular risk. There are many varieties of phobias, and it isn't uncommon to experience a selected phobic neurosis concerning one object or state of affairs. Specific phobias can even occur at the side of different sorts of anxiety disorders.

Common categories of specific phobias are a fear of:

  • Situations, such as airplanes, enclosed spaces or going to school

  • Nature, such as thunderstorms or heights

  • Animals or insects, such as dogs or spiders

  • Blood, injection or injury, such as needles, accidents or medical procedures

  • Others, such as choking, vomiting, loud noises or clowns

Each specific phobia is referred to by its own term. Examples of more common terms include acrophobia for the fear of heights and claustrophobia for the fear of confined spaces.

No matter what specific phobia you have, it's likely to produce these types of reactions:

  • An immediate feeling of intense fear, anxiety and panic when exposed to or even thinking about the source of your fear

  • Awareness that your fears are unreasonable or exaggerated but feeling powerless to control them

  • Worsening anxiety as the situation or object gets closer to you in time or physical proximity

  • Doing everything possible to avoid the object or situation or enduring it with intense anxiety or fear

  • Difficulty functioning normally because of your fear

  • Physical reactions and sensations, including sweating, rapid heartbeat, tight chest or difficulty breathing

  • Feeling nauseated, dizzy or fainting around blood or injuries

  • In children, possibly tantrums, clinging, crying, or refusing to leave a parent's side or approach their fear

When to see a doctor

An unreasonable worry is often associated with associate degree noyance — having to require the steps rather than an elevator or driving the ways to figure rather than taking the pike, for example — however it is not thought-about a selected anxiety disorder unless it seriously disrupts your life. If anxiety negatively affects functioning in work, faculty or social things, speak along with your doctor or a mental state skilled.

Childhood fears, like worry of the dark, of monsters or of being left alone, are common, and most youngsters outgrow them. however if your kid encompasses a persistent, excessive worry that interferes with daily performing at home or faculty, visit your child's doctor.

Most people are often helped with the proper medical care. And medical care tends to be easier once the anxiety disorder is self-addressed quickly instead of waiting.

Causes Specific phobias

The exact explanation for specific phobias isn't far-famed, however most seem to be related to a traumatic experience or a reaction. As an example, if a United Nations agency contains a scary or threatening experience with an animal, like an associate degree attack or being bitten, it will develop a selected phobic disorder. Witnessing a traumatic event during which others experience hurt or extreme worry also can cause a selected phobic disorder, as will receiving info or recurrent warnings regarding probably dangerous things or animals.

Fear is often learned from others, as well. a baby whose folks react with worry and anxiety to sure objects or things is probably going to conjointly answer those objects with worry.

Much is still unknown about the actual cause of specific phobias. Causes may include:

  • Negative experiences. Many phobias develop as a result of having a negative experience or panic attack related to a specific object or situation.

  • Genetics and environment. There could also be a link between your own specific phobic disorder and therefore the phobic disorder or anxiety of your elders — this might flow from biology or learned behavior. 

  • Brain function. Changes in brain functioning also may play a role in developing specific phobias.

Risk factors Specific phobias

Anxiety disorders are a unit caused by a mix of biological, genetic, and psychological factors and difficult life experiences.

Although there's nobody specific reason behind specific phobias.

These factors may increase your risk of specific phobias:

  • Your age. Specific phobias can first appear in childhood, usually by age 10, but can occur later in life.

  • Your relatives. If somebody in your family incorporates a specific anxiety disorder or anxiety, you are probably additional to developing it, too. This might be Associate in Nursing familial tendency, or youngsters could learn specific phobias by observing a family member's neurotic reaction to Associate in Nursing object or a state of affairs. 

  • Your temperament. Your risk may increase if you're more sensitive, more inhibited or more negative than the norm.

  • A negative experience. Experiencing a frightening traumatic event, such as being trapped in an elevator or attacked by an animal, may trigger the development of a specific phobia.

  • Learning about negative experiences. Hearing about negative information or experiences, such as plane crashes, can lead to the development of a specific phobia.

Complications Specific phobias

Although specific phobias could appear silly to others, they will be devastating to those who have them, inflicting issues that have an effect on several aspects of life.

  • Social isolation. Avoiding places and stuff you worry will cause educational, skilled and relationship issues. Kids with these disorders square measure in danger of educational issues and loneliness, and that they could have trouble with social skills if their behaviors considerably disagree with their peers. 

  • Mood disorders. Many people with specific phobias have depression as well as other anxiety disorders.

  • Substance abuse. The stress of living with a severe specific phobia may lead to abuse of drugs or alcohol.

  • Suicide. Some individuals with specific phobias may be at risk of suicide.

Prevention Specific phobias

If you've got a selected phobic disorder, contemplate obtaining psychological facilitation, particularly if you've got kids. Although biology undoubtedly plays a role within the development of specific phobias, repeatedly seeing somebody else's psychoneurotic reaction will trigger a selected phobic disorder in kids.

By addressing your own fears, you will be teaching your kid wonderful resiliency skills and inspiring him or her to require brave actions similar to you probably did.

Diagnosis Specific phobias

If symptoms of a selected anxiety disorder are a gift, the doctor can begin associate degree analysis by playing a medical and medicine history and should perform a quick physical examination. Though there aren't any work tests to specifically diagnose specific phobias, the doctor might use varied tests to create certainty that a physical health problem is not the explanation for the symptoms.

If no physical health problem is found, you'll be cited as a head-shrinker, scientist, or alternative psychological state skilled UN agency is specially trained to diagnose and treat mental diseases. Psychiatrists and psychologists use clinical interviews and assessment tools to gauge an individual for a selected anxiety disorder.

  1. Mental And Psychological Examination

The doctor bases their designation of specific phobias on reportable symptoms, together with any issues with functioning caused by the symptoms. A selected anxiety disorder is diagnosed if the person's worry and anxiety are significantly distressing or if they interfere with their daily routine, together with faculty, work, social activities, and relationships.

Diagnosis of specific phobias is predicated on a radical clinical interview and diagnostic pointers. Your doctor can raise questions about your symptoms and take a medical, medicine and social history. He or she might use the diagnostic criteria within the Diagnostic and Applied Math Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), printed by the Yankee Medicine Association.

Treatment Specific phobias

Cognitive-behavioral medical aid (CBT) is an efficient treatment for anxiety disorders, as well as specific phobias. desensitization technique, a variety of activity medical aid, is commonly accustomed to treat specific phobias. different psychological treatments, like relaxation coaching, meditation, training program and stress management, can even facilitate. Many of us with phobias enjoy validating direction or group psychotherapy. Medication is another choice and is typically combined with CBT.

The best treatment for specific phobias may be a variety of psychotherapy referred to as desensitization technique. Typically your doctor may advocate different therapies or medication. Understanding the reason for an anxiety disorder is truly shorter than specializing in the way to treat the dodging behavior that has developed over time.

The goal of treatment is to boost quality of life so you are not restricted by your phobias. As you learn the way to better manage and relate to your reactions, thoughts and feelings, you will find that your anxiety and concern square measure is reduced and not up to the mark of your life. Treatment is typically directed at one specific anxiety disorder at a time.


Talking with a mental health professional can help you manage your specific phobia. Exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are the most effective treatments.

  1. Psychological rehabilitation
  • Exposure therapy focuses on dynamic your response to the article or state of affairs that you just worry about. Gradual, continual exposure to the supply of your specific anxiety disorder and also the connected thoughts, feelings and sensations could assist you learn to manage your anxiety. As an example, if you are fearful of elevators, your medical care could progress from merely brooding about going in AN elevator, to viewing footage of elevators, to going close to AN elevator, to going in AN elevator. Next, you'll take a one-floor ride, then ride many floors, and so ride during a jam-packed elevator .

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) involves exposure combined with alternative techniques to find out ways to look at and deal with the scary object or state of affairs otherwise. You learn different beliefs concerning your fears and bodily sensations and also the impact they've had on your life. CBT emphasizes learning to develop a way of mastery and confidence together with your thoughts and feelings instead of feeling engulfed by them. 


Generally psychotherapy mistreatment systematic desensitization is productive in treating specific phobias. However, typically medications will facilitate cutting back the anxiety and panic symptoms you experience from wondering or being exposed to the thing or scenario you worry about.

Medication is also used throughout initial treatment or for short use in specific, sometimes encountered things, like flying on an associate plane, speaking or surfing associate tomography procedure.

  • Beta blockers. These medicines block the stimulating effects of catecholamine, like enlarged pulse rate, elevated pressure, pounding heart, and shaking voice and limbs that are caused by anxiety. 

  • Sedatives. Medications known as benzodiazepines assist you relax by reducing the number of tension you are feeling. Sedatives are a unit used with caution as a result of they'll be addictive and may be avoided if you have a history of alcohol or drug dependence. 

How is phobia treated with CBT?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a very effective treatment for phobias The patient’s fears are confronted and then the patient learns to adjust his thoughts and behaviors in order to manage those fears and feel more comfortable with them Usually this involves taking action that triggers the reaction while being encouraged by the therapist to accept and control the suffering he feels when he encounters it He can also be taught various coping skills so that he will not have to avoid situations where phobic reactions occur.

How do you clear your fears?

There are no easy ways to overcome fears but there are a few things you can do to come out of the shadows The first step is to realize that fear is nothing more than imagined threat and all it really takes from you is an active imagination You don't have to know how the situation will turn out for sure; just consider what you'd want or need in any given situation and trust yourself to handle it – and if your uncertainty gets the best of you face your fears by taking action anyway.

Since the dawn of human history people have been plagued with phobias and all kinds of psychological issues The famous Abraham Lincoln supposedly had a huge phobia of public speaking It is said that he would dread taking the podium at events because he felt like he was going to die from embarrassment Even today we can see signs of this debilitating mind problem in many parts of the world There are millions who suffer from various phobias and other mental disorders making our world a sad place indeed Fortunately there are techniques for curing these nasty psychological problems which are relatively easy to understand and effective for the most part When.

How I healed my anxiety without drugs?

Most people have experienced anxiety whether it was related to taking a test riding on a roller coaster or talking to someone you have feelings for However if your anxiety is so great that it interferes with daily life and causes physical symptoms such as shaking or nausea then the problem may be more serious than you think For me this was the case at times during my adult life when I suffered from severe panic attacks that left me feeling helpless While there are many pharmaceutical options available to help ease anxiety disorders these drugs also carry significant risks and side effects that can pose additional problems Fortunately though there are natural alternatives that.

How do you calm irrational anxiety?

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America afflicting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (about 18%) -- nearly one in five adults Additionally half of all Americans experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives Anxiety attacks can occur suddenly while you’re driving or doing something else that requires concentration An anxiety attack can also occur during a sudden stressful event when you feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with your feelings.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Ask your doctor or alternative health care skilled to counsel style and alternative ways to assist you manage the anxiety that accompanies specific phobias. For example:

  • Mindfulness strategies may be helpful in learning how to tolerate anxiety and reduce avoidance behaviors.

  • Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation or yoga, may help cope with anxiety and stress.

  • Physical activity and exercise may be helpful in managing anxiety associated with specific phobias.

Coping and support

Professional treatment will assist you overcome your specific phobic disorder or manage it effectively therefore you do not become a captive to your fears. you'll be able to conjointly take some steps on your own:

  • Try not to avoid feared situations. Practice staying close to feared things as often as you'll be able to instead of avoiding them utterly. Family, friends and your expert will assist you work on this. apply the techniques you learn in medical aid and work together with your expert to develop a concept if symptoms intensify. 

  • Reach out. Consider joining a self-help or support group where you can connect with others who understand what you're going through.

  • Take care of yourself. Get enough rest, eat healthy and check out to be physically active a day. Avoid caffeine, because it will create anxiety worse. and do not forget to celebrate successes as things get well.

Helping your child cope with fears

As a parent, there's a lot you can do to help your child cope with fears. For example:

  • Talk openly about fears. Let your kid understand that everybody has alarming thoughts and feelings generally, however some do over others. do not understate the matter or belittle your kid for being afraid. Instead, visit your kid regarding his or her thoughts and feelings and let your kid understand that you are there to pay attention and to assist. 

  • Don't reinforce specific phobias. Take advantage of opportunities to assist youngsters overcome their fears. If your kid is frightened of the neighbor's friendly dog, for instance, do not withdraw your thanks to avoid the animal. Instead, facilitate your kid cope once confronted with the dog and show ways in which to be brave. For instance, you may supply your child's home base, waiting and providing support, whereas your kid steps a touch nearer to the dog and returns to you for safety. Over time, encourage your kid to stay closing the gap. 

  • Model positive behavior. Because youngsters learn by looking, you'll be able to demonstrate the way to respond once confronted by one thing your kid worrys or that you just fear. you'll be able to initially demonstrate worry then show the way to run through the worry.
    If your child's fears appear to be excessive, persistent and interfere with way of life, speak together with your child's doctor for recommendation on whether or not skilled designation and treatment are indicated. 

Preparing for your appointment

If you've created the selection to hunt to facilitate a particular anxiety disorder, you've got an enormous beginning. you'll begin by lecture your medical aid doctor. counting on your scenario, your doctor might refer you to a mental state skilled for analysis and treatment.

What you can do

Before your appointment, make a list of:

  • Symptoms you're experiencing, even if they seem unrelated to your anxiety. Specific phobias may cause both physical and psychological distress.

  • Triggers, such as places or things you're avoiding because of your anxiety and fears. embody however you have tried to wear down these triggers, and factors that build true higher or worse. 

  • Key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.

  • All medications, vitamins, flavoring products or different supplements that you simply take, and also the doses. embrace alcohol or different medicine you'll be victimizing to scale back your feelings of tension. 

  • Questions to ask your doctor to make the most of your time together.

Questions to ask might include:

  • What might have caused me to develop this fear?

  • Will this go away on its own?

  • Is there anything I can do to improve my symptoms?

  • What treatments do you recommend for this disorder?

  • Would exposure therapy or CBT help me?

  • What are the side effects of medications commonly used for this condition?

  • If I decide to take medications, how long will it take for my symptoms to improve?

  • How much improvement can I expect if I follow your recommended treatment plan?

  • I have other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?

  • Are there brochures or other printed material that I can have?

  • What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Be able to answer your doctor's inquiries to reserve time to travel over points you would like to pay longer on. Your doctor could ask:

  • Have you recently had an attack when all of a sudden you felt frightened or anxious?

  • During these attacks of fear or anxiety, have you ever felt like you couldn't breathe or like you were having a heart attack?

  • Have you recently been feeling nervous, anxious or on edge?

  • What other symptoms do you have?

  • When did you first notice these symptoms?

  • When are your symptoms most likely to occur?

  • Does anything seem to make your symptoms better or worse?

  • Do you avoid any situations or places because you fear they'll trigger your symptoms?

  • How are your symptoms affecting your life and the people closest to you?

  • Have you been diagnosed with any medical conditions?

  • Have you been treated for other psychiatric symptoms or mental illness in the past? If yes, what type of therapy was most beneficial?

  • Do you drink caffeinated beverages? How much and how often?

  • Do you drink alcohol or use street drugs? How often?

  • Have you ever thought about harming yourself?

General summary

  1. Specific phobias are typically treated with behavioral therapy sometimes in combination with medication Exposure therapy is a form of behavioral treatment that involves gradually exposing sufferers to the source of their fear so they can learn to overcome it For example if you have acrophobia (a fear of heights) your therapist might take you on a series of increasingly high walks until you are no longer afraid.

  2. The recommended treatment for specific phobia is exposure therapy Exposure therapy exposes the person to the object or circumstance that triggers the anxiety along with systematic desensitization and relaxation training The person practices relaxation exercises and imagines confronting his fear until he feels less fearful Practicing in this fashion helps people become desensitized to their fear and thus able to confront it without as much discomfort when they return to real-life situations.

  3. First line treatments for specific phobia include behavior therapy and medication If symptoms are mild psychotherapy is usually the first-line treatment The goal of psychotherapy is not to cure the phobia but to help a person overcome his or her fear by gradually exposing him or herself to it in a controlled environment (called cognitive behavioral therapy) As part of this form of therapy people who suffer from specific phobia may be asked to imagine their fears or even look at pictures of what they are afraid of while trying to remain relaxed.

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