Most people can think of a few things they fear – like heights or public speaking. The thought of facing fears can be distressing and even frightening for some people. However, fears can become so debilitating that they can become a type of anxiety disorder called phobia. For individuals with phobia their level of distress is different and is characterized by an intense and overwhelming fear of a particular object or situation that may in reality present very little danger.
Some people ignore symptoms of a phobia because they are embarrassed to talk about them. Yet, phobias and symptoms consistent with phobias are nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of. In fact, as many as 12.5% of the total adult population of the United States will develop some form of a phobia during their lifetime.
There are several types of phobias:
Social Phobia: Intense fear of embarrassment in front of others, scrutiny by others, and excessive self-consciousness
Agoraphobia: Intense fear of particular places – such as crowded elevators or small spaces like closets
Specific Phobia: There are many different types of specific phobias, but most involve overwhelming fear of either an animal, a natural environment (for example, heights), a specific situation, or a medical procedure, among others.
There are many different treatments for phobias. If you’re struggling with a phobia, consider talking to a psychologist for support and to develop an individualized treatment plan that will improve the overall quality of your life.
To learn more about phobias, consider these additional resources: