Definition of Phobia – simple/specific
A phobia is a persistent and irrational fear of a particular type of object, animal, activity, or situation that poses little to no actual danger.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Specific phobias are a type of anxiety disorder in which exposure to the feared stimulus may provoke extreme anxiety or a panic attack. Specific phobias are among the most common of all psychiatric disorders, affecting up to 10% of the population.
Being exposed to the feared object, or even thinking about being exposed to it causes an reaction.
Signs and tests
The health care provider will ask about your history of phobia, and will get a description of the behavior from you, your family, and friends.
The goal of treatment is to help you function effectively. The success of the treatment usually depends on the severity of the phobia.
Phobias tend to be chronic, but they can respond to treatment.
Fred K. Berger, MD, Addiction and Forensic Psychiatrist, Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 2/14/2010