A phobia is an overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal.
They develop when a person has an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object.
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. A person may organise their life around avoiding the thing that’s causing them anxiety. As well as restricting their day-to-day life, it can also cause them considerable anguish.
You may not experience any symptoms until you come into contact with the source of your phobia.
However, in some cases, even thinking about the source of a phobia can make a person feel anxious or panicky. This is known as anticipatory anxiety.
Symptoms may include:
What causes phobias?
Phobias do not have a single cause, but there are a number of associated factors. For example:
Almost all phobias can be successfully treated and cured.
Simple phobias can be treated through gradual exposure to the object, animal, place or situation that causes fear and anxiety. This is known as desensitisation or self-exposure therapy.
You could try these methods with the help of a professional or as part of a self-help programme.
Treating complex phobias often takes longer and involves talking therapies, such as counselling, psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
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