Phobias lead to restrictive lifestyles

By on November 21, 2002

Phobias are intense and persistent fears of a specific object, situation or activity.
People who have phobias tend to lead restricted lives because of irrational fears.
These people tend to experience typical physiological symptoms, such as rapid heart beats, stomach disorders, chocking feelings, perspiration and faintness.
There are three major types of phobias according to a phobias website.
The first is called a simple phobia. This is a fear of objects or situations like animals, heights, or enclosed spaces.
Two kinds of simple phobia are arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, and Claustrophobia, a fear of confined or enclosed spaces.
About 6-12 percent of the people in the United States suffer from a simple phobia.
The second major type of phobias is called agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces or of being in a crowded, public place.
Agoraphobia is the most commonly treated phobia.
An example of this would be a transportation vehicle or a crowded mall. People who have agoraphobia tend to avoid being in situations like this until they eventually stop going outside of their house altogether.
The third major type of phobia is called a social phobia, the fear of appearing stupid or being looked at negatively in social situations.
A social phobia also includes a fear of public speaking, a fear of meeting new people and attending social events.
More than 13 percent of the population suffers from this type of phobia, and it is most often found in adolescents.
Anyone can have a phobia. However, it is more likely for someone to have one if someone in their family has one also.
Many people who have phobias recover with treatment.
Treatment tends to include breathing techniques and verbal therapy and virtual reality therapy.
Behavioral techniques are often used to treat phobias. This method involves confronting a phobic person with things that he or she is afraid of gradually to desensitize him or her to these fearful things.
Sometimes, anti-anxiety drugs or anti-depressant drugs are also used as a treatment method for people with phobias.
Anywhere from about 5-10 people in 100 suffer from phobias.
The most important thing to know about phobias is that they are curable with proper treatment.


About Erica Morrison - Staff Writer