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A phobia is an abnormal fear and avoidance of an everyday object or situation. Phobias are common (8% prevalence), disabling, and treatable with behaviour therapy.
Phobias are common conditions in which intense fear is triggered by a single stimulus, or set of stimuli, that are predictable and normally cause no particular concern to others (e.g. agoraphobia, claustrophobia, social phobia). This leads to avoidance of the stimulus The patient knows that the fear is irrational, but cannot control it. The prevalence of all phobias is 8%, with many patients having more than one. Many phobias of 'medical' stimuli exist (e.g. of doctors, dentists, hospitals, vomit, blood and injections) which affect the patient's ability to receive adequate healthcare.
Phobic anxiety disorders have the same core symptoms as generalized anxiety disorder, but these symptoms occur only in particular circumstances. In some phobic disorders , these circumstances are few and the patient is free from anxiety for most of the time. In other phobic disorders many circumstances provoke anxiety, with a result that anxiety is more frequent, but even so there are situations in which no anxiety is experienced. Two other features characterize phobic disorder: the person avoids circumstances that provoke anxiety and experiences anticipatory anxiety when there is a prospect of encountering these circumstances.
Phobic Disorder involving persistent, unrealistic, yet intense anxiety that, unlike the free-floating anxiety of panic disorder, is attached to external situations or stimuli.
Persons who have a phobia avoid such situations or stimuli or endure them only with great distress. But they retain insight and recognize the excessiveness of their anxiety.
Aetiology of Phobic Anxiety Disorders
Phobias may be caused by classical conditioning, in which a response (fear and avoidance) becomes conditioned to a previously benign stimulus (a lift) often after an initiating shock (being stuck in a lift). In children, phobias can arise through imagined threats (e.g. stories of ghosts told in the playground). Women have twice the prevalence of most phobias than men. Phobias aggregate in families, but genetic factors are probably weak.
A phobia is defined as an irrational fear that produces a conscious avoidance of the feared subject, activity, or situation. The person affected usually recognizes that the reaction is excessive. Phobic disorders can be divided into 3 types-specific phobia, social phobia, and agoraphobia.
List of Phobic Disorders
|Phobic Disorder||Short Description|
|Agoraphobia (Also see Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia )||
Anxiety about or avoidance of being trapped in situations or places with no way to escape easily if panic develops. Agoraphobia is more common than panic disorder. It affects 3.8% of women and 1.8% of men during any 6-mo period. Peak age of onset is the early 20s; first appearance after age 40 is unusual.
Clinically significant anxiety induced by exposure to a specific situation or object, often resulting in avoidance. Specific phobias are the most common anxiety disorders but are often less troubling than other anxiety disorders. They affect 7% of women and 4.3% of men during any 6-mo period.
|Social Phobia (Also see Social Phobia Treatment )||
Clinically significant anxiety induced by exposure to certain social or performance situations, often resulting in avoidance. Social phobias affect 1.7% of women and 1.3% of men during any 6-mo period. However, more recent epidemiologic studies suggest a substantially higher lifetime prevalence of about 13%. Men are more likely than women to have the most severe form of social anxiety, avoidant personality disorder.
The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) defines specific phobia as a strong, persisting fear of an object or situation, whereas social phobia is a strong, persisting fear of a situation in which embarrassment can occur. Agoraphobia is defined as the fear of being alone in public places (eg, supermarket), particularly places from which a rapid exit would be difficult in the course of a panic attack. At least three fourths of patients with agoraphobia experience panic disorder as well. Specific phobia is more common than social phobia. Examples of specific phobia include animal type, natural environment type (eg, height, water, storm), blood-injection-injury type, situational type (eg, planes, elevators, enclosed spaces), and other types.
Collectively, these disorders are the most common forms of psychiatric illness, surpassing rates of mood disorders and substance abuse. Anxiety linked to a specific object or situation is the most common feature. Severity can range from mild and unobtrusive to severe and can result in incapacity to work, travel, or interact with others.
Facts and Tips about Phobic Disorders
- Phobic Disorders is common form of anxiety disorder, having unreasonable fear of certain situations, conditions, or substance.
- Phobic Disorders is further divided into three types such as agoraphobia, social phobia (social anxiety disorder) and specific phobias.
- Agoraphobia includes fear of that places from where escape is difficult. Social phobia is fear of certain social or presentation situations and specific phobias includes fear about specific situation or object.
- Patient is aware during this situation but can not control it.
- Distress, anxiety and avoidance of situation that causes fear, decreased attention and memory, traveling on buses, trains or planes are some symptoms of phobic disorders.
- Treatment for phobic disorders includes exposure therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy, antidepressant, drugs therapy, facing situation systematically and social skills training.