What is a phobia?
A phobia is an exaggerated fearful response to a situation, object or activity. A phobia is associated with severe anxiety.
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Some of the more typical symptoms of phobias include: nausea; sweating; rapid heart rate; dizziness; panic; fear of fainting; a feeling of dread, and; an overwhelming need to escape.
There is no single factor that causes phobias to develop, but they are thought to be due to an interaction between genetics and the environment.
Some simple phobias may become less disabling with age; however, many phobias will be lifelong unless properly treated.
There is no known prevention for phobias, although children typically learn their coping skills from their parents. If parents demonstrate effective coping skills, their children are less likely to develop phobias.
With proper treatment, especially exposure therapy, there is an excellent prognosis for phobias.
Although they can be debilitating, most phobias will not cause long-term problems if proper medical treatment is sought.
• Being female (females are twice as likely as males to develop phobias); • Having a family history of phobias, and; • Having a history of panic attacks.
Phobias are among the most common mental health conditions and are estimated to affect about one in 10 people.