Specific Phobias involve intense fear and avoidance of particular objects and situations (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). The fear is well above and beyond what most people experience when faced with the same source of fear. Phobias are common and occur within 7%-9% of the population and females are twice as likely as males to have a phobia (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Phobias sometimes develop as a result of a traumatic event, but not always (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Some of the more common phobias include:
- Acrophobia: Fear of heights
- Aerophobia: Fear of flying
- Agoraphobia: Fear of open or crowded spaces
- Arachnophobia: Fear of spiders
- Astraphobia: Fear of thunder/lightning
- Cynophobia: Fear of dogs
- Glossophobia: Fear of public speaking
- Mysophobia: Fear of germs
- Ophidiophobia: Fear of snakes
- Social phobia: Fear of social situations
- Trypanophobia: Fear of needles
- Trypophobia: Fear of holes
Phobias are successfully treated with a course of exposure therapy known as systematic desensitization. This involves the practice of physical and mental relaxation strategies and pairing these with steps of increasing anxiety associated with gradual exposure to the feared object or situation. The pacing of exposure is always determined by the client's comfort level. If you are struggling with these or other phobias, call to start treatment.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.