A phobia is an anxiety disorder characterised by an intense and persistent fear of an object or situation:

  • Agoraphobia:  a fear of crowds or public places
  • Social phobia:  a fear of being judged or evaluated negatively by others, or of behaving in an embarrassing or humiliating way.
  • Specific phobias:  a fear of a very specific object or situation.  Some of the most common specific phobias include:
    • Animals
    • Birds or insects
    • Heights
    • Flying
    • Blood
    • Being sick

One of the key symptoms of any phobic disorder is avoidance of the feared object or situation.  Other symptoms may include:

  • Palpitations or a pounding heart
  • Blushing, trembling or sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fear of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea
  • Dizzyness
  • Fear of losing control, going mad, fainting or dying

The symptoms cause intense distress and are usually considered excessive or unreasonable by the person themselves as well as by others. 

As with panic disorder, the recommended treatment for phobic disorders is CBT rather than medication.

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