Phobias

Even though millions of people live with them, phobias remain a misunderstood disorder. A specific phobia is, by nature, triggered by a specific object, place, or situation.

Unlike generalized anxiety disorder, people with a specific phobia are not consumed by pervasive worry and fear. However, a phobia can have a very real impact on a person's daily functioning and quality of life. Get the facts and learn how to cope with your persistent fears.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the 10 top phobias?

    The following phobias are 10 of the most common objects or situations that lead to marked fear and symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and breathlessness: arachnophobia (fear of spiders), ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), acrophobia (fear of heights), aerophobia (fear of flying), cynophobia (fear of dogs), astraphobia (fear of thunder and lightning), trypanophobia (fear of injections), socialphobia, agoraphobia (fear of being alone), mysophobia (fear of germs and dirt).

  • How common are phobias?

    Phobias are one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Approximately 10% of people in the U.S. have specific phobias, 7.1% experience social phobias, and 0.9% have agoraphobia. It's possible that these numbers are low since mental disorders are often underreported in the U.S. 

  • What's the best way to get over a phobia?

    Consult with your healthcare provider or trained mental health professional about any fear that seems severe or affects your life. Many phobias can be treated in just a few sessions using a combination of therapy techniques and, possibly, medications.

    You may learn coping techniques and strategies, confront the root of your fear or work through a process known as systematic desensitization in which you are gradually exposed to the object of your fear.

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The Psychology Behind Fear
Why Your Phobia Triggers a Severe Physiological Response
Getting Help for Your Phobia so You Don't Have to Deal With It Alone
Revolving Door Syndrome Helps Understand Relapse in Phobias
Social Anxiety Disorder Symptoms and Progression
How Phobias or Persistent and Extreme Fears Are Treated
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5 Effects of Phobias on Your Emotions and Personality
How the Collective Unconscious Is Tied to Dreams, Beliefs, and Phobias
Are Phobias Just a Modern Day Social Construct?
How Phobias Can Be Affected by Your Culture
How Your Friends, Family and Others Can Help You With Your Phobia
Do You Know How Many People Have Phobias in the U.S.?
Why the Psychology Theory of Tabula Rasa You Can Unlearn Bad Behavior
Phobic Reactions for the 3 Types of Phobias
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What Is Mass Hysteria?
What Is a Presenting Problem in Mental Health?
Questions Your Therapist May Ask During Your Phobia Intake Interview
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How Can Living With a Phobia Interfere With Your Life?
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3 Major Theories on How Phobias Develop
If Phobias Have a Biological Cause They Can Be Treated With Medication
Could You Have Inherited Your Phobias?
How the Relationship With Our Mother Affects Relations With Others
The Different Factors That Cause Certain Phobias to Develop
How Can Learning Theories Help Treat Phobias?
Understanding the Psychoanalytic Theory of Phobias
How to Deal With Tokophobia: Fear of Childbirth
5 Questions to Ask Yourself After an Initial Diagnosis
How to Tell the Difference Between a Fear and a Phobia
Learn How Specific Phobias Are Diagnosed
When Leaving the House Causes Panic Attacks
How Phobias Differ From Other Mental Disorders
How Exactly Do You Diagnose a Phobia?
Can the Diagnostic Manual for Mental Health Do More Harm Than Good?
How Therapeutic Role-Playing Works
How Counter-Transference Can Impact Your Therapeutic Relationship
How Eclectic Therapy Works
Psychoeducational Group Therapy Can Help You Overcome Your Phobias
How Taking Medications Can Help Treat Different Phobias
What Is Hypnotherapy?
Talk Therapy vs. Medication: Which Is Better for Treating Phobias?
How Behavioral Therapy Plays a Role in the Treatment of Phobias
Practicing Thought Stopping Can Keep Unwanted Thoughts Away
Successful Mental Health Treatment Depends on Good Therapeutic Rapport
How to Find the Right Therapist If You Have a Phobia
The Goals of Therapy for Phobia to Help You Reclaim Your Life
Page Sources
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  1. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Specific Phobias.

  2. National Institute of Mental Health. Specific phobia.

  3. MedlinePlus. Phobias.