Phobias linked to Anxiety

Tyler Schnurr
General Psychology
Mrs. Susan Calliham
12 December 2010

What are phobias you may ask?

“Phobias involve the experience of persistent fear that is excessive and unreasonable. Phobias are cued when a person approaches a particular situation or object, or even anticipates the approach of it, and unreasonable and excessive” says Wilson, the author of Don’t Panic.

Since we do not know exactly how or why phobias originate, they are still considered a mental illness. With some genetics playing certain roles as well as the environment, maybe those people with phobias have had a distinct negative or traumatic experience related to the basis of that one’s phobia.
Phobias are considered the most common mental disorder. Eleven percent of everyone in the world will have at least one phobia. The main difference between a fear and a phobia is that people may feel uncomfortable or may even get the chills if a spider happens to crawl across their arm. If someone were to actually have arachnophobia (which is the phobia of spiders) that person would be physically and/or psychologically impaired by the spider momentarily. With that being said, to be considered to have a phobia of any kind, your “fear” must cause some impairment to your physical and/or mental well-being. If you do not have any impairment you do not have a phobia but just a simple fear.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” said Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

When President Roosevelt said that, he happened to describe the phobia of fears. Even though Roosevelt had a different message in mind when he had quoted that phrase, he still unknowingly hit on a different topic. The more common phobias deal with elements, animals, or even natural disasters such as: lightning, any kind of animals, bugs, spiders, injuries, blood, needles, and injections. Even the fear of flying is a very common phobia, especially after the September 11th incident. Phobias can also consist of “social phobias,” which consist of the fear of public speaking, taking tests, or even the fear of people in general. According to the website, <>, which catalogues hundreds of horrible, tormenting phobias, people suffer from octophobia and triskaidekaphobia, which are the fear of the numbers eight and thirteen or anything to do with those two numbers such as an octopus, octagon, or the thirteenth day of the month. Yes, it may seem very ridiculous to be scared of something as simple and harmless as a number, but there are people who are actually very terrified of something that simple.
Most people do not try and have his or her phobias treated unless it gets to a point to where the phobia is so unbarring or it gets extremely severe. An early treatment of phobias is called Systematic Desensitization. It’s a very standard treatment where the person who has a phobia is taught to relax and in that relax state the patient is exposed to his or her phobia in increased degrees. The more and more the patient becomes anxious the stimulus of the phobia is removed from the patient’s presence so he or she can relax. After the patient has become relaxed the phobia would be reintroduced with a greater ante (which means in a greater amount). There is another way to treat a phobia, although it takes a different route. It is called Cognitive-Behavior Treatment. Instead of allowing the patient to relax after being introduced to the phobia the patient is taught how to manage his or her anxiety and feelings towards that phobia. Those are two of many different forms of treating phobias. You may come across therapists that use different treatments or a mixture of a few, either way a phobia can be treated.
Amongst all different types of anxiety, phobias are one of the major onsets of anxiety. There are so many different types of phobias. Phobias can range from as far as being scared of a simply number such as the number eight or thirteen to being scared of water, lighting or even beautiful women. People have commonly mistaken a fear as a phobia. To remember the main difference between a simply fear and a full-fledged phobia is that a true phobia will impair someone to where they can move a muscle or think at all, because they are so scared of that particular object or creature. Though phobias may be a very real metal illness it can be treated and helped with professional help. Otherwise the phobia may overcome and take over that particular person by not allowing them to travel or walk around town, because the phobia is so over-whelming.

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