Learn About Ailments | Phobias


Phobias are constant and intense fears of people, objects, events or situations that are irrational to the majority of people. Phobias can affect a person's ability to function normally in their day-to-day life. Someone with a phobia will avoid the cause of their anxiety or fear and even the thought of it can cause them to be anxious or panic.

In This Article
Watch the phobias video Causes Of Phobias
Symptoms Of Phobias Diagnosing Phobias
Related Terms Common Misspellings


Did you know?
  • 2% of adults in the UK experience phobias
  • Social phobia is twice as common among women
  • 1 in 5 people are thought to have a fear of flying
  • The most common phobia is arachnophobia (fear of spiders)

There are two different types of phobias - simple phobias (sometimes called specific phobias) and complex phobias. Simple phobias are associated to situations, objects or activities. Common simple phobias include flying, going to the dentist, spiders and heights. Complex phobias involve a number of anxieties typically associated to social situations (known as social phobias).

The causes of simple phobias are not always clear but they are usually linked to a traumatic experience typically during childhood or adolescence. Certain fears can be present in families and are passed on due to the child learning the fear from a family member. Complex phobias such as agoraphobia (fear of being trapped) and social phobias can begin from an intense experience in a social situation or a confidence issue as a child.

Social phobias in adults are linked to a fear of criticism or low self-esteem and are often linked to other problems such as anxiety disorder, depression or substance abuse.

The common symptom for simple and complex phobias is avoidance. People with a phobia will use avoidance tactics to ensure they are not placed in a situation that will cause them anxiety. This avoidance can impact on daily life and limit activity leading to further mental problems such as depression.

The physical symptoms of someone with a phobia come from panic about the thought of the phobia or actually coming into contact with it. Common panic symptoms include shaking, sweating, dry mouth, increased heart rate, confusion, breathing difficulty, nausea and dizziness. Symptoms of a complex phobia can be a fear of losing control, fainting or dying. Persistent panic from a phobia can lead to panic attacks and in turn can lead to panic disorder.

People with a phobia are usually aware of their condition and the majority of those with a simple phobia find ways to cope with it. However, even simple phobias should be diagnosed by a GP. Complex phobias require proper diagnosis from a GP who can make a referral to a mental health professional if necessary.

When diagnosing a social phobia, a GP will look for a number of present factors including avoidance of situations, anxiety as a result of the situation and symptoms that are not a result of obsession or delusion.

  • Phobic
  • Fear
  • Fear Of Flying
  • Fear Of Open Spaces
  • Fear Of Confined Spaces
  • Fear Of Spiders
  • Fear Of The Dark
  • Fear Of Heights
  • Fear Of Public Speaking
  • Worry
  • Unrealistic
  • Afraid
  • Harm
  • Trapped
  • Embarrassment
  • Intense
  • Anxious
  • Anxiety
  • Claustrophobia
  • Aerophobia
  • Acrophobia
  • Agoraphobia
  • Cognitive
  • Behaviour

Phobyas, Fobyas, Pobias, Fobias, Phobeas

Therapies to consider
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Counselling EFT
EMDR Hypnotherapy Kinesiology
Life Coaching NLP Psychotherapy
Reflexology Reiki Thought Field Therapy


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