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An irrational or excessive fear of anything can be classified as a phobia. Phobias can often interfere with a person’s daily life and create hindrances where there aren’t any. Unlike anxiety disorders, phobias are triggered by specific stimuli. This could be caused by environmental factors, genetics, traumatic events etc. depression and substance abuse could also contribute towards phobias. Life events are also a common cause of phobias.
For example, being bitten by a dog at a young age could make a person scared of animals even when he or she is an adult. The most common types of phobias are:
- Agoraphobia: This can be described a fear of open spaces. People suffering from Agoraphobia fear being trapped in a situation and of large crowds. In extreme cases, this fear can confine a person to his or her home.
- Social phobia: Some people may be very afraid of simple interactions with other people. Simple tasks such as answering the phone or placing an order at a restaurant can spike panic attacks. This can very often lead to social withdrawal.
- Glossophobia: This can be described as performance anxiety or the fear of speaking out in a crowd. This may also be referred to as stage fright. People suffering from this phobia may begin to show physical signs of being uncomfortable when they are put in the spotlight.
- Acrophobia: This refers to a fear of heights. People suffering from this phobia may be unable to even look down from a window on the first floor of a building. The common symptoms of this phobia include sweating, dizziness, vertigo and loss of consciousness when looking down from a height.
- Claustrophobia: People suffering from Claustrophobia have a fear of small spaces. Any space this is enclosed or tight can feel suffocating to them. This may prevent them from rising in a taxi or a metro or even taking the elevator.
- Hemophobia: Some people are more afraid of blood as compared to others. This is known as Hemophobia. In such cases, the patient may be affected by the sight of their own blood as well as another person’s blood. Hemophobia patients may often faint at the sight of blood or an injury.
- Aviophobia: The fear of flying is known as Aviophobia. People with this phobia are unable to sit in an aircraft as they are scared of something going wrong.
Phobias may also be present in combinations. For example, a person suffering from Claustrophobia may also have a fear of heights. The only way to combat these phobias is with counselling and professional help.
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