A phobia is a type of anxiety
disorder. It is a strong, irrational fear of something that
poses little or no actual danger. There are many specific
phobias. Acrophobia is a fear of heights. You may be able
to ski the world's tallest mountains but be unable to go
above the 5th floor of an office building. Agoraphobia is
a fear of public places, and claustrophobia is a fear of
closed-in places. If you become anxious and extremely self-conscious
in everyday social situations, you could have a social phobia.
Other common phobias involve tunnels, highway driving, water,
flying, animals and blood.
People with phobias try to avoid
what they are afraid of. If they cannot, they may experience:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- A strong desire to get
Treatment helps most people with
phobias. Options include medicines, therapy or both.
For more information:
Disorders (National Institute of Mental Health)
Fears, and Phobias (Nemours Foundation). Also available
Foundation for Medical Education and Research)