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Phobia: An Extreme or Irrational Aversion to Something

(Part 1)

By Ha Le SaPublished 25 days ago β€’ 4 min read
2
Phobia: An Extreme or Irrational Aversion to Something
Photo by David Dibert on Unsplash

What is a phobia?

Typically, a phobia is considered to be a specific aspect of anxiety disorder, as the response caused when encountering an object. A phobia is a severe fear of a particular situation or object; that is generally unreasonable. A phobia often has a direct impact on the life of an affected person. Someone who senses panic if his house is on fire is not experiencing a phobia; this response of anxiety is perfectly reasonable since the person is encountering a situation that may result in bodily harm or death. Someone experiencing an extreme level of anxiety, perhaps related to a quickened breathing and heartbeat and a general sense of panic, when confronted by a common spider is experiencing a phobia, as this reaction is unreasonable. A severely phobic person tries to avoid his fear in each possible situation. He attempts to structure his life around avoiding as much as possible, no matter what is making him terrified.

Multiple phobias have extremely debilitating consequences on life, lifestyle, and relationships of people. A phobia also has a direct negative impact on an individual's life and ability to function. Psychologically, it is defined as,

A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. It is a strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no actual danger.

Intense fear of water can impact an individual's power to swim, bathe, enjoy a rainy day, and even drink a glass of water. The various phobias can affect people in different ways, but they are generally linked to a particular stimulus that triggers the panic or fear response. Phobias are identified as the most commonly occurring form of anxiety disorder.

Types of phobia:

  1. Nature phobias
  2. Situation phobias
  3. Animal phobias
  4. Medical treatment phobias

1. Nature phobias

These phobias include anxiety about landscapes such as water, plants, etc. Nature phobias are fears of natural happenings and situations that occur naturally, such as thunderstorms, lightning, etc.

2. Situation phobias

A situational phobia is the fear of certain situations. People with these phobias try to avoid the situation despite everything, which can majorly interfere with their life. These include fear of flying, failure, etc.

3. Animal phobias

Animal phobias are feeling of anxiety while facing specific animals; the fear of animals generally termed zoophobia. These are the most typical kinds of specific phobias. This category includes the fear of spiders, amphibians, etc.

4. Medical treatment phobias

Medical phobias involve intense fears of medical treatments, the people administering medical care, or illnesses that require medical therapy such as fear of injections, doctors, etc.

On the level of intensity, phobias are not equally divided and are classified as:

  1. Simple phobia
  2. Complex phobia

1. Simple phobia

It is the type of phobia with a specific trigger: they are connected to something that can be easily identified. Simple phobias, generally, do not have much influence on the everyday lives of the recipients of the phobia. For example, you might have a fear of snakes, but for the average person, avoiding snakes in everyday life is fairly easy, so your phobia does not affect you very often as a result.

2. Complex phobia

The things that most frequently trigger complex kinds of phobias are not only difficult to identify but also more difficult to avoid as well. Social anxiety and agoraphobia are known as complex phobias.

What are some possible causes of phobias?

There are different theories behind the development of a particular phobia in an individual. Freudians assume there is some psychological, most likely, sexual significance in the phobias you choose to have. While theoretical psychologists think it is from something traumatic that happened to you in your childhood or your early adulthood. As we are finding more about the hereditary qualities of our mental disorders; perhaps there, maybe, is a genetic component behind developing a particular phobia.

The majority of us believe genetics is something that puts you at greater risk of developing the disorders, but the genetic component is not the determinant of whether a person will or will not develop these disorders. Perhaps, the genes we inherit provide us more significant stability against developing the disorders. There are clear biological and chemical changes that occur in the brain during certain disorders. If you get embarrassed during public speaking, then people think that you are a low-confident person. In reality, there happen changes in your brain that cause your tongue to stumble because you are a person having glossophobia.

So in a lot of human disorders, there are biochemical changes that happen to make the symptoms manifest. In 2013, a group of researchers published the results of a survey in the Journal of Anxiety Disorders, in which they accumulated relevant data from over four thousand different studies to investigate the potential aspects and causes. According to their findings, it was obvious that one significant factor, when it comes to developing phobias, is related to genetics.

The review expresses that genetic contrasts and variations among individuals were responsible for 45% of individual differences in animal-related phobias, and in phobias related to blood and injuries, genetics accounted for 41% of the differences. However, non-genetic effects also accounted for the remaining differences in fears and phobias; in other words, the majority of phobias were found to be the outcome of individual experiences that prompted the phobia to take a shape. Such as being bitten by a dog when you were a kid would be a sensible clarification for why you have a phobia of dogs. It means that, while frightening or traumatic cases can induce phobias, if you have a genetic tendency toward phobias, the chance of developing phobias from such events is amplified to begin.

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Ha Le Sa

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Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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