Skip to content

    Anxiety & Panic Disorders Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Phobias - Topic Overview

    How are they treated?

    Phobias are treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy. This therapy includes imagining or actually being close to the object, situation, or activity that you are afraid of. This is called exposure therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can be done with one person or in a group.

    One type of exposure involves a series of steps to get closer to the object, situation, or activity. This is called systematic desensitization. For example, if you have a phobia of heights, you might first imagine yourself in a high place, such as a balcony on the 10th floor of a building. Then you would do an exercise to help you relax until your worry and fear about heights are less. Next, you would try going onto a balcony on a lower floor and do the exercise to help you relax. Finally, over time, you might be able to go onto the 10th-floor balcony without being afraid.

    Sometimes your doctor might prescribe medicine. Medicine may help with the symptoms of anxiety that you have because of your phobia. Medicine for phobias is most useful if it is combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy.

    Unfortunately, many people don't seek treatment for anxiety disorders. You may not seek treatment because you think the symptoms are not bad enough or that you can work things out on your own. But getting treatment is important.

    If you need help deciding whether to see your doctor, see some reasons why people don't get help and how to overcome them.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1 | 2 | 3
    1 | 2 | 3
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    young leukemia patient
    Article
    Unhappy couple
    Article
     
    embarrassed woman
    SLIDESHOW
    clown
    Quiz
     
    Phobias frightened eyes
    Slideshow
    podium
    Article
     
    organize
    Article
    stressed boy in classroom
    Article
     
    Distressed teen girl in dramatic lighting
    Article
    man hiding with phone
    Article
     
    chain watch
    Article
    tarantula
    Article