Having a phobia means you are extremely afraid of a specific object, situation, or activity. Having a phobia about something is very different from everyday worry or stress. For example, most people feel worry and stress at some time, such as when speaking in front of a large group of people. People with phobias have so much fear that it's hard to do normal activities, such as going to work.
Having a phobia includes feeling stressed about being near the object, being in the situation, or doing the activity. It also includes being afraid of the object, situation, or activity itself. People with phobias avoid what they are afraid of so they won't feel worried and stressed.
The hallmark of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is excessive, out-of-control worrying about everyday things. Symptoms include:
Persistent fear, sometimes without any obvious cause, that is present everyday
Inability to concentrate
Muscle tension; muscle aches
Eating too little or too much
Loss of sex drive
For school-age children, symptoms include:
Fear of being away from the family
Refusal to go to school...
The cause of phobias is unknown. If you have a family member with a phobia, you are more likely to have a phobia. Sometimes a person might have a phobia because he or she:
Had something bad happen, such as being bitten by a dog.
Had a panic attack in a specific situation, such as being in an elevator.
Saw something bad happen to someone else, such as seeing a person fall off a building.
Saw someone else who was very scared of something, such as sitting in an airplane near a person who is afraid of flying.
Learned about something bad happening, such as a plane crash.
Phobias usually start when a person is a child or a teenager. Children have more animal phobias, natural environment phobias, and blood-injection-injury phobias than teenagers or adults. Situational phobias usually start when a person is an adult. Women often have phobias at a younger age than men do. If a person has one phobia, he or she is likely to have another phobia as well.