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Understanding Phobias -- Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of a Phobia?

At the heart of a phobia, there is anxiety. There are three main types of phobias:

  • Specific phobia, a persistent, irrational fear of particular objects or situations, such as snakes, spiders, heights, blood, flying, or elevators.
  • Social phobia, or social anxiety disorder, a persistent, irrational fear of situations where you may be scrutinized or criticized or embarrassed by other people.
  • Agoraphobia, a fear of leaving home, being alone, or being away from home in a situation where you feel trapped or helpless.

If you have a phobia that interferes with a normal social or working life, it's time to get treatment. The right kind of therapy can often lessen your anxiety and may diminish or even remove the phobia.

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Understanding Phobias -- the Basics

Phobias are irrational and disabling fears that produce a compelling desire to avoid the dreaded object or situation. A phobic person understands that the fear is excessive or groundless. But the effort to resist it only brings more anxiety. Phobias often begin in childhood. People who suffer from phobias often fear a specific thing, such as germs, bugs, school, dentists, driving, water, balloons, snakes, high places (acrophobia), or enclosed spaces (claustrophobia). The fear is usually not...

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on April 12, 2014

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