Phobia is a condition that is marked by an excessive or irrational fear of a particular object, place or situation. It is a common mental disorder that can affect the daily lives of many people.
Typically, phobias develop in the early childhood. Some of the most common examples of phobia include a phobia of heights, spiders, snakes, germs, clowns, dentists, flying, dark or quiet places, and enclosed spaces.
The DSM-5 defines a phobia as a “marked and persistent fear or anxiety about a particular object, place or event. A phobia is irrational and may be linked to the specific context in which the object, place or event occurs.”
People with a phobia will often avoid the object, place or event that triggers their phobia. They may also have problems with concentration and sleeping. Many people with phobias report feeling uncomfortable, dizzy, and nauseous.
The symptoms of phobias are similar to those of other types of anxiety disorders. If left untreated, a phobia can interfere with work, school, relationships, and even everyday activities. However, there are a number of treatments available to help improve a person’s quality of life.
Exposure therapy is one of the most popular treatments for phobias. This therapy involves gradually increasing exposure to the object, place or event that causes the person’s phobia.
Often, these treatments are performed as self-exposure, but sometimes benzodiazepine medications are also used. Benzodiazepine medications are not always effective, however, so a phobia sufferer may need to seek professional help to treat their anxiety.