Encountering certain obstacles or situations may leave one frightened, such as being afraid of the dark, high heights, or animals. Most of us can remain calm, rationalize the situation, and find a way around it, but this does not work for everyone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 10 million adults live with phobia.
What is a phobia? According to the American Psychological Association, phobias are intense fears that result in distress and can be intrusive. Individuals with this anxiety disorder have an irrational fear of things that do not pose any real threat.
Here are a few examples of common phobias:
- Arachnophobia: the fear of spiders
- Acrophobia: the fear of heights
- Agoraphobia: the fear of leaving home or being in a situation from which you cannot escape
The American Psychiatric Association simplified the symptoms into two points:
- An out-of-proportion reaction, as well as the age playing a role in being inappropriate
- The individual’s capability to behave normally is compromised
The Mayo Clinic states: “The best treatment for specific phobias is a form of psychotherapy called exposure therapy. Sometimes your doctor may also recommend other therapies or medication. Understanding the cause of a phobia is actually less important than focusing on how to treat the avoidance behavior that has developed over time.”