Did you know that according to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 10 million adults in the United States suffer from some sort of phobia? Phobias are describes as exaggerated fears that can often interfere with everyday life. A person can develop a phobia of certain situations, objects, activities, or people. People with phobias become overwhelmed with feelings of fear and anxiety when they come in contact with their phobia.
The severity of phobias depends on the individual. While some individuals are able to avoid the subject of their fear and suffer minimally, others can develop more serious symptoms like panic attacks. Many individuals with phobias recognize that they are suffering from an irrational fear, but do not have the power to prevent their initial reactions when coming into contact with their phobia.
Phobias are considered to be a very common form of anxiety disorders. When someone develops a phobia, they learn that they feel anxious when they are presented with the thing they fear most and learn that they feel relief when they avoid it. However, the problem with phobias is that the pattern of anxiety, avoidance, and worry about the possibility of contact tends to grow bigger and interferes more with life over time.
Psychologists and other researchers have developed some effective treatments for phobia, both behavioral and pharmacological, as well as technological interventions. Researchers have used neuroimaging techniques like positron-emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to understand the brain circuitry behind phobias. Researchers have found that both malfunctions of the amygdala, located in the middle of the brain's temporal lobes, and associated brain structures may give rise to many phobias.
Berger, Vincent. "Fears and Phobias." Psychologist Anywhere Anytime. Psychologist Anywhere Anytime, 2005. Web. 04 June 2015. <http://www.psychologistanywhereanytime.com/phobias_psychologist_and_psychologists/psychologist_fears_and_phobias.htm>.
Winerman, Lea. "Figuring out Phobia." Http://www.apa.org. American Psychological Association, 2005. Web. 04 June 2015. <http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug05/figuring.aspx>.