A phobia is an excessive and irrational fear of an object, situation or place. Phobias are diagnosed only when the fear is excessively interfering with normal daily activities. Phobias are extremely common, frequently having their origin in childhood and can be broken down into three groups.
Specific Phobia - a fear of an object, place or situation that holds no danger for the individual under normal conditions; the sufferer is aware that their fear is excessive but is unable to overcome the emotion. Some common specific phobias include:
- Enclosed places
Social Phobia – Individuals who suffer social phobia try to avoid situations that activate their distress. People with social phobia may worry about making a fool of themselves in front of other people or simply feel anxious about going into any social situation. Some common social phobias include:
- Fear of being the centre of attention
- Fear of eating and drinking in public
- Fear of undressing in public (beach holiday)
- Difficulty going into shops and restaurants
- Difficulty going to parties
- Problems with meeting new people
- Performance anxiety (public speaking)
Agoraphobia - is a disorder that arises from anxiety where the sufferer will begin to avoid situations associated with their anxious feelings. Individuals may become housebound as they develop an intense fear of having an anxiety attack, losing control, or embarrassing themselves in a certain situation. Agoraphobics usually experience a feeling of wanting to escape any situation in which they feel trapped leading to a severe panic attack. It’s not unusual for a sufferer of agoraphobia to become fearful of open spaces.