Phobias Explained Essay

Phobias Explained Essay

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Many people claim to be afraid of spiders, but probably not to the degree of 37-year-old "Mary Muffet" of Seattle. Mary went to many lengths to be spider-free, including sealing her windows and doors with duct tape, spraying her car with bug killer, and putting every single piece of washed and ironed clothing into its own sealed plastic bag. She wasn't just afraid of spiders; she had arachnophobia, a phobia, not to be confused with a simple fear. Phobias are not simple; they are complex in both their origin and diagnosis, with many types that people suffer from and any number of treatments exist to date.

What is a phobia?

Phobias are described as "a persistent, irrational fear of an object, activity or situation that compels a person to avoid it, and causes distress and function impairment" (Yahoo! Health, 2002). For example, a normal person who is afraid of high places and has a friend that lives on the top floor of a tall building would probably not stop visiting that friend. On the other hand, a person with acrophobia (fear of heights) would. By definition, a phobia is irrational. If a fear prevents a person from enjoying life or it preoccupies thoughts in a way that the person is unable to work, sleep or function as they would like to, the fear becomes irrational and is termed a phobia. The many phobic people who think their fears are silly, childish, or trivial often try to conceal them. While hiding from their fears they hide their phobias from others, further limiting their experience of life. Although "normal" anxiety is adaptive- that is, it helps you to survive and be productive- too much anxiety can be crippling. People who suffer from certain patterns of signs and symptoms related to anxiety are considered by me...


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...Deepest fears may be blast from our evolutionary past. The Dallas Morning News. p. 7D.

Sisson, B. (1998, June 24). Virtual reality for real-life fears. The Vancouver Columbian.

Social Phobia/Social Anxiety Association. (2002). Fact sheet. Retrieved November 11, 2002, from the World Wide Web: http://www.socialphobia.org/fact.html

Tevlin, J. (1999, November 21). Cabin pressure-the sky is the limit for millions of Americans who are afraid to fly. But a Northwest Airlines program helps people tame their terror. The Minneapolis Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin-Cities. p. 1E.

Yahoo! Health. (2000). Phobia-simple/specific. Retrieved November 11, 2002, from the World Wide Web: http://health.yahoo.com/health/encyclopedia/000956/_0.html

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