Phobic Disorders: Symptoms, Treatments and Research

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1. Introduction Although phobic disorder is certainly common, it has been more difficult to establish the extent to which it should be considered a "serious" mental disorder from a public health perspective. Recent studies in understanding the behavioral, molecular, and anatomical bases of fear extinction in animals and humans are leading to new knowledge about the nature of fear and new treatments for anxiety disorders that affect millions of Americans (news release from SFN). In those people who suffer from phobic disorders (specific phobia, social phobia and agoraphobia) excessive and inappropriate fear and anxiety comprise the core symptoms of the disorder. Collectively, these disorders are the most common forms of psychiatric illness, surpassing rates of mood disorders and substance abuse A study by Michael Davis, PhD, at Emory University (SFN News Release) that determined how human brain can used to treat such disorders. He found that a receptor for a particular protein called the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor in a brain region called the amygdala is critical for the extinction of conditioned fear. Many medical professional believe and it also has been proved true in many cases that combination of drugs therapy and behavioral therapy has the most successful results. 2. Phobia - Definition The term ‘Phobia’ was not used on its own until 1801 and in late 19th century it slowly gained acceptance in the sense it has today. The word ‘Phobia’ comes from the ancient Greek word ‘Phobos’, meaning “flight”,“fear” and “terror. Phobia is a condition, which is described as an intense, obsessive, persistent and unrealistic fear of an external object or situation or feeling. In some cases avoiding such objects or situations that cause anxiety makes difficult to lead a normal and healthy life. There are hundreds of different types of phobias with technical name for each. 3. Symptoms The symptoms of phobias are the same as those that would occur when facing an actual threat, leading to a reaction. In addition, there are other symptoms that go beyond the more "normal" fear response. Typical symptoms include: · Anxiety reactions such as sweating, trembling, nausea, rapid heartbeat, worry, dread, or terror · Intense fear of the object or situation, beyond an actual threat of danger · Intense fear of being watched or judged (social phobia) · Uncontrollable reactions that consume the mind and body · Avoidance of the object or situation to an extreme that it may result in isolation · Use of alcohol or substance in attempt to control feeling of anxiety

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