The basic paradigm guiding most successful treatment follows from the conceptualization of the phobia’s origin as a conditioning-like process.
The major diagnostic characteristics of a phobia are that an individual consistently reacts to some object or situation with intense fear and seeks to escape or avoid that stimulus; this fear is sufficiently strong that it interferes with the person’s normal functioning.
Three types of phobias are differentiated by the nature of the circumstances that precipitate the strong fear reaction: specific phobia, social phobia, and agoraphobia.
include fears of clearly identifiable objects or situations, such as looking down from a tall building or seeing a snake.
There are four basic subtypes of specific phobia: natural environment (water, storms); animals (snakes, spiders); situations (enclosed places, bridges); and blood, injections, and injuries (dentistry).
is also similar to phobias in that following a severely traumatic experience in which people believe that they or someone else might die (such as war or rape), some people continue to react with intense fear and avoidance when reminded of the original trauma.
Although the exact details of how phobias develop are not clear, there is a broad consensus that classical or Pavlovian conditioning-like processes are involved, in which an individual experiences a strong fear reaction in the presence of a specific object or situation, forming an associative link.Subsequently, when the object is reexperienced, it triggers a panic attack.Recent theories suggest that cognitive or thinking processes contribute to some phobia development.Phobos was so fearsome-looking that enemies on the battlefield became panic-stricken when they saw him.Specific phobias are named by combining the Greek word for the object or situation with arachnophobia spiders astraphobia lightning and stars belonephobia needles catagelophobia ridicule ophidiophobia snakes ereuthophobia blushing kyklonasophobia tornadoes mysophobia contamination ornithophobia birds pediophobia dolls scriptophobia writing-IV-TR, 2000).Specific phobias that do not fall into these four subtypes are classified as , is defined by a persistent and intense fear reaction and avoidance of social and performance situations in which one might be embarrassed or negatively evaluated by others.Common social phobic situations include public speaking, meeting strangers or persons of the opposite sex, using public restrooms, and writing one’s name in public.A specific phobia is an unreasonable fear of certain objects or situations so excessive that it disrupts a person’s life or causes great distress.Typical phobias include driving, flying, blood, needles, and spiders.The center offers fee-for-service short-term individual cognitive-behavioral therapy for specific phobias.comes from the name Phobos, the son of Aries, the Greek war god.