Phobias Explained Essay

2530 words - 10 pages

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 mental health specialists to have anxiety disorders. Phobias and panic attacks are the most common of these disorders.

What causes a phobia?

There is currently insufficient research in the field of phobias to determine a definite, clear cause. What is known is that phobias are common in children and do not represent an abnormality. Phobias can start in childhood or adulthood. Some people have suddenly become terrified of things they've been doing for years, somewhat like a flight attendant that suddenly begins to have panic attacks on her 500th flight. In most cases, phobias are thought to branch from a confrontation with the feared object or situation. "Six of every ten persons who suffer phobias are able to remember when the fear crisis occurred for the first time, i.e., when the sensation of panic became attached to the place or situation where it first happened" (Masci, 2002, p.2). Most phobias do not interfere with an individual's normal functioning to the point of seeking treatment. There is usually no family history of mental illness or of the same phobia. For example, a person with claustrophobia (fear of being in small-enclosed spaces such as an elevator) does not necessarily have a relative that is...

Find Another Essay On Phobias Explained

Classical or Operant Conditioning Essay

1187 words - 5 pages empirical evidence. The earlier part of the essay will focus on the development of the classical conditioning paradigm and cover the following topics: the findings of Ivan Pavlov and the conditional reflex and the components of classical conditioning. The latter part of the essay will cover: the fear response, how phobias and addictions can be attributed to conditional reflex paradigm. Additionally, will briefly describe therapeutic work in extinction

Varying types of Anxiety Disorders and their effect on people's lives

2472 words - 10 pages so much more severe, frightening, and intense than that of normal anxiety. An "Anxiety Disorder" is a general term for several forms of abnormal and pathological fear and anxiety. In this paper, I will discuss the six main anxiety disorders and how they can affect each of their sufferers in different ways. Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Specific Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Post Traumatic

What is Fear and What Causes It?

1520 words - 6 pages same way. While this test has proved that only fear of a smell can be inherited, it has been said by others that other more specific fears can also be inherited through parents or even grandparents such as fear of heights or fear of blood according to Michael Clarkston’s (an expert on fear) book titled “Quick Fixes for Everyday Fears” (Sanders). The question many people have is why a fear of theirs is so persistent. This can be explained through

The Science of Psychology

1709 words - 7 pages subconsciously associate wealth, happiness, success, etc. with computers, food, detergents and in this way are conditioned. Phobias can also be explained using this learning theory, as was done by Watson in his Little Albert experiment. Phobias arise when an unpleasant experience (e.g. loud banging sound) is paired with a harmless object (e.g. mouse). We now begin to fear the harmless object and, as a result of stimulus

Ancestral Fear

1066 words - 5 pages fears. Some of these fears include those of the unknown, the dark, animals, sounds. These are all examples of phobias that can not be explained in infants and small children. Scientists explain that in earlier times people had a better reason to be afraid of the dark due to the fact of today's advanced technology. Some people are afraid of animals (dogs and cats) in earlier times people lived in tribes that were not heavily protected, most were

The Reduction of Anxiety Vulnerability - Critique Paper

2282 words - 9 pages Reduction of Anxiety VulnerabilityAffecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older which is over U.S. (Anxiety Disorder Association of America, 2009). Anxiety disorders are characterized in six illnesses: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder. As noted by the ADAA (2009), the first four listed are twice as likely to affect

Abnormal Psychology and Therapy

1271 words - 5 pages Psychology is a huge science area with many variations on approach. Over many years Psychologists such as Freud, Skinner, Rogers and Watson, just to name a few, have contributed, providing us with invaluable tools to evaluate and treat mental illness, understand and treat phobias and indeed provide us with a window into the unconscious mind. 'Abnormal behavior' can be defined as behavior which is unusual, socially unacceptable, dangerous to

Dissocative Identity Disorder

832 words - 3 pages more distinct identities or personality states are present, each with its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self. 2. At least two of these identities or personality states recurrently take control of the person's behavior. 3. The person has an inability to recall important personal information that is too extensive to be explained by ordinary forgetfulness. 4. The disturbance is

my experiance with math

734 words - 3 pages why this class was going to be the biggest academic challenge that I had face to date. I was incredibly relieved that my peers and my instructor were supportive and in addition, Ms. Most had also explained to me that she had other students who had my same feelings towards math that I had. The second class was not as easy. By the end of the class I was frustrated and struggling with each math problem that was being written in a language so foreign

The Fear of Being Distant from Home

984 words - 4 pages because both are having the same symptoms: accelerated heartbeat, rapid and shallow breathing, feeling hot, flushing, stomach upset, diarrhea, trouble swallowing, breaking out in a sweat, etc. The fear to be outside is a consequence of balance disorders; such as panic attacks and the situation which escape would be difficult or humiliating. As an example, the article “Agoraphobia can make prisoner in your own house” in the Dominion Post, explained a

Psycological Disorders: 6.5 vs. 93.5

1013 words - 5 pages broken up into five groups in the book: Generalized Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Phobias, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Myers 2013). Anxiety disorders seem to have a common social trend or a more focused inner self. These disorders to me resemble how we view the world. Each of the disorders listed above tend to be a mental loop or err in the human code. It is not that these individuals are different from the “norms

Similar Essays

A Phobia Is An Excessive Or Unreasonable Fear Of An Object

1403 words - 6 pages themselves in front of the spider). With these phobias the cause seems to be explained more as a conditioned (learned) anxiety response, which has become associated with the feared object.The most common of the various phobias is simple phobia, the unreasonable fear of some object or situation. Bees, germs, heights, odors, illness, and storms are examples of the things commonly feared in simple phobias. If you have a simple phobia, it might have begun

Environmental Psychology Essay

1634 words - 7 pages related to a specific phobia. But little by little, the person perceives that other seemingly harmless situations might somehow lead to "dangerous" ones, so he or she beings to form a very elaborate pattern designed to stay as far from danger as possible. Finally, as one phobic person explained, " "You are a prisoner inside your own walls, cut off from everything and everyone on the outside." Not all phobias require treatment. Some can

Anxiety In Young Adults Essay

1048 words - 5 pages Have you ever felt like you were in a panic or fearful of something, if so then you are facing the common symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety in young adults is a great topic to lean towards due to this time in age where technology and social media is a factor. Many anxiety disorders in young adults are social phobias, generalized anxiety disorders (GAD), and panic attacks. Young adults are feared by many things and some are social phobias. For

Classical Conditioning Essay

1167 words - 5 pages answered using a variety of empirical evidence from academic texts, journal papers focussing on the following topics: the findings of Ivan Pavlov and the conditional reflex, the components of classical conditioning, acquisition, extinction, spontaneous recovery and stimulus generalisation, the work of Watson and Rayner with little Albert and conditioned fear response and finally, how phobias and addictions can be explained by classical conditioning