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Phobia

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Fear is a very ancient and universal emotion in man. It can be defined as the feeling that you are in danger, or that something bad is about to happen. This feeling involves physical and mental tension that helps you spring into action to protect yourself from something that is happening. The body gears up into fight or flight mode when, for example, a car in front of you swerves and you just miss it. Once you know the danger has passed, the fear goes away ( even though your knees may be a little shaky).

Anxiety is similar to fear but with one important difference. With anxiety, there isn't anything usually happening to trigger the feeling. You get the feeling from anticipation of future danger or that something bad might happen, but there is no danger happening at the time.

Everyone experiences anxiety from time from time. It can be mild or intense or in between. A little anxiety helps us to stay on our toes and motivates us to do our best. Anxiety, however, can get somewhat out of hand. When anxiety get's it intense or too lasting it could interfere with there every day life. When anxiety starts to interfere with day to day activities it turns into a phobia.

A phobia is an intense, unreasonable fear of a thing or a situation that can keep you from everyday occurrences or situations. With a phobia, a person's fear is so intense that they do whatever they can to avoid coming into contact with the object of their fear, and often spend time thinking about whether they're likely to encounter it in a given situation. For a fear to be considered a phobia it has to be so extreme and cause so much distress that it gets in the way of a person's normal activities.

There are three basic types of phobia:

* Agoraphobia, a fear of places or situations where there is a potential difficulty or embarrassment to escape from it, or where help might not be available in case of need. This includes going out of your home, traveling without company, or being in the middle of a crowd, standing in queues to leave a place, etc.

* Social phobia, when the person has marked and persistent fear of some specific or generalized social situations, such as the shame of misbehaving in front of other people, the fear of participating in group reunions, of starting or maintaining a conversation with strangers, of initiating a romantic encounter, of talking to persons of authority, etc.

* Specific phobias, when there is a marked and persistent fear in the presence, or even by anticipation of encountering specific objects and situations, such as fear of flying, injections, cockroaches, dogs, of seeing blood, high places, taking an elevator, driving an automobile, or staying in enclosed and restrictive places, such as tunnels or traffic jams.

Phobias are the most common mental disorder. Over their lifetime, 11% of people will have a phobia. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 5%-12% of Americans have phobias. Specific phobias affect an estimated 6.3 million adults. While we don't know exactly why or where phobias originate, they are a type of mental illness, with genetics playing a role, as well as environmental, meaning maybe someone had a negative or traumatic experience related to the core of the phobia. Six out of every ten people who suffer from a phobia are able to remember when the fear occurred for the first time, or when the sensation of panic became attached to the place or situation where it first happened.

But why does a person become afflicted with phobia? And why are some phobias more common then others? Many neuroscientists believe that there is a clear involvement of biological factors. For example, functional brain imaging studies have shown that there is an increased blood flow and cell metabolic activity on the right side of the brain in phobia patients. It has also been demonstrated that identical twins may develop the same type of phobia, even when they were reared separately soon after birth, and educated in different places

Phobias usually first appear in adolescence and adulthood, but can happen in people of all ages. They are slightly more common in women than in men. Specific phobias in children are common and usually disappear over time. Specific phobias in adults generally start suddenly and are more lasting than childhood phobias. Only about 20% of specific phobias in adults go away on their

own (without treatment).

It may be also true that humans are prone to be afraid of certain noxious animals or situations, such as rats, poisonous animals, animals with a disgusting appearance, such as frogs, slugs or cockroaches .In a classic experiment, the American psychologist Marting Seligman associated a small electric shock to certain pictures. Two to four shocks were enough to establish a fearful reaction to pictures of spiders or snakes, but it took a lot more shocks to show

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