An Introduction to Phobias

By National Institute of Mental Health

Phobias occur in several forms. A specific phobia is a fear of a particular object or situation.
Social phobia is a fear of being painfully embarrassed in a social setting. And agoraphobia, which often accompanies panic disorder, is a fear of being in any situation that might provoke a panic attack, or from which escape might be difficult if one occurred.

Specific Phobia

“I’m scared to death of flying, and I never do it anymore. It’s an awful feeling when that airplane door closes and I feel trapped. My heart pounds, and I sweat bullets. If somebody starts talking to me, I get very stiff and preoccupied.”

“When the airplane starts to ascend, it just reinforces that feeling that I can’t get out. I picture myself losing control, freaking out, climbing the walls, but of course I never do. I’m not afraid of crashing or hitting turbulence. It’s just that feeling of being trapped.”

“Whenever I’ve thought about changing jobs, I’ve had to think, ‘Would I be under pressure to fly?’ These days I only go places where I can drive or take a train. My friends always point out that I couldn’t get off a train traveling at high speeds either, so why don’t trains bother me? I just tell them it isn’t a rational fear.”

Social Phobia

“I couldn’t go on dates or to parties. For a while, I couldn’t even go to class. During my sophomore year of college, I had to come home for a semester.”

“My fear would happen in any social situation. I would be anxious before I even left the house, and it would escalate as I got closer to class, a party, or whatever. I would feel sick to my stomach — it almost felt like I had the flu. My heart would pound, my palms would get sweaty, and I would get this feeling of being removed from myself and from everybody else.”

“When I would walk into a room full of people, I’d turn red and it would feel like everybody’s eyes were on me. I was too embarrassed to stand off in a corner by myself, but I couldn’t think of anything to say to anybody. I felt so clumsy, I couldn’t wait to get out.”

 

APA Reference
Mental Health, N. (2006). An Introduction to Phobias. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/an-introduction-to-phobias/000657
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    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
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