A Phobia Is an Excessive or Unreasonable Fear of an Object
A phobia is an excessive or unreasonable fear of an object, place or situation. Simple phobias are fears of specific things such as insects, infections, flying. Agoraphobia is a fear of being in places where one feels "trapped" or unable to get help, such as in crowds, on a bus, or standing in a queue. A social phobia is a marked fear of social or performance situations.
Phobias are extremely common. Sometimes they start in childhood for no apparent reason; sometimes they emerge after a traumatic event; and sometimes the develop from an attempt to make sense of an unexpected and intense anxiety or panic (e.g. "I feel fearful, therefore I must be afraid of something").
When the phobic person actually encounters, or even anticipates being in the presence of the feared object or situation, she/he experiences immediate anxiety. The physical symptoms of anxiety may include a racing heart, shortness of breath, sweating, chest or abdominal discomfort, trembling, etc. and the emotional component involves an intense fear - of losing control, embarrassing oneself, or passing out.
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