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Fears and Phobias

In General

Definition of Phobia: persistent irrational fears of certain objects or situations.
Origin of "Phobia": The Greek root 'phobos'.
Forms: Specific: particular object focused. Social: fear of embarrassment in public settings
Phobias are usually named/connect to Greek terms.


How Fears and Phobias Affect People

Fears can affect people in a number of ways.One way is that it can make them stop doing things they used to enjoy and stress can damage their health. Another is low self-esteem/depression (usually co-occurring), unhappiness and sometimes constant fear. Because of certain fears, some people won't be able to go through certain experiences. For example, if someone has a social phobia/social anxiety, they could be isolated from everyone else.

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Developing Fears

There are many ways in which someone can develop fears. Some are traumatic events(at an early age, or later in life), bad experiences, and some could even be hereditary. Even observing consequences and behaviors of others(basically observational learning/social modeling) can trigger some fears. Fears can be lost and gained throughout your whole life, at any age. Research says that a small structure in the brain (called the amygdala) is believed to be a central site for what controls fear responses.
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Expressing

Since everyone is different and everyone has different fears, there are different ways people can respond when put in a situation they fear. Some blush, tremble, sweat, stammer, stutter and even lose the ability to speak. Usually those with a social phobia express their fear with nervousness, racing heartbeat, and a dry mouth/throat. Nausea, sense of unreality, breathlessness, and a feeling of panic, dread, horror, or terror, are other responses.

Panic Disorders

Panic disorders should not be confused with a phobia, because some panic outbreaks could be fatal in some situations, yet they are similar. People with panic disorders have repeated episodes of intense fear which could cause them to faint. Even chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, and abdominal distress can occur.

Common Fears

Strange Fears

The Science Museum of Minnesota: Goosebumps

Resources