What Our Fears Are All about; Your Life Daily Fact File - PHOBIAS
PHOBIAS are defined as a constant, extreme or irrational fear of an animal, object, place or situation that would not normally worry most people.
Often they develop in late childhood, early adolescence or early childhood (although they can develop at any age), sometimes in response to a frightening event.
It is an anxiety disorder - like panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder - and centres on our natural reaction to fear - that ancient fight-or-flight response.
It's a natural reaction in all of us and keeps us safe but for phobics their fear is generally about something which is not necessarily threatening.
Their reaction is out of proportion and so overwhelming it can affect how they live their life.
Symptoms are varied but can include irregular heartbeat, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath or more rapid breathing, dry mouth, confusion, disorientation and general dread.
After these feelings pass the experience may cause depression and embarrassment.
Current estimates suggest there are 10 million phobics in the UK but it's difficult to quantify as many people with a phobia feel awkward talking about it.
There is help available for people who want to overcome their phobia if it is affecting them severely.
Counselling, psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy and hypnotherapy are most often used.
Agoraphobia - the fear of open spaces is perhaps the most common complex phobia and occurs in about 30 people in every 1,000 a year, it's more common in women. …