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Psychological Disabling Phobias and Fears

Updated/Revised Date: 2022-04-12
Author: Disabled World | Contact: Disabled World (Disabled-World.com)
Additional References: Phobias and Fears Publications

Synopsis: A phobia can be classified as a disability in that it can effect a person's psychological being or the ability to perform certain tasks. Fears are common and normal in childhood, however, for some children and teenagers, their fears can become very severe over time, and even develop into a phobia. In children and adolescents, the identified fear must last at least six months to be considered a phobia rather than a transient fear. Phobias are more often than not linked to the amygdala, an area of the brain located behind the pituitary gland in the limbic system. The amygdala secretes hormones that control fear and aggression, and also aids in the interpretation of this emotion in the facial expressions of others.

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Main Document

What is a Phobia?

In clinical psychology, a phobia is defined as a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational. In the event the phobia cannot be avoided entirely, the sufferer will endure the situation or object with marked distress and significant interference in social or occupational activities.

A phobia can be classified as a disability in that it can effect a person's psychological being and ability to perform certain tasks. A phobia is an irrational, intense, persistent fear of certain situations, activities, things, or persons.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 8.7% of people, or about 19.2 million American adults, suffer from one or more specific phobias. The main symptom of this disorder is the excessive, unreasonable desire to avoid the feared subject. When the fear is beyond one's control, or if the fear is interfering with daily life, then a diagnosis under one of the anxiety disorders can be made. It is generally accepted that phobias arise from a combination of external events and internal predispositions.

Phobias are more often than not linked to the amygdala, an area of the brain located behind the pituitary gland in the limbic system. The amygdala secretes hormones that control fear and aggression, and aids in the interpretation of this emotion in the facial expressions of others.

Artistic translucent illustration of a human brain.
Artistic translucent illustration of a human brain.

Phobia's in Children : Fears and Childhood Phobia's

Fears are common and normal in childhood, however, for some children and teenagers, their fears can become very severe over time, and even develop into a phobia. In children and adolescents, the identified fear must last at least six months to be considered a phobia rather than a transient fear.

Childhood phobias can make it difficult for your child to go to school, be around other kids, or get involved in combined activities, such as school camping trips and day camps etc.

Phobias can be very hard on children and teenagers, especially when their friends or family don't understand why the child is getting upset over something that is nothing to them. An adult or teenager can often realize their fear is unreasonable or excessive, whereas a younger child might not be aware of this.

A child psychiatrist, psychologist or other qualified health or mental health professional usually diagnoses anxiety disorders in children or adolescents following a comprehensive medical and psychiatric evaluation. Parents who note signs of severe anxiety in their child or teen should help by seeking an evaluation and treatment early. Early treatment can prevent future problems.

Phobia Categories

Most psychologists and psychiatrists classify most phobias into three categories:

Facts and Statistics

Phobias are a common form of anxiety disorders, and distributions are heterogeneous by age and gender.

View our list of common phobias

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Subtopics and Associated Subjects


Latest Phobias and Fears Publications

Aversion to holes driven by disgust, not fear, study finds - Psychologists reveal neural underpinnings of trypophobia.
Publish Date: 2018-01-05
Fears and Phobias Are Inherited Traits thumbnail image.
Fears a parent may experience can be passed down to their children, and results of experiments suggest fallout from traumatic experiences may extend through generations.
Publish Date: 2014-08-11 - Updated: 2021-06-06

A brain scan with functional MRI can predict which patients with pediatric anxiety disorder will respond to talk therapy and may not need psychiatric medication.
Publish Date: 2010-11-14 - Updated: 2016-03-26

Identifying neural pathways and types of neurons in the amygdala which play a key role in the behavioral expression of fear.
Publish Date: 2010-11-11

Additional Phobias and Fears Publications

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Disabled World provides general information only. The materials presented are never meant to substitute for professional medical care by a qualified practitioner, nor should they be construed as such. Financial support is derived from advertisements or referral programs, where indicated. Any 3rd party offering or advertising does not constitute an endorsement.


Cite This Page (APA): Disabled World. (2022, April 12). Psychological Disabling Phobias and Fears. Disabled World. Retrieved February 5, 2023 from www.disabled-world.com/health/neurology/phobias/

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