Beth Ann Simmons 10/16/15 p.5

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.


  • An anxiety disorder
  • An irrational worry about a normal everyday event
  • Phobias fall into two general categories
-Social Phobia is over whelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness about everyday social situations.

-Specific Phobias are intense and irrational fears about otherwise harmless things such as spiders, airplane flight, or elevators.


  • Frightening experiences in childhood
  • Imbalances in the brain chemicals, known as neurotransmitters
  • An overactive component of the brain known as the amygdola
  • Fears inherited from ancesters


They will avoid contact with other people or situations that they find frightening, such as social gatherings or school events. People who harbor specific phobias avoid what they fear; they may decline to travel by airplane or avoid crossing bridges.

Age/Gender Specific

Women and men are both afflicted with social phobia in equal numbers, but women are more likely to harbor specific phobias. This is probably due to pressures placed on them by society as well as hormonal imbalances. Most phobias manifest themselves in childhood.


IN ca. 2500 B.C. Greek physician Hippocrates first note the symptoms of social phobia. In 1920, after experimenting with a baby, Watson and Rosalie Raynor develop the theory of behaviorism, declaring that bad memories are the cause of phobias. In 1953 Albert Ellis develops cognitive behavioral therapy in which phobic people are exposed to fears in small steps, helping them over come what frightens them. In 1980, the Phobia Society of America is established. In 2000, the U.S Food and Drug Administration endorses the antidepressant drug 'Paxil' specifically for treatment of social phobia.


Most people who harbor phobias respond well to cognitive-behavioral therapy, which introduces them to small doses of what frightens them so that they can gradually overcome their fears. Antidepressant drugs are also effective for social phobia.


  • American Psychological Association

-750 First St. NE


  • Anxiety Disorders Association of America
-8730 Georgia Ave., Suite 600

Silver Spring, Md 20910

-240-485-1001 (phone)

-240-485-1035 (fax)

  • Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
-305 7th Ave., 16th Floor

New York, NY 10001

-212-647-1890 (phone)

-212-647-1865 (fax)