By: Grace Kim

Definition Of Phobia

Phobia is a mental illness that a general population of people have. Phobia is an intensive fear brought by objects, event, or different situations. It can interfere with how you socialize, work, or affect your everyday life. There are many different types of phobias and it is generally divided into 3 categories. Specific phobias, social phobia, and agoraphobia.

(Children's Health. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from


When we were younger we had many fears such as monsters, thunder storms, clowns and etc. However, as time goes by we overcome these fears. When we reach a certain age in life, we don't fear the objects, events, or situations as much as we did during our childhood. When we are afraid of either an object or situation past our normal age, or the fear interfere's with our ability to function like others, the fear is considered as a phobia.

We can see different types of phobias in a variety of mental disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD), or post-traumatic stress disorder, or panic disorder. Researchers found out that "Approximately one person in five (18 Percent) of all americans experience phobias that interfere with their daily lives." and "Approximately 4 to 5 percent of the U.S. population has one or more clinically significant phobias in a given year." (Facts About Phobias. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from

Different types of phobias

As mentioned in the "Definition of phobias," it is categorized into 3 different types; Specific phobia, Social phobia, and agoraphobia.

Specific Phobia

People in general dislike different events, and situations. However, For it to be acknowledged as a phobia the fear must affect the individual in their everyday lives. Specific Phobia is where you feel threatened to a specific object or situation. Some of the most common are: Glossophobia: performance anxiety, or the fear of speaking in front of an audience, Acrophobia: The fear of heights, Claustrophobia: The fear of enclosed or tight spaces, Dentophobia: The fear of the dentist or dental procedures, Hemophobia: The fear of blood or injury, Animal or insect phobias: The fear of animals or insects, Nyctophobia: The fear of the nighttime or darkness.

Social Phobia

This is a phobia where the individual feels anxious around other people. It is referred to as "social anxiety dosorder". People with social phobias try to prevent themselves from any interactions with the public. It can be so severe that the person can panic with even the smallest interaction. It interferes with their daily lives, they know that it is an irrational fear however they cannot overcome the fear and the symtoms.


This Phobia is the fear of places, and/or situations where you cannot escape. The fear that they may panic in situations where you cannot get out. They tend to stay home and avoid public areas

(Phobias. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from

Top 10 Most Common Phobias

Top 10 Common Phobias

Who Is Affected?

Every year approximately 19 million of Americans experience one or more phobias. Regardless of the gender, it occurs to both man and women equally. Phobias can occur in our early childhood; but in most cases, first evidence is found between the ages of 15 and 20 years. (Who is affected by phobias? - Phobias. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from

How Does It Impact The Indiviual

It can impact the individual's lifestyle because phobias most likely interfere with our daily lives. It may not occur to everyone however people with social phobia, or agoraphobia are most likely to be isolated from the public. For those who have social phobia, they can face difficulties in creating a deep connection with family members and friend. Which also leads them to isolation. For people who experience pain attacks when they are in a closed space or a situation where they can't get out, it makes them harder to use the public transportations such as subways, and public buses. People with phobias are impacted in negative ways. Not only does it isolate them but It also affects the individual because it makes it even more difficult to survive in our society. In order to live in the society we need money. However for the people who have severe phobias, they can face difficulties in getting a job. My father fears places such as the mall or the department stores that have no doors leading outside. He mentioned how we used to train in the Korean army, and he talked about some of the trainings he took part in. There was one training in particular that may be the reason he fears closed up spaces until this day. He said when he was younger he didn't mind going to places that were closed up however after going through the training where they keep you in a room filled with gas for several minutes he felt anxious and lightheaded. After 10 years from then, he felt fear when going to places where he could not see the window showing the outside world or the door leading outside. This helped me to relate to the topic better and understand the general concept of this mental illness.

Symptoms And Characteristics


The most common symptoms of phobia is a panic attack. The features of the panic attack can include: pounding or racing heart, rapid speech or inability to speak, dry mouth, shortness of breath, chest pain or tightness, upset stomach or nausea, elevated blood pressure, trembling or shaking, dizziness or lightheadedness, and etc. It is also most likely to follow these following reactions: The feeling that you must do everything within your power to avoid what you fear, the inability to function normally because of your anxiety, in children, possibly tantrums, clinging or crying, and etc.


There can be Physical symptoms, Behavioural symptoms, Emotional symptoms, Social symptoms, and cognitive symptoms. But in the end they all lead to anxiety and affect the person both physically and mentally.

(Phobias. (n.d.). Retrieved May 1, 2015, from

The Cause Of Phobias

Phobias can be caused by genes, and environmental reasons, as well as past experience. During our early childhood if we get into an incidence where our brains are traumatized by a traumatic injury, there is a high incidence of phobia development, also distressing events can bring phobias as well. The cause of social phobia mostly appears in childhood, or adolescence. A humiliating experience or traumatizing event can cause the person to experience phobias. For those who have agoraphobia, the pain attack may occur at any time. Although the pain may last for a couple of minutes, the individual remembers the pain they had felt and try to avoid it from happening again. Specific trigger may differ depending the past experience the individual had or heredity.

Here is a test that will reveal your phobias

Treatment For Phobias

There are 2 different kinds of treatment for phobias such as;

1. Cognitive-behavioural therapy: It is the most commonly used therapeutic treatment. cognitive-behavioural therapy(OCT) exposes the individual to the source of fear in a controlled setting. The treatment decondition patience and it reduces anxiety. The therapist focuses on changing the dysfunctional beliefs or negative thoughts the individual has. The CBT techniques use virtual reality tech in order to safely expose the patient to the source of their fear and reduce the negative reactions.

2. Medication: Mostly medication is used to calm down the the mind and block the pain. the drugs can control symptoms and help prevent panic attacks. The blood pressure medication called beta blockers can reduce over-stimulation by controlling the physical symptoms of anxiety.