by: Audrey Sisk

What is a Phobia?

Everyone is afraid of something. But, only 1 in 10 Americans develop a true phobia. A phobia is an exaggerated fear of something in a harmless situation. The word 'phobia' is a greek term for fear. Most phobia names are a greek root word. For example: myso = greek for germ; myso + phobia = mysophobia, the fear of germs. So, read along and discover: What are you afraid of?

Types of Phobias

There are three types of phobias. The first is a simple phobia. A simple phobia is the fear of an object, such as an animal or telephone. An example of a simple phobia would be f - the fear of dogs. Believe it or not, cynophobia is among the top ten most common fears. The second type of phobia involves a situation. An example of that would be claustrophobia - the fear of enclosed spaces. The third type of phobia is of social interactions. Phobias can come from negative experiences with the object or situation. In other words, phobias are learned.

Fear v.s. Phobia

People get phobias and fears mixed up. A phobia is an exaggerated fear of something. Or, you could say, that a phobia is much more extreme than a fear. For example: If somebody was walking home and they heard thunder and lightning close by, they would experience normal fear and want to hurry home so they won't be caught in a storm. But, if someone with astraphobia (fear of thunder and lightning) was watching a movie that had thunder and lightning scenes and sounds in it, they would have a phobic reaction to it. A phobic reactions' side effects include: sweaty palms, a very high heart rate, unnaturally high body temperature, and a really bad headache.

Common Types of Phobias

The most common phobias for the first type of phobia (fear of an object) are arachnophobia (the fear of spiders), ophidiophobia (the fear of snakes), cynophobia (the fear dogs), mysophobia (fear of germs), and astraphobia (the fear of thunder and lightning). the most common for the second type (fear of a situation) are acrophobia (fear of heights), nyctophobia (fear of the dark), trypanophobia (fear of the dark),and nosophobia (fear of disease). The third type is its own phobia: the fear of social interactions. There is no official Greek name for it, but it is commonly known as SAD (social anxiety disorder).

Getting better

Most people get over there fears by themselves. Others need a little push. But, sometimes a phobia really extreme. Some people need therapy to get over it. The most common therapy for an extreme phobia is called exposure. Exposure exposes the phobic to the item of their phobia until the phobic is afraid of it no longer. Exposure can take a while though. It can go on for years and have little progress. Most people get completely over it. Others my get partly over it. The time and recovery depends on the phobic.

What are you afraid of?

There are so many fears out there. It all depends on the phobic and their experiences. Phobias can be drastic or can just be a temporary fling. Other than common fears like dogs, heights, or SAD. There are also some crazy fears. Like the fear of long words, or the number 666 .Only 1 in every 10 Americans develop a phobia. Phobias can affect people in every day life. It can be drastic, or it can make you more cautions. So, my reader I ask you, what are you afraid of?