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POTEN TIAL The terms distress and impairment as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV-TR) should also take into account the context of the sufferer’s environment if attempting a diagnosis. The DSM-IV-TR states that if a phobic stimulus, whether it be an object or a social situation, is absent entirely in an environment — a diagnosis cannot be made. An example of this situation would be an individual who has a fear of mice (Suriphobia) but lives in an area devoid of mice. Even though the concept of mice causes marked distress and impairment within the individual, because the individual does not encounter mice in the environment no actual distress or impairment is ever experienced. Proximity and the degree to which escape from the phobic stimulus is impossible should also be considered. As the sufferer approaches a phobic stimulus, anxiety levels

increase (e.g. as one gets closer to a snake, fear increases in ophidiophobia), and the degree to which escape of the phobic stimulus is limited has the effect of varying the intensity of fear in instances such as riding an elevator (e.g. anxiety increases at the midway point between floors and decreases when the floor is reached and the doors open) comes for adolescents with social phobia. For example, about 20% of adolescents diagnosed with a social Unlike specific phobias, social phobias include fear of public situations and scrutiny which leads to embarrassment or humiliation in the diagnostic criteria. In social phobias, there is also a generalized category. Unlike specific phobias which may develop before the age of 10, social phobias are typically not present until pubertal transition. After this transition, the prevalence of social phobia increases with age. Many adolescents who develop a social phobia consequently become rejected by their peers. As interpersonal dysfunction is a risk factor for depression, there are some negative outThe terms distress and impairment as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV-TR) should also take into account the context of the sufferer’s environment if attempting a diagnosis. The DSM-IV-TR states that if a phobic stimulus, whether it be an object or a social situation, is absent entirely in an environment — a diagnosis cannot be made. An example of this situation would be an individual who has a fear of mice (Suriphobia) but lives in an area devoid of mice. Even though the concept of mice causes marked distress and impairment within the individual, because the individual does not encounter mice in the environment no actual distress or impairment is ever experienced. Proximity and the degree to which escape from the phobic stimulus is impossible should also be considered. As the sufferer approaches a phobic stimulus, anxiety levels increase (e.g. as one gets closer to a snake, fear increases in ophidiophobia), and the degree to which escape of the phobic stimulus is limited has the effect of varying the intensity of fear


Phobias are a common form of anxiety disorders and distributions are heterogeneous by age and gender. An American study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that between 8.7 percent and 18.1 percent of Americans suffer from phobias,[17] making it the most common mental illness among women in all age groups and the second most common illness among men older than 25. Between 4 percent and 10 percent of all children experience specific phobias during their lives,[8] and social phobias occur in one percent to three percent of children and adolescents


fearLESS Phobias are divided into three specific categories: social phobias, agoraphobia and specific phobias. The most common phobia in the world is located within the ’specific phobia’ category. Specific phobias are concentrated on one particular object that instills fear within a person. Arachnophobia, or the fear of spiders (or other arachnids, such as scorpions), is the most reported phobia in the world. It is estimated that nearly half of all women and around ten percent of all men suffer from some degree of

arachnophobia. Other common phobias include claustrophobia which falls under the agoraphobia category and glossophobia, within the social phobia division. Claustrophobia is the fear of being trapped in small or enclosed areas while glossophobia is the fear of public speaking. Both of these phobias effect a huge number of people across the globe. People whom are put into a situation where they must encounter their phobia suffer from a series of physical reactions such as shortness of breath, rapid

heart beat and sweaty palms. Adults may experience severe panic attacks, while children may throw unexpected tantrums. While the cause of phobias remain somewhat of a mystery, it is noted that they often occur after a traumatic event. In addition to personal trauma, a person whom is related to someone with a phobia is three times more likely to develop a phobia themselves as family history and home life appear to play a large factor in the development of phobias. may experience severe panic attacks,


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P A person with social phobia fears being watched or humiliated while doing something in front of others. The activity is often as mundane as signing a personal check or eating a meal. The most common social phobia is the fear of speaking in public. Many people have a generalized form of social phobia, in which they fear and avoid interpersonal interactions. This makes it difficult for them to go to work or school or to socialize at all. Social phobias generally develop after puberty and, without treatment, can be lifelong.


EXPLORE A person with social phobia fears being watched or humiliated while doing something in front of others. The activity is often as mundane as signing a personal check or eating a meal. The most common social phobia is the fear of speaking in public. Many people have a generalized form of social phobia, in which they fear and avoid interpersonal interactions. This makes it difficult for them to go to work or school or to socialize at all. Social phobias generally develop after puberty and, without treatment, can be lifelong. As the name implies, people with a specific phobia generally have an irrational fear of specific objects

or situations. The disability caused by this phobia can be severe if the feared object or situation is a common one. The most common specific phobia in the general population is fear of animals—particularly dogs, snakes, insects, and mice. Other specific phobias are fear of closed spaces (claustrophobia) and fear of heights (acrophobia). Most simple phobias develop during childhood and eventually disappear. Those that persist into adulthood rarely go away without treatment.


Hypnotherapy aims to get the individual into a relaxed state of mind, where the subconscious mind can be engaged. When using hypnosis, a dissociative technique is recommended which might include, for example, patients watching a younger version of themselves, watching a film or seeing a reflection. The therapist then enables patients to integrate the present with the past, traumatic experience so that they learn from the events and thus become stronger. Psychodynamic psychotherapy may be used at the beginning of each session to encourage the recall of stimuli. Hypnotherapy sessions may be done in groups as some patients may prefer sessions with others who are facing the same situation much

like a support group. Overall, treatment is aimed at reducing the debilitating Hypnotherapy aims to get the individual into a relaxed state o effects of phobias without the use of medication. It is possible for an individual the subconscious mind can be engaged. When using hypno to develop a phobia over virtually anything. The name of a phobia generally tive technique is recommended which might include, for e contains a Greek word for what the patient fears plus the suffix -phobia. Creating watching a younger version of themselves, watching a film these terms is something of a word game. Few of these terms are found in medical tion. The therapist then enables patients to integrat literature. However, this does not necessarily make it a non-psychological conpast, traumatic experience so that they learn from the dition. Agoraphobia is the fear of being alone in any place or situation where it stronger. Psychodynamic psychotherapy may be use seems escape would be difficult or help unavailable should the need arise. People session to encourage the recall of stimuli. Hypnothe with agoraphobia may avoid being on bridges, busy streets or in crowded stores. groups as some patients may prefer sessions with Some people with agoraphobia become so disabled they literally will not leave situation much like a support group. Overall, tr their homes. If they do, it is only with great distress or when accompanied by a debilitating effects of phobias without the an individual to develop a phobia over vir

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may throw unexpected tantrums.

experience severe panic attacks, while children

rapid heart beat and sweaty palms. Adults may

of physical reactions such as shortness of breath,

must encounter their phobia suffer from a series

reactions such as shortness of breath,

Phobias are divided into three specific categories: social phobias, agoraphobia and specific phobias. The most common phobia in the world is located within the ’spe

People whom are put into a situation where they

bia suffer from a series of physical

Arachnophobia, or the fear of spiders (or other arachnids, such as scorpions), is the most reported phobia in the world. It is estimated that nearly half of all women and around ten percent of all men suffer from some degree of arachnophobia. Other common phobias include claustrophobia which falls under the agoraphobia category and glossophobia, within the social phobia division. Claustrophobia is the fear of being trapped in small or enclosed areas while glossophobia is the fear of public speaking. Both of these phobias effect a huge

where they must encounter their pho-

Phobias are divided into three specific categories: social phobias, agoraphobia and specific phobias. The most common phobia in the world is located within the ’specific phobia’ category. Specific phobias are concentrated on one particular object that instills fear within a person.

People whom are put into a situation

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While the cause of phobias remain somewhat of a mystery, it is noted that they often occur after a traumatic event. In addition to personal trauma, a person develop factor in the development ofmost common phobia in the world is located within the ’specific phobia’ category. Specific phobias are concentrated on one particular object that instills fear within a person.

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