Phobias are an extreme fear triggered by a particular situation, object, or animal. They are beyond a general fear, instead creating an exaggerated sense of danger from the trigger. A phobia can impact on day to day life due to the level of avoidance of the feared stimulus.
Types of Phobia
A phobia could be developed on a wide variety of objects or situations. They can be organised into two categories:
Simple or specific phobias, which focus around a specific object, animal, or activity (e.g. spiders or going to the dentist).
Examples of simple phobias:
- Environmental phobias (e.g. heights or germs)
- Situational phobias (e.g. flying or the dentist)
- Animal phobias (e.g. spiders or snakes)
- Bodily phobias (e.g. blood or injections)
- Sexual phobias (e.g. about performance or sexually transmitted infections)
Complex phobias, which are more conceptual and tend to be more disabling (e.g. social phobia).
Common examples of complex phobias:
- Agoraphobia: the fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult or that help would not be available (e.g. crowded places, public transport or being alone)
- Social phobia: see Social Anxiety Disorder