A phobia is an irrational, involuntary, inappropriate fear reaction that generally leads to an avoidance of common everyday places, objects, or situations. It is an unrealistic fear of something, a fear that you know is not rational. In practical terms, though, a phobia is a fear of fear itself. It is a fear of one's own impulses. It could be the fear of having a panic attack and losing control. Phobias tell us a lot about the fear of our own self and our fear of loss of our control.
Phobias can progress to the point where they interfere with daily life. Common phobias include fear of animals, insects, lightning, water, heights and closed-in places such as elevators.
Many people have minor phobias, experiencing some anxiety when unable to avoid contact with spiders, snakes, bees, etc., for example. However, these phobias do not impair the ability to cope with day-to-day life. When a fear causes significant distress and interferes with normal social functioning, then it is considered a disease.
Fortunately, 90 percent of phobias respond well to therapy such as relaxation and gradual exposure to the thing a person fears.
There are as many different kinds of phobias as there are different kinds of people.
Phobias are classified into three types-simple phobias, social phobias, and agoraphobia.
People with simple phobias experience a dread of a certain object, place, or situation.
People with social phobia avoid public situations, like a party, because they are afraid of doing something to embarrass themselves.
Agoraphobics are victims of a complex phenomenon based on a fear of strange places.