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Word Count: 2,800
Fear is an ancient and universal emotion It can be defined as the sensation that one is in danger that something bad is about to happen Fear is almost always accompanied by a host of physical symptoms When it is not justified by the presence of real danger or a threat or by a rational cause and when it is also accompanied by a persistent avoidance of the situations which lead to it it is called a phobia Phobias occur in several forms A phobia is a repeated unrealistic paralyzing fear of a particular object or situation Phobic disorders are classified as part of the group of anxiety disorders which includes panic disorder post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder Anxiety disorders are not just a case of nerves One cannot overcome an anxiety disorder through willpower alone nor can the symptoms be ignored or wished away Anxiety disorders cause the person to feel anxious most of the time making some seemingly simple situations so uncomfortable the person may avoid them entirely By definition phobias are irrational and they interfere with ones everyday life or daily routine If a persons fear of high places prevents them from crossing necessary bridges to get to work that fear is irrational If a fear prevents a person from enjoying life preoccupies their thinking so they are unable to work or sleep or do the things they need to do then it becomes irrational One key to diagnosing a phobic disorder is that the fear must be excessive and disproportionate to the situation Most people who fear heights would not avoid visiting a relative who lived on the top floor of a tall building a person with a phobia of heights would Fear alone does not distinguish a phobia both fear and avoidance must be evident Lefton LA1997 A phobia is an intense unrealistic fear of an object an event or a feeling An estimated 18 percent of
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