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Word Count: 794
Phobia- intense and persistent fear of a specific object situation or activity Because of this intense and persistent fear the phobic person often leads a constricted life The anxiety is typically out of proportion to the real situation and the victim is fully aware that the fear is irrational Phobic anxiety is distinguishable from other forms of anxiety only in that it occurs specifically in relation to a certain object or situation This anxiety is characterized by physiological symptoms such as a rapid pounding heartbeat stomach disorders nausea diarrhea frequent urination choking feelings flushing of the face perspiration tremulousness and faintness Some phobic people are able to confront their fears More commonly however they avoid the situation or object that causes the fearan avoidance that impairs the sufferers freedom Psychiatrists recognize three major types of phobias Simple phobias are fears of specific objects or situations such as animals closed spaces and heights The second type agoraphobia is fear of open public places and situations such as public vehicles and crowded shopping centers from which escape is difficult agoraphobics tend increasingly to avoid more situations until eventually they become housebound Social phobias the third type are fears of appearing stupid or shameful in social situations The simple phobias especially the fear of animals may begin in childhood and persist into adulthood Agoraphobia characteristically begins in late adolescence or early adulthood and social phobia is also associated with adolescence Although agoraphobia is more often seen in treatment than the other types of phobia it is not believed to be as common as simple phobia Taken together the phobias are believed to afflict 5 to 10 persons in 100 Agoraphobia and simple phobia are more commonly diagnosed in women than in men the distribution for social phobia is not known Agoraphobias social phobias and animal phobias tend to run in families Behavioral techniques have proved successful in treating phobias especially simple and social phobias One technique systematic desensitization
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