Psychiatry Associates Blog

7 Most Common Phobias & How They Affect Patients

common phobiasEveryone has something they fear.  For most, their fears are mild and do not affect their quality of life.  However, for patients with diagnosable phobias, the level of fear and discomfort when confronted with specific objects or situations is exceptional and can significantly impact their day-to-day experiences.  This impact can be so severe that it produces physical symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, and even a panic attack.

While there are many different types of observed phobias, there are some that affect the population at much higher rates than others.  The following are just a few of the most commonly diagnosed phobias and how they manifest in patients:

  1. Arachnophobia – Arachnophobia is possibly the most well-known of all phobias. It is the fear of spiders, or arachnids.  Estimates put arachnophobia at affecting roughly 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men.
  2. Ophidiophobia – Ophidiophobia is the fear of snakes. Both this phobia and arachnophobia are thought to be rooted in human evolution.  Other factors can include personal experiences with snakes and cultural influences.
  3. AcrophobiaAcrophobia, or fear of heights, affects over 20 million people. This fear in particular is frequently associated with anxiety attacks and avoidance of the phobia trigger.  In this case, high places.
  4. Aerophobia – Aerophobia is fear of flying and affects an estimated 8 million people. Given today’s world of travel and transportation, this one can be particularly difficult to avoid but may be addressed with techniques such as exposure therapy.
  5. Cynophobia – Cynophobia, or fear of dogs, is among the most commonly treated phobias. In fact, 36 percent of all patients who seek phobia treatment are seen for cynophobia.  In most cases, these phobias stem from a personal traumatic experience in a patient’s past.
  6. Social Phobia – Social phobia involves fear centered around social situations and interactions. Social Phobia typically first appears during puberty and can be lifelong if not properly treated.  Among the most common symptoms of Social Phobia is fear of public speaking.
  7. AgoraphobiaAgoraphobia is the fear of places or situations where a quick escape would be difficult. This can include confined spaces, crowds, or airplanes.  This condition is often associated with Panic Disorder.  In fact, roughly one-third of patients with an existing Panic Disorder will also go on to develop agoraphobia. It is also more prevalent in women than men, with two-thirds of patients being female.

Treating Phobias in Baton Rouge

It is perfectly normal to experience some level of hesitation or nervousness when confronted with a new or intimidating situation.  However, such instances should not produce symptoms of panic such as increased heart rate, rapid breathing, trembling, and nausea.  If these types of symptoms occur as the result of a particular object or situation, you are likely suffering from a phobia.  Fortunately, most of these conditions can be improved dramatically with care from a mental health professional.  If you are in the Baton Rouge area and struggling with a phobia, contact Psychiatry Associates of Baton Rouge to request an appointment with one of our skilled psychiatric physicians.

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