(Osmosis from Elsevier, 2016) Click on the watch on YouTube link(external link) to watch.
Types of phobia
Phobias fall into three main types:
- specific phobias
- fear of social activities or situations, known as social phobia or anxiety
- fear of being away from home or safety and fear of places where you might have a panic attack, known as agoraphobia.
Specific phobias are very common. You may have a mild aversion to something that doesn't affect you very much, through to a full phobia, which will affect your day to day life. Specific fears fall into 5 categories:
- fear of animals, such as dogs, snakes or spiders
- fear of the natural environment
- fear of blood and needles
- fear of activities, such as flying
- other fears, such as a fear of clowns.
For example, if you are phobic of dogs, you will feel extremely anxious anywhere near a dog and want to get away from it quickly. You will avoid dogs if at all possible. This happens even though you may realise your fear is unreasonable. Once you leave the situation you feel fine.
Or if you have a fear of blood and needles, you will avoid reading or talking about these subjects and may find it hard to visit a friend in hospital. You may avoid going to the dentist and find it really hard to agree to have an injection or blood test. The sight of blood might make you panic or faint. Away from these subjects and situations, you feel okay.
If you have a phobia of blood/needles/injections, it's a good idea to see a health professional about this. Rather than learning to relax, which can be helpful for people with other phobias, it will be more helpful for you to learn how to tense up to stop fainting at the sight of blood or injections.
A social phobia, known as social anxiety disorder, is a fear of being judged negatively in social situations. It’s common for most of us to have occasional moments where such situations can feel a bit daunting, but someone with social phobia experiences strong anxiety or panic in most social situations.
If you have this type of phobia, you feel anxious that you will act in a way or show anxiety symptoms that will be humiliating or embarrassing. This can lead to avoiding social situations, which affects your ability to create or maintain relationships. It can seriously affect your quality of life, employment and career goals.
Agoraphobia is a fear of situations or places that would be difficult to get away from or get help in. As a result, people with agoraphobia often experience severe panic attacks. It is a more severe and complex form of phobia. Find out more about agoraphobia.