• What Are Phobias and How Can You Treat Them?

    by Caroline Ryther
    on Oct 11th, 2018

Did you know that 19 million people in the United States have at least one phobia that they struggle with? We often disregard phobias as something irrational that can easily be overcome, and while a phobia is defined as an exaggerated and unfounded fear, this condition is a bit more serious than you might think.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) actually recognizes three types of phobias:

Agoraphobia and social anxiety are both regarded as complex phobias, whose triggers can’t be as easily recognized as those connected to specific phobias. People suffering from complex phobias find it harder to avoid the triggers that are the root of their condition.

A person is diagnosed with a phobia when they begin organizing their life in a way that will allow them to avoid the cause of their fear. They would do whatever to make this happen, even going as far as to not leave their house.

Some of the most common phobias include claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces), arachnophobia (fear of spiders), hypochondria (fear of getting ill), and acrophobia (fear of heights).

Phobia Symptoms and Treatment

There is a number of symptoms that a person with a phobia can experience and they are more or less the same for all types. These include:

In addition to these, a person will experience a number of physical symptoms, as well, such as:

Unlike specific phobias, complex ones are more likely to affect a person’s everyday life and wellbeing, because they are usually accompanied by other phobias. So, for example, a person with agoraphobia may also have claustrophobia or monophobia.

The good news is that phobias are highly treatable, and most people are aware that they have one, which significantly helps with the diagnosis. Of course, people dealing with a simple phobia usually won’t even seek out help and they’ll simply stay away from the source triggering it.

However, if what they have is something more complex, one of the first steps to setting them on the path of getting better will be speaking to a psychologist or psychiatrist. Treatment is completely individual, and no therapy will be the same for everyone. A doctor, psychiatrist, or psychologist will recommend medications (beta blockers, antidepressants, or tranquilizers), behavioral therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy or exposure therapy), or even a combination of both, in order to reduce the symptoms and help people manage their reactions.


If you have a phobia, don’t be afraid of seeking out help! You can contact the Neuroscience Center and schedule a consultation with Dr. Best as soon as possible.


Schedule a consultation:

Phone: 847-306-8938

Email: pm@mind.md

Author Caroline Ryther

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