A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, defined by a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation.[1] The phobia typically results in a rapid onset of fear and is present for more than six months.[1] The affected person goes to great lengths to avoid the situation or object, to a degree greater than the actual danger posed.[1] If the feared object or situation cannot be avoided, the affected person experiences significant distress.[1] With blood or injury phobia, fainting may occur.[1] Agoraphobia is often associated with panic attacks.[6] Usually a person has phobias to a number of objects or situations.[1]

Phobias can be divided into specific phobias, social phobia, and agoraphobia.[1][2] Types of specific phobias include those to certain animals, natural environment situations, blood or injury, and specific situations.[1] The most common are fear of spiders, fear of snakes, and fear of heights.[7] Occasionally they are triggered by a negative experience with the object or situation.[1] Social phobia is when the situation is feared as the person is worried about others judging them.[1] Agoraphobia is when fear of a situation occurs because it is felt that escape would not be possible.[1]

It is recommended that specific phobias be treated with exposure therapy where the person is introduced to the situation or object in question until the fear resolves.[2] Medications are not useful in this type of phobia.[2] Social phobia and agoraphobia are often treated with some combination of counselling and medication.[4][5] Medications used include antidepressants, benzodiazepines, or beta-blockers.[4]

Specific phobias affect about 6–8% of people in the Western world and 2–4% of people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America in a given year.[1] Social phobia affects about 7% of people in the United States and 0.5–2.5% of people in the rest of the world.[6] Agoraphobia affects about 1.7% of people.[6] Women are affected about twice as often as men.[1][6] Typically onset is around the age of 10 to 17.[1][6] Rates become lower as people get older.[1][6] People with phobias are at a higher risk of suicide.[1]

Little Miss Muffet 2 - WW Denslow - Project Gutenberg etext 18546
The fear of spiders is one of the most common phobias
SymptomsFear of an object or situation[1]
Usual onsetRapid[1]
DurationMore than six months[1]
TypesSpecific phobias, social phobia, agoraphobia[1][2]
CausesUnknown, some genetic effects[3]
TreatmentExposure therapy, counselling, medication[4][5][2]
MedicationAntidepressants, benzodiazepines, beta-blockers[4]
FrequencySpecific phobias: ~5%[1]
Social phobia: ~5%[6]
Agoraphobia: ~2%[6]


Most phobias are classified into three categories and, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V), such phobias are considered sub-types of anxiety disorder. The categories are:

1. Specific phobias: Fear of particular objects or social situations that immediately results in anxiety and can sometimes lead to panic attacks. Specific phobia may be further subdivided into four categories: animal type, natural environment type, situational type, blood-injection-injury type.[8]

2. Agoraphobia: a generalized fear of leaving home or a small familiar 'safe' area, and of possible panic attacks that might follow. It may also be caused by various specific phobias such as fear of open spaces, social embarrassment (social agoraphobia), fear of contamination (fear of germs, possibly complicated by obsessive-compulsive disorder) or PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) related to a trauma that occurred out of doors.

3. Social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder, is when the situation is feared as the person is worried about others judging them.[1]

Phobias vary in severity among individuals. Some individuals can simply avoid the subject of their fear and suffer relatively mild anxiety over that fear. Others suffer full-fledged panic attacks with all the associated disabling symptoms. Most individuals understand that they are suffering from an irrational fear, but are powerless to override their panic reaction. These individuals often report dizziness, loss of bladder or bowel control, tachypnea, feelings of pain, and shortness of breath.[9]

Specific phobias

A specific phobia is a marked and persistent fear of an object or situation. Specific phobias may also include fear of with losing control, panicking, and fainting from an encounter with the phobia.[10] Specific phobias are defined in relation to objects or situations whereas social phobias emphasize social fear and the evaluations that might accompany them.

The DSM breaks specific phobias into five subtypes: animal, natural environment, blood-injection-injury, situation and other.[11] In children, blood-injection-injury phobia and phobias involving animals, natural environment (darkness) usually develop between the ages of 7 and 9, and these are reflective of normal development. Additionally, specific phobias are most prevalent in children between ages 10 and 13.[12]

Social phobia

Unlike specific phobias, social phobias include fear of public situations and scrutiny, which leads to embarrassment or humiliation in the diagnostic criteria.



Rachman proposed three pathways to acquiring fear conditioning: classical conditioning, vicarious acquisition and informational/instructional acquisition.[13]

Much of the progress in understanding the acquisition of fear responses in phobias can be attributed to classical conditioning (Pavlovian model).[14] When an aversive stimulus and a neutral one are paired together, for instance when an electric shock is given in a specific room, the subject can start to fear not only the shock but the room as well. In behavioral terms, this is described as a conditioned stimulus (CS) (the room) that is paired with an aversive unconditioned stimulus (UCS) (the shock), which leads to a conditioned response (CR) (fear for the room) (CS+UCS=CR).[14] For instance, in case of the fear of heights (acrophobia), the CS is heights such as a balcony on the top floors of a high rise building. The UCS originates from an aversive or traumatizing event in the person's life, such as almost falling down from a great height. The original fear of almost falling down is associated with being on a high place, leading to a fear of heights. In other words, the CS (heights) associated with the aversive UCS (almost falling down) leads to the CR (fear). This direct conditioning model, though very influential in the theory of fear acquisition, is not the only way to acquire a phobia.

Vicarious fear acquisition is learning to fear something, not by a subject's own experience of fear, but by watching others reacting fearfully (observational learning). For instance, when a child sees a parent reacting fearfully to an animal, the child can become afraid of the animal as well.[15] Through observational learning, humans can to learn to fear potentially dangerous objects—a reaction also observed in other primates.[16] In a study focusing on non-human primates, results showed that the primates learned to fear snakes at a fast rate after observing parents’ fearful reactions.[16] An increase of fearful behaviors was observed as the non-human primates continued to observe their parents’ fearful reaction.[16] Even though observational learning has been proven effective in creating reactions of fear and phobias, it has also been shown that by physically experiencing an event, chances increase of fearful and phobic behaviors.[16] In some cases, physically experiencing an event may increase the fear and phobia more so than observing a fearful reaction of another human or non-human primate.

Informational/instructional fear acquisition is learning to fear something by getting information. For instance, fearing electrical wire after having heard that touching it causes an electric shock.[17]

A conditioned fear response to an object or situation is not always a phobia. To meet the criteria for a phobia there must also be symptoms of impairment and avoidance. Impairment is defined as being unable to complete routine tasks whether occupational, academic or social. In acrophobia an impairment of occupation could result from not taking a job solely because of its location at the top floor of a building, or socially not participating in a social event at a theme park. The avoidance aspect is defined as behavior that results in the omission of an aversive event that would otherwise occur, with the goal of preventing anxiety.[18]


PTSD stress brain
Regions of the brain associated with phobias[19]

Beneath the lateral fissure in the cerebral cortex, the insula, or insular cortex, of the brain has been identified as part of the limbic system, along with cingulated gyrus, hippocampus, corpus callosum and other nearby cortices. This system has been found to play a role in emotion processing[20] and the insula, in particular, may contribute through its role in maintaining autonomic functions.[21] Studies by Critchley et al. indicate the insula as being involved in the experience of emotion by detecting and interpreting threatening stimuli.[22] Similar studies involved in monitoring the activity of the insula show a correlation between increased insular activation and anxiety.[20]

In the frontal lobes, other cortices involved with phobia and fear are the anterior cingulate cortex and the medial prefrontal cortex. In the processing of emotional stimuli, studies on phobic reactions to facial expressions have indicated that these areas are involved in processing and responding to negative stimuli.[23] The ventromedial prefrontal cortex has been said to influence the amygdala by monitoring its reaction to emotional stimuli or even fearful memories.[20] Most specifically, the medial prefrontal cortex is active during extinction of fear and is responsible for long-term extinction. Stimulation of this area decreases conditioned fear responses, so its role may be in inhibiting the amygdala and its reaction to fearful stimuli.[24]

The hippocampus is a horseshoe-shaped structure that plays an important part in the brain’s limbic system because of its role in forming memories and connecting them with emotions and the senses. When dealing with fear, the hippocampus receives impulses from the amygdala that allow it to connect the fear with a certain sense, such as a smell or sound.


The amygdala is an almond-shaped mass of nuclei that is located deep in the brain’s medial temporal lobe. It processes the events associated with fear and is linked to social phobia and other anxiety disorders. The amygdala's ability to respond to fearful stimuli occurs through the process of fear conditioning. Similar to classical conditioning, the amygdala learns to associate a conditioned stimulus with a negative or avoidant stimulus, creating a conditioned fear response that is often seen in phobic individuals. In this way, the amygdala is responsible for not only recognizing certain stimuli or cues as dangerous but plays a role in the storage of threatening stimuli to memory. The basolateral nuclei (or basolateral amygdala) and the hippocampus interact with the amygdala in the storage of memory, which suggests why memories are often remembered more vividly if they have emotional significance.[25]

In addition to memory, the amygdala also triggers the secretion of hormones that affect fear and aggression. When the fear or aggression response is initiated, the amygdala releases hormones into the body to put the human body into an "alert" state, which prepares the individual to move, run, fight, etc.[26] This defensive "alert" state and response are known as the fight-or-flight response.[27]

Inside the brain, however, this stress response can be observed in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA). This circuit incorporates the process of receiving stimuli, interpreting it and releasing certain hormones into the bloodstream. The parvocellular neurosecretory neurons of the hypothalamus release corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), which is sent to the anterior pituitary. Here the pituitary releases adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which ultimately stimulates the release of cortisol. In relation to anxiety, the amygdala is responsible for activating this circuit, while the hippocampus is responsible for suppressing it. Glucocorticoid receptors in the hippocampus monitor the amount of cortisol in the system and through negative feedback can tell the hypothalamus to stop releasing CRH.[21]

Studies on mice engineered to have high concentrations of CRH showed higher levels of anxiety, while those engineered to have no or low amounts of CRH receptors were less anxious. In phobic patients, therefore, high amounts of cortisol may be present, or alternatively, there may be low levels of glucocorticoid receptors or even serotonin (5-HT).[21]

Disruption by damage

For the areas in the brain involved in emotion—most specifically fear— the processing and response to emotional stimuli can be significantly altered when one of these regions becomes lesioned or damaged. Damage to the cortical areas involved in the limbic system such as the cingulate cortex or frontal lobes have resulted in extreme changes in emotion.[21] Other types of damage include Klüver–Bucy syndrome and Urbach–Wiethe disease. In Klüver–Bucy syndrome, a temporal lobectomy, or removal of the temporal lobes, results in changes involving fear and aggression. Specifically, the removal of these lobes results in decreased fear, confirming its role in fear recognition and response. Bilateral damage to the medial temporal lobes, which is known as Urbach–Wiethe disease, exhibits similar symptoms of decreased fear and aggression, but also an inability to recognize emotional expressions, especially angry or fearful faces.[21]

The amygdala’s role in learned fear includes interactions with other brain regions in the neural circuit of fear. While lesions in the amygdala can inhibit its ability to recognize fearful stimuli, other areas such as the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the basolateral nuclei of the amygdala can affect the region's ability to not only become conditioned to fearful stimuli, but to eventually extinguish them. The basolateral nuclei, through receiving stimulus info, undergo synaptic changes that allow the amygdala to develop a conditioned response to fearful stimuli. Lesions in this area, therefore, have been shown to disrupt the acquisition of learned responses to fear.[21] Likewise, lesions in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (the area responsible for monitoring the amygdala) have been shown to not only slow down the speed of extinguishing a learned fear response, but also how effective or strong the extinction is. This suggests there is a pathway or circuit among the amygdala and nearby cortical areas that process emotional stimuli and influence emotional expression, all of which can be disrupted when an area becomes damaged.[20]


It is recommended that the terms distress and impairment take into account the context of the person's environment during diagnosis. The DSM-IV-TR states that if a feared stimulus, whether it be an object or a social situation, is absent entirely in an environment, a diagnosis cannot be made. An example of this situation would be an individual who has a fear of mice but lives in an area devoid of mice. Even though the concept of mice causes marked distress and impairment within the individual, because the individual does not usually encounter mice, no actual distress or impairment is ever experienced. It is recommended that proximity to, and ability to escape from, the stimulus also be considered. As the phobic person approaches a feared stimulus, anxiety levels increase, and the degree to which the person perceives they might escape from the stimulus affects the intensity of fear in instances such as riding an elevator (e.g. anxiety increases at the midway point between floors and decreases when the floor is reached and the doors open).[28]


There are various methods used to treat phobias. These methods include systematic desensitization, progressive relaxation, virtual reality, modeling, medication and hypnotherapy.


Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be beneficial by allowing the patient to challenge dysfunctional thoughts or beliefs by being mindful of their own feelings, with the aim that the patient will realize that his or her fear is irrational. CBT may be conducted in a group setting. Gradual desensitization treatment and CBT are often successful, provided the patient is willing to endure some discomfort.[29][30] In one clinical trial, 90% of patients were observed to no longer have a phobic reaction after successful CBT treatment.[30][31][32][33]

CBT is also an effective treatment for phobias in children and adolescents, and has been adapted for use with this age. One example of a CBT program targeted towards children is the Coping Cat. This treatment program can be used with children between the ages of 7 and 13 to treat social phobia. This program works to decrease negative thinking, increase problem solving and provide a functional coping outlook in the child.[34] Another CBT program was developed by Ann Marie Albano to treat social phobia in adolescents. This program has five stages: Psychoeducation, Skill Building, Problem Solving, Exposure and Generalization and Maintenance. Psychoeducation focuses on identifying and understanding symptoms. Skill Building focuses on learning cognitive restructuring, social skills and problem solving skills. Problem Solving focuses on identifying problems and using a proactive approach to solving them. Exposure involves exposing the adolescent to social situations in a hierarchical approach. Finally, Generalization and Maintenance involves practicing the skills learned.[35]

Peer-reviewed clinical trials have demonstrated that eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is effective in treating some phobias. Mainly used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, EMDR has been demonstrated as effective in easing phobia symptoms following a specific trauma, such as a fear of dogs following a dog bite.[36]

Another method used to treat patients with extreme phobias is prolonged exposure, in which the patient is exposed to the object of their fear over a long period of time. This technique is only tested when a person has overcome avoidance of, or escape from, the feared object or situation. People with slight distress from their phobias usually do not need prolonged exposure to their fear.[37]

Systematic desensitization

140930-A-DO086-644 (15454639691)
A soldier stomping his foot to put out the fire rising up his leg during military fire-phobia training

A method used in the treatment of a phobia is systematic desensitization, a process in which the patients seeking help slowly become accustomed to their phobia, and ultimately overcome it. Traditional systematic desensitization involves a person being exposed to the object they are afraid of over time, so that the fear and discomfort do not become overwhelming. This controlled exposure to the anxiety-provoking stimulus is key to the effectiveness of exposure therapy in the treatment of specific phobias. It has been shown that humor is an excellent alternative when traditional systematic desensitization is ineffective.[38] Humor systematic desensitization involves a series of treatment activities that consist of activities that elicit humor with the feared object.[38] Previously learned progressive muscle relaxation procedures can be used as the activities become more difficult in a person’s own hierarchy level. Progressive muscle relaxation helps patients relax their muscles before and during exposure to the feared object or phenomenon.

Participant modeling, in which the therapist models how the patient should respond to fears, has been proven effective for children and adolescents.[39] This encourages patients to practice the behavior and reinforces their efforts. In a manner similar to systematic desensitization, phobic patients are gradually introduced to their feared objects. The main difference between participant modeling and systematic desensitization involves observations and modeling; participant modeling encompasses a therapist modeling and observing positive behaviors over the course of gradual exposure to the feared object.[39]

Virtual reality therapy is another technique that helps phobic people confront a feared object. It uses virtual reality to generate scenes that may not have been possible or ethical in the physical world. It offers some advantages over systematic desensitization therapy. People can control the scenes and endure more exposure than they might handle in reality. Virtual reality is more realistic than simply imagining a scene—the therapy occurs in a private room and the treatment is efficient.[40]


Medications can help regulate apprehension and fear of a particular fearful object or situation. Antidepressant medications such as SSRIs or MAOIs may be helpful in some cases of phobia. SSRIs (antidepressants) act on serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain. Since serotonin impacts mood, patients may be prescribed an antidepressant. Sedatives such as benzodiazepines may also be prescribed, which can help patients relax by reducing the amount of anxiety they feel.[41] Benzodiazepines may be useful in acute treatment of severe symptoms, but the risk-benefit ratio is against their long-term use in phobic disorders.[42] This class of medication has recently been shown as effective if used with negative behaviors such as alcohol abuse.[41] Despite this positive finding, benzodiazepines are used with caution. Beta blockers are another medicinal option as they may stop the stimulating effects of adrenaline, such as sweating, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, tremors and the feeling of a pounding heart.[41] By taking beta blockers before a phobic event, these symptoms are decreased, making the event less frightening.


Hypnotherapy can be used alone and in conjunction with systematic desensitization to treat phobias.[43] Through hypnotherapy, the underlying cause of the phobia may be uncovered. The phobia may be caused by a past event that the patient does not remember, a phenomenon known as repression. The mind represses traumatic memories from the conscious mind until the person is ready to deal with them. Hypnotherapy may also eliminate the conditioned responses that occur during different situations. Patients are first placed into a hypnotic trance, an extremely relaxed state[44] in which the unconscious can be retrieved. This state makes patients more open to suggestion, which helps bring about desired change.[44] Consciously addressing old memories helps individuals understand the event and see it in a less threatening light.


Phobias are a common form of anxiety disorder, and distributions are heterogeneous by age and gender. An American study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that between 8.7 percent and 18.1 percent of Americans suffer from phobias,[45] making it the most common mental illness among women in all age groups and the second most common illness among men older than 25. Between 4 percent and 10 percent of all children experience specific phobias during their lives,[12] and social phobias occur in one percent to three percent of children and adolescents.

A Swedish study found that females have a higher incidence than males (26.5 percent for females and 12.4 percent for males).[46] Among adults, 21.2 percent of women and 10.9 percent of men have a single specific phobia, while multiple phobias occur in 5.4 percent of females and 1.5 percent of males.[46] Women are nearly four times as likely as men to have a fear of animals (12.1 percent in women and 3.3 percent in men) — a higher dimorphic than with all specific or generalized phobias or social phobias.[46] Social phobias are more common in girls than in boys,[47] while situational phobia occurs in 17.4 percent of women and 8.5 percent of men.[46]

Society and culture


The word phobia comes from the Greek: φόβος (phóbos), meaning "aversion", "fear" or "morbid fear". In popular culture, it is common for specific phobias to have names based on a Greek word for the object of the fear, plus the suffix -phobia. Creating these terms is something of a word game. Few of these terms are found in medical literature.[48] In ancient Greek mythology Phobos was the twin brother of Deimos (terror).

The word phobia may also refer to conditions other than true phobias. For example, the term hydrophobia is an old name for rabies, since an aversion to water is one of that disease's symptoms. A specific phobia to water is called aquaphobia instead. A hydrophobe is a chemical compound that repels water. Similarly, the term photophobia usually refers to a physical complaint (aversion to light due to inflamed eyes or excessively dilated pupils), rather than an irrational fear of light.

Non-medical use

A number of terms with the suffix -phobia are used non-clinically to imply irrational fears. Examples include:

  • Chemophobia – Negative attitudes and mistrust towards chemistry and synthetic chemicals.
  • Xenophobia – Fear or dislike of strangers or the unknown, sometimes used to describe nationalistic political beliefs and movements.
  • Homophobia – Negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

Usually these kinds of "phobias" are described as fear, dislike, disapproval, prejudice, hatred, discrimination or hostility towards the object of the "phobia".[49]


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  42. ^ Stein, Dan J. (16 February 2004). "Specific Phobia". Clinical Manual of Anxiety Disorders (1st ed.). USA: American Psychiatric Press Inc. p. 53. ISBN 978-1-58562-076-0. Fears are common in children and adolescents. However, for some youth, these fears persist and develop into specific phobias. A specific phobia is an intense, enduring fear of an identifiable object or situation that may lead to panic symptoms, distress, and avoidance (e.g., fears of dogs, snakes, storms, heights, costumed characters, the dark, and similar objects or situations). Moreover, phobias can affect a youngster's quality of life by interfering with school, family, friends, and free-time. It is estimated that 5% to 10% of youth will develop a phobia before reaching the age of 16.
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Acrophobia is an extreme or irrational fear or phobia of heights, especially when one is not particularly high up. It belongs to a category of specific phobias, called space and motion discomfort, that share both similar causes and options for treatment.

Most people experience a degree of natural fear when exposed to heights, known as the fear of falling. On the other hand, those who have little fear of such exposure are said to have a head for heights. A head for heights is advantageous for those hiking or climbing in mountainous terrain and also in certain jobs such as steeplejacks or wind turbine mechanics. Some people may also be afraid of the high wind, as an addition of falling. This is actually known as added ancraophobia.

People with acrophobia can experience a panic attack in high places and become too agitated to get themselves down safely. Approximately 2–5% of the general population has acrophobia, with twice as many women affected as men. The term is from the Greek: ἄκρον, ákron, meaning "peak, summit, edge" and φόβος, phóbos, "fear".


Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by symptoms of anxiety in situations where the person perceives their environment to be unsafe with no easy way to escape. These situations can include open spaces, public transit, shopping centers, or simply being outside their home. Being in these situations may result in a panic attack. The symptoms occur nearly every time the situation is encountered and last for more than six months. Those affected will go to great lengths to avoid these situations. In severe cases people may become completely unable to leave their homes.Agoraphobia is believed to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The condition often runs in families, and stressful or traumatic events such as the death of a parent or being attacked may be a trigger. In the DSM-5 agoraphobia is classified as a phobia along with specific phobias and social phobia. Other conditions that can produce similar symptoms include separation anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and major depressive disorder. Those affected are at higher risk of depression and substance use disorder.Without treatment it is uncommon for agoraphobia to resolve. Treatment is typically with a type of counselling called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT results in resolution for about half of people. Agoraphobia affects about 1.7% of adults. Women are affected about twice as often as men. The condition often begins in early adulthood and becomes less common in old age. It is rare in children. The term "agoraphobia" is from Greek ἀγορά, agorá, meaning a "public square" and -φοβία, -phobia, meaning "fear".


Ailurophobia is a type of specific phobia: the persistent, irrational fear of cats.

The name comes from the Greek αἴλουρος (ailouros), 'cat' and φόβος (phóbos), 'fear'. Other names include felinophobia, elurophobia, and cat phobia.

Blood phobia

Blood phobia (also AE: hemophobia or BE: haemophobia) is extreme and irrational fear of blood, a type of specific phobia. Severe cases of this fear can cause physical reactions that are uncommon in most other fears, specifically vasovagal syncope (fainting). Similar reactions can also occur with trypanophobia and traumatophobia. For this reason, these phobias are categorized as "blood-injection-injury phobia" by the DSM-IV. Some early texts refer to this category as "blood-injury-illness phobia."

Fear of children

Fear of children, occationally called pedophobia, is fear triggered by the presence or thinking of children or infants. It is an emotional state of fear, disdain, aversion, or prejudice toward teenagers and other youths, or children, or both. These states provide the impetus for social and political opposition to youth equity and for insufficient concern for the rights and needs of children. Pedophobia is in some usages identical to ephebiphobia.The fear of children has been diagnosed and treated by psychiatrists, with studies examining the effects of multiple forms of treatment. Studies have identified the fear of children as a factor affecting biological conception in humans.

Fear of fish

Fear of fish or ichthyophobia ranges from cultural phenomena such as fear of eating fish, fear of touching raw fish, or fear of dead fish, up to irrational fear (specific phobia). Galeophobia is the fear specifically of sharks.

Fear of flying

Fear of flying is a fear of being on an aeroplane (airplane), or other flying vehicle, such as a helicopter, while in flight. It is also referred to as flying anxiety, flying phobia, flight phobia, aviophobia or aerophobia (although the last also means a fear of drafts or of fresh air).Acute anxiety caused by flying can be treated with anti-anxiety medication. The condition can be treated with exposure therapy, which works better when combined with cognitive behavioral therapy.


Fever, also known as pyrexia and febrile response, is defined as having a temperature above the normal range due to an increase in the body's temperature set point. There is not a single agreed-upon upper limit for normal temperature with sources using values between 37.5 and 38.3 °C (99.5 and 100.9 °F). The increase in set point triggers increased muscle contractions and causes a feeling of cold. This results in greater heat production and efforts to conserve heat. When the set point temperature returns to normal, a person feels hot, becomes flushed, and may begin to sweat. Rarely a fever may trigger a febrile seizure. This is more common in young children. Fevers do not typically go higher than 41 to 42 °C (105.8 to 107.6 °F).A fever can be caused by many medical conditions ranging from non serious to life threatening. This includes viral, bacterial and parasitic infections such as the common cold, urinary tract infections, meningitis, malaria and appendicitis among others. Non-infectious causes include vasculitis, deep vein thrombosis, side effects of medication, and cancer among others. It differs from hyperthermia, in that hyperthermia is an increase in body temperature over the temperature set point, due to either too much heat production or not enough heat loss.Treatment to reduce fever is generally not required. Treatment of associated pain and inflammation, however, may be useful and help a person rest. Medications such as ibuprofen or paracetamol (acetaminophen) may help with this as well as lower temperature. Measures such as putting a cool damp cloth on the forehead and having a slightly warm bath are not useful and may simply make a person more uncomfortable. Children younger than three months require medical attention, as might people with serious medical problems such as a compromised immune system or people with other symptoms. Hyperthermia does require treatment.Fever is one of the most common medical signs. It is part of about 30% of healthcare visits by children and occurs in up to 75% of adults who are seriously sick. While fever is a useful defense mechanism, treating fever does not appear to worsen outcomes. Fever is viewed with greater concern by parents and healthcare professionals than it usually deserves, a phenomenon known as fever phobia.

Homer's Phobia

"Homer's Phobia" is the fifteenth episode in the eighth season of the American animated television series The Simpsons. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on February 16, 1997. In the episode, Homer dissociates himself from new family friend John after discovering that John is gay. Homer fears that John will have a negative influence on his son Bart and decides to ensure Bart's heterosexuality by taking him hunting.

It was the first episode written by Ron Hauge and was directed by Mike B. Anderson. George Meyer pitched "Bart the homo" as an initial idea for an episode while show runners Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein were planning an episode involving Lisa "discovering the joys of campy things". Oakley and Weinstein combined the two ideas and they eventually became "Homer's Phobia". Fox censors originally found the episode unsuitable for broadcast because of its controversial subject matter, but this decision was reversed after a turnover in the Fox staff. Filmmaker John Waters guest-starred, providing the voice of the new character, John.

"Homer's Phobia" was the show's first episode to revolve entirely around gay themes and received a positive critical response both for its humor and anti-homophobia message. It won four awards, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or Less) and a GLAAD Media Award for "Outstanding TV – Individual Episode".

List of phobias

The English suffixes -phobia, -phobic, -phobe (from Greek φόβος phobos, "fear") occur in technical usage in psychiatry to construct words that describe irrational, abnormal, unwarranted, persistent, or disabling fear as a mental disorder (e.g. agoraphobia), in chemistry to describe chemical aversions (e.g. hydrophobic), in biology to describe organisms that dislike certain conditions (e.g. acidophobia), and in medicine to describe hypersensitivity to a stimulus, usually sensory (e.g. photophobia). In common usage, they also form words that describe dislike or hatred of a particular thing or subject (e.g. homophobia). The suffix is antonymic to -phil-.

For more information on the psychiatric side, including how psychiatry groups phobias such as agoraphobia, social phobia, or simple phobia, see phobia. The following lists include words ending in -phobia, and include fears that have acquired names. In some cases, the naming of phobias has become a word game, of notable example being a 1998 humorous article published by BBC News. In some cases, a word ending in -phobia may have an antonym with the suffix -phil-, e.g. Germanophobe/Germanophile.

A large number of -phobia lists circulate on the Internet, with words collected from indiscriminate sources, often copying each other. Also, a number of psychiatric websites exist that at the first glance cover a huge number of phobias, but in fact use a standard text to fit any phobia and reuse it for all unusual phobias by merely changing the name. Sometimes it leads to bizarre results, such as suggestions to cure "prostitute phobia". Such practice is known as content spamming and is used to attract search engines.

An article published in 1897 in American Journal of Psychology noted "the absurd tendency to give Greek names to objects feared (which, as Arndt says, would give us such terms as klopsophobia – fear of thieves, triakaidekaphobia – fear of the number 13....".

Number of the Beast

The Number of the Beast (Greek: Ἀριθμὸς τοῦ θηρίου, Arithmos tou Thēriou) is a term in the Book of Revelation, of the New Testament, that is associated with the Beast of Revelation in chapter 13. In most manuscripts of the New Testament and in English translations of the Bible, the number of the beast is 666. Papyrus 115 (which is the oldest preserved manuscript of the Revelation as of 2017), as well as other ancient sources like Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, give the Number of the Beast as 616 (χιϛ), not 666; critical editions of the Greek text, such as the Novum Testamentum Graece, note 616 as a variant.


Photophobia is a symptom of abnormal intolerance to visual perception of light. As a medical symptom, photophobia is not a morbid fear or phobia, but an experience of discomfort or pain to the eyes due to light exposure or by presence of actual physical sensitivity of the eyes, though the term is sometimes additionally applied to abnormal or irrational fear of light such as heliophobia. The term photophobia comes from the Greek φῶς (phōs), meaning "light", and φόβος (phóbos), meaning "fear". Photophobia is a common symptom of visual snow.

Relapse Records

Relapse Records is an American independent record label based in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. It was founded by Matthew F. Jacobson in 1990. The label features a large number of grindcore, death metal, and sludge metal artists.

Social anxiety

Social anxiety is nervousness in social situations. Some disorders associated with the social anxiety spectrum include anxiety disorders, mood disorders, autism, eating disorders, and substance use disorders. Individuals higher in social anxiety avert their gazes, show fewer facial expressions, and show difficulty with initiating and maintaining conversation. Trait social anxiety, the stable tendency to experience this nervousness, can be distinguished from state anxiety, the momentary response to a particular social stimulus. Nearly 90% of individuals report feeling symptoms of social anxiety (e.g. shyness) at some point in their lives. Half of the individuals with any social fears meet criteria for social anxiety disorder. The function of social anxiety is to increase arousal and attention to social interactions, inhibit unwanted social behavior, and motivate preparation for future social situations.

Social anxiety disorder

Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia, is an anxiety disorder characterized by a significant amount of fear in one or more social situations, causing considerable distress and impaired ability to function in at least some parts of daily life. These fears can be triggered by perceived or actual scrutiny from others. Individuals with social anxiety disorder fear negative evaluation from other people.

Physical symptoms often include excessive blushing, excess sweating, trembling, palpitations, and nausea. Stammering may be present, along with rapid speech. Panic attacks can also occur under intense fear and discomfort. Some sufferers may use alcohol or other drugs to reduce fears and inhibitions at social events. It is common for sufferers of social phobia to self-medicate in this fashion, especially if they are undiagnosed, untreated, or both; this can lead to alcoholism, eating disorders or other kinds of substance abuse. SAD is sometimes referred to as an illness of lost opportunities where "individuals make major life choices to accommodate their illness". According to ICD-10 guidelines, the main diagnostic criteria of social phobia are fear of being the focus of attention, or fear of behaving in a way that will be embarrassing or humiliating, avoidance and anxiety symptoms. Standardized rating scales can be used to screen for social anxiety disorder and measure the severity of anxiety.

The first line treatment for social anxiety disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Medications such as SSRIs are effective for social phobia especially paroxetine. CBT is effective in treating this disorder, whether delivered individually or in a group setting. The cognitive and behavioral components seek to change thought patterns and physical reactions to anxiety-inducing situations. The attention given to social anxiety disorder has significantly increased since 1999 with the approval and marketing of drugs for its treatment. Prescribed medications include several classes of antidepressants: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Other commonly used medications include beta blockers and benzodiazepines.

Specific phobia

A specific phobia is any kind of anxiety disorder that amounts to an unreasonable or irrational fear related to exposure to specific objects or situations. As a result, the affected person tends to avoid contact with the objects or situations and, in severe cases, any mention or depiction of them. The fear can, in fact, be disabling to their daily lives.The fear or anxiety may be triggered both by the presence and the anticipation of the specific object or situation. A person who encounters that of which they are phobic will often show signs of fear or express discomfort. In some cases, it can result in a panic attack. In most adults, the person may logically know the fear is unreasonable but still find it difficult to control the anxiety. Thus, this condition may significantly impair the person's functioning and even physical health.

Specific phobia affects up to 12% of people at some point in their life.

Specific social phobia

Mental health professionals often distinguish between generalized social phobia and specific social phobia. People with generalized social phobia have great distress in a wide range of social situations. Those with specific social phobia may experience anxiety only in a few situations. The term "specific social phobia" may also refer to specific forms of non-clinical social anxiety.

The most common symptoms of specific social phobia are glossophobia, the fear of public speaking and the fear of performance, known as stage fright. Other examples of specific social phobia include fears of intimacy or sexual encounters, using public restrooms (paruresis), attending social gatherings, and dealing with authority figures.

Specific social phobia may be classified into performance fears and interaction fears, i.e., fears of acting in a social setting and interacting with other people, respectively. The cause of social phobia is not definite.Symptoms of social phobia can occur in late adolescence when youths highly value the impressions they give off to their peers. Clinical experience of the prognosis of social phobia shows that it can prolong for many years but that it improves by mid life.


Trypophobia is an aversion to the sight of irregular patterns or clusters of small holes, or bumps. It is not officially recognized as a mental disorder, but may fall under the broad category of specific phobia if fear is involved and the fear is excessive and distressing. People may express only disgust or both fear and disgust to trypophobic imagery.The understanding of trypophobia is limited. Although few studies have been done on trypophobia, researchers hypothesize that it is the result of a biological revulsion that associates trypophobic shapes with danger or disease, and may therefore have an evolutionary basis. Exposure therapy, which has been used to treat phobias, has been proposed as a treatment.The term trypophobia is believed to have been coined by a participant in an online forum in 2005. Since then, the topic of trypophobia has become popular on social media.

Workplace phobia

Workplace phobia is an anxiety disorder and specific phobia associated with workspace.

Mental and behavioral disorders (F00–F99 & 290–319)

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