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What is a phobia?

Do you have intense fears that you can’t control? 
Does your phobia keep you from doing things you normally enjoy?

A phobia is an overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal. Phobias are more intense than fears. They develop when someone has an exaggerated or irrational sense of danger about a situation or object


Are phobias normal?

Having a phobia is much more than being a bit scared by that big spider that lurks beneath your sink or feeling nervous about taking a flight. A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder that can cause real distress and at its worst affect how you live your day-to-day life. Phobias are the most common type of anxiety disorder. In the UK, an estimated 10 million people have phobias.


What are the different types of phobias?

There are lots of different phobias someone can develop. Different triggers can cause different phobias. Here are some examples of some of the more common phobias:


Agoraphobia is the intense fear of being stuck in a situation where it’s difficult to leave. If you have agoraphobia, you might avoid places that might make you feel trapped, scared, or embarrassed.

Social phobia

Social phobia is a fear caused by social situations where you feel you might be judged by others.

Some situations that can cause stress include starting conversations with unfamiliar people, going to an event or a workplace or making eye contact with someone you don’t know.


Specific phobias

A specific phobia is when a phobia relates to a particular object or situation. This might include a fear of animals, weather, an activity like flying or a fear of enclosed spaces or heights.

How to deal with a phobia

If you suffer from a phobia, you might find there is an overpowering need to avoid anything that triggers anxiety when it comes to the thing you feel scared of. Avoiding triggers may seem like the best option for your anxiety but in the long run it is much better for your mental health to address your phobia/s and seek professional help.

Speak to your local mental health organisation or get in touch with your GP for more support.


Tools and resources to help with phobias

  • UpbeatLiverpool

  • PSS anxiety management booklet

  • Paddy’s relaxation video, etc

  • YouTube videos


Read our latest posts about phobias

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