What is Phobia? Types, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

We often hear the term phobia with various prefixes attached to it. According to an estimate, approximately more than 19 million people have some types of phobias in the US alone. Today, we’ll discuss what is phobia; its different types, symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Phobia? 

Phobia is an anxiety mental disorder that makes a person feel a high level of fear about objects, places, living creatures, situations, circumstances, and others. The imaginary threat in their mind is more dangerous than the real threat caused by any terror event. If a person has a phobia, then s/he would live a life avoiding those events that are perceived to be dangerous.

If a person has a phobia, then you can diagnose this mental disorder. The diagnosed person feels a high level of stress and anxiety when coming across the source of their phobia. It could result in the form panic attack and stop the person to perform routine chores normally.

Types of Phobia 

Phobia is an irrational and exaggerated form of fear. People usually use the terms to describe fear due to the triggering points. APA (American Psychiatric Association) has divided phobia into three main types, and they’re as follows;

  • Specific Phobia: it is an irrational and illogical form of intense fear because of any specific triggering event like snakes. But you can recognize those specific causes and they don’t occur in routine life.
  • Social Phobia: it happens when a person fears that the other would judge or leave him/her in the social event or the notion of being embarrassed or humiliated publically. It’s completely different from shyness where you hesitate or feel reserved for a large crowd and public gathering.
  • Agoraphobia: it happens in certain situations and circumstances where you can’t leave or escape like outside of your house or lift, and causes an intense panic attack. People usually misunderstand the fear of transport, public spaces, small and confined spaces, or elevator with agoraphobia.

Complex Phobia

The complex phobia could impact the mental health and well-being of a person more than the specific phobia. For instance, a person has agoraphobia along with a number of other connected phobias like monophobia, fear of being alone, or claustrophobia where you fear small enclosed spaces.

Some of the other main types of phobias are as follows;

  • Claustrophobia: closed and tight spaces make you fearful like car, elevator, etc
  • Aviophobia: flying on a plane make you scared
  • Arachnophobia: spiders scare you
  • Acrophobia: height makes you fearful like the higher floor of the building, bridges, mountains, etc. It results in the form of losing consciousness, passing out, sweating, dizziness, and vertigo
  • Cynophobia: dogs scare you
  • Glossophobia: public speaking makes you fearful, and it also goes by the name of performance anxiety. It causes stress when you overly think of facing the crowd.
  • Ophidiophobia: snakes make your fearful
  • Hemophobia: any physical injury or blood makes you fearful, such homophobic people faint or lose consciousness when they see their own blood or someone’s else’s
  • Tunnel phobia: tunnels scare you
  • Escalaphobia: escalators fear you
  • Dentophobia: dental procedure or the dentist makes you fearful, it usually happens when you have a bad experience with the dentist. It could be dangerous when you avoid going to the dentist in case of an emergency.
  • Aquaphobia: water scares you
  • Zoophobia: animals make you afraid
  • Hypochondria: the thought of sickness and illness scare you
  • Nyctophobia: darkness and nighttime makes you fearful, it’s usually common among children, if it doesn’t go away when you grow up, then it falls under the category of phobia
  • Erythrophobia: blushing scares you
  • Emetophobia: vomiting makes you fearful

The abovementioned are some of the main types of specific phobias. It’s important to keep in mind that people develop phobias because of anything. However, social and cultural changes are creating various types of phobias. For instance, nomophobia means when a person doesn’t have a cell phone or computer, then it makes him/her fear.

Symptoms of Phobia 

Some of the main symptoms of phobias when a person develops it are as follows;

  • Recognizing the fact that your fear is unreasonable, exaggerated, irrational, and you won’t have control over it
  • When the triggering points occur, then it disturbs your routine functions
  • The feelings compel you that you should avoid fear at all costs
  • Uncontrollable stress and anxiety along with fear

Along with stress, fear, stress, and anxiety; some of the main physical symptoms are as follows;

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Dry mouth
  • Needles and pins
  • Butterflies in the stomach
  • Tightness and pain in the chest
  • Sensation of choking
  • Chills and hot flushes
  • Trembling
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Sweating

Even thinking about the phobias could make you feel anxious and stressed. The parent should notice the symptoms in young children like hiding behind the legs of parents, clinginess, and over-crying. Such symptoms show their stress level.

Causes of Phobia 

Phobias could occur due to environmental and genetic factors. Near-death experiences like drowning, or exposure to insect bites, animals, height, and confined spaces could become the source of trigger points. If children have lived with the phobias parents; then they would develop a phobias in them.

People develop phobias after going through a traumatic incident, depression, addiction, prevailing health condition over time, or substance abuse. The phobias patients also develop the symptoms of schizophrenia; and they exhibit disorganized symptoms like paranoia, delusion, and hallucination (auditory and visual). Usually, phobias patients pass the reality test.

Treatment of Phobia 

The treatment of phobias could be medication or therapy or both in combination depending on the severity of the situation. Some of the main treatments of phobias are as follows;

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)

CBT is a very common treatment for phobias patients, where you expose the patients to the fear-triggering events in a controlled environment under the supervision of the therapist. The focus of the therapist is to change the definition of negative reactions, thoughts, and beliefs to the triggering points.


The doctors usually suggest anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications calm down physical and emotional symptoms.

Conclusion: What is Phobia? Types, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is phobia; its types, symptoms, causes, and treatment; we’ve realized that phobias could have adverse effects if you don’t treat it on time. If you feel the growing symptoms are relevant to causes, then you should consult the therapist for treatment.