RadioMD: Staying Well

How to Approach Your Phobia

June 9, 20146 min
Currently, there are 19 million, or 6.8 percent of people who are dealing with a specific phobia.It's not uncommon to have several fears throughout your life. When you were a child it might have been a fear of clowns, as you aged the fear could have switched to a fear of delivering speeches in your classes. As an adult, these fears could have changed to a fear of losing your job.However, there is a huge difference between having a fear and a phobia. A phobia is defined as having a persistent, irrational fear of a certain object, animal, situation or activity that in reality poses no actual danger.According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, phobias typically begin in childhood with the median age of onset for a phobia is seven. There are 19 million, or 6.8 percent of people who are dealing with a specific phobia.Are there any symptoms or signs to look for in a loved one that might be suffering from a phobia?Certain areas of your brain are hyperactive when you have a phobia and it can be easily picked up on. For example, when you're faced with that object or situation, your anxiety and fear of that specific object or situation intensifies. This could cause you to sweat excessively, have problems controlling your muscles or actions and can have a fast heart rate.Can you treat and recover from your phobia?Medical director of UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Robert Holbert joins Melanie Cole, MS to discuss the difference between fear and phobia, how to approach your phobia and when to seek professional help for a phobia.

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