A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, defined by a persistent fear of an object or situation. The phobia typically results in a rapid onset of fear and is present for more than six months. The affected person will go to great lengths to avoid the situation or object, typically to a degree greater than the actual danger posed. If the feared object or situation cannot be avoided, the affected person will have significant distress. With blood or injury phobia, fainting may occur. Agoraphobia is often associated with panic attacks. Usually a person has phobias to a number of objects or situations.
Phobias can be divided into specific phobias, social phobia, and agoraphobia. Types of specific phobias include to certain animals, natural environment situations, blood or injury, and specific situations. The most common are fear of spiders, fear of snakes, and fear of heights. Occasionally they are triggered by a negative experience with the object or situation. Social phobia is when the situation is feared as the person is worried about others judging them. Agoraphobia is when fear of a situation occurs because it is felt that escape would not be possible.
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