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10 Most Common Phobias

Phobias are an exceptionally common occurrence that aren’t always recognized as what they are because the term simply seems too official. The odds are, though, that everybody will have a phobia at one point or another in their lives, if not throughout their entire lives. Among the most common phobias are the following ten:

Arachnophobia, or a fear of spiders, is one of the 10 most common phobias.

Arachnophobia, or a fear of spiders, is one of the 10 most common phobias.

Arachnophobia – Arachnophobia is an exceptionally strong and common fear of spiders. Even among spiders that could cause absolutely no harm, there is a strong fear of their presence.

Agoraphobia – Agoraphobia is often recognized as being a fear of open spaces, but it is not necessarily just a fear of being outside in ea field, but is a fear of being outside of a safe and sheltered place, or even being immersed in a crowded place. This phobia often causes panic attacks as the reaction to its occurrence.

Claustrophobia – Claustrophobia is the exact opposite phobia of agoraphobia. With this fear, the person is overwhelmingly terrified of being inside enclosed or confined spaces. These spaces can include trains, busses, cars, elevators, airplanes, storage rooms, and other areas that are closed-in.

Social Phobia – Social phobia typically begins as social anxiety where there is discomfort with social interactions. However, this can grow to the point where interactions with most other people can be overwhelming enough to cause tremendous fear or even panic attacks. The most common manifestation of this phobia is problems with public speaking (which can actually become a unique phobia in itself) and of interviews.

Acrophobia – Acrophobia is a fear of being high up, or of heights themselves. This can include being on a balcony, looking out a high window, or being at the edge of a cliff. It doesn’t mean that the person needs to be very high up, just that there is a drop.

Aquaphobia – Aquaphobia is a fear of water and an associated fear of drowning within that water. Two percent of all people are estimated to have this fear.

Aviophobia – Aviophobia is a fear of flying. It occurs regardless of the fact that it is among the safest forms of transportation. Typically it occurs in conjunction with other phobias such as claustrophobia or the fear of not being in control.

Dental Phobia – Dental phobia is rampant throughout the Western world, with an estimated fifteen percent of people being afraid of the dentist for the fear of needles, drills, white coats, or other aspects of the experience.

Fear of Commitment – The fear of commitment either socially or with other aspects of a person’s life is often associated with other fears, such as that of rejection. It leads to the avoidance of long-term relationships and of continued situations such as a career.

Mysophobia – Mysophobia often manifests as an obsessive compulsive disorder as it is a fear of germs and leads people to behave in an extreme way to try to eliminate those germs – such as through repeated washing of hands and avoiding things that are viewed to be unclean, sometimes including other people.

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Understanding Selective Mutism

When children persistently fail to talk within specific situations for over a month, it may be diagnosed as the psychiatric disorder called selective mutism. Though the kids with selective mutism are able to speak and understand language, they will typically speak only with their parents and a few individuals. However, there may be specific family members, friends, or other people with whom they simply will not speak. In the majority of cases, these children will not speak while they are in social situations such as while they’re at school.

Selective Mutism

Other than their lack of speech, children with selective mutism will generally function quite normally.

Other than their lack of speech, children with selective mutism will generally function quite normally. This being said, there are some who have additional symptoms of mental or emotional disorders as well. Typically speaking, the majority of kids who have selective mutism will still learn all of their school lessons and age-appropriate skills, just as their class peers will.

The current belief surrounding selective mutism is that it is linked to circumstances of extreme anxiety, social anxiety, and/or shyness. Though there are many different elements to which selective mutism may be linked, the precise cause of the condition has yet to be determined.

Though they do not communicate through speech, children who suffer from selective mutism will still communicate with others around them by using hand gestures, nodding, shaking their heads, pointing, or by simply remaining completely still and expressionless until the other person is able to guess what it is the child is trying to say.

It is important to recognize that a child with selective mutism is not simply being difficult. In fact, many have shown strong desires for speaking within the situations that they are currently mute, but they find themselves simply unable to do so due to their shyness, anxiety, fear, or a feeling of being embarrassed. For this reason, many will still participate in typical activities for children their age, only they will do so non-verbally.

It is not normally until the child is old enough to go to school that the symptoms of selective mutism will generally appear. At first, these children are just seen as being quite shy and that the withdrawn behaviors will simply pass over time when the child becomes more comfortable in the situation and outgrows the phase. If the selective mutism is diagnosed, it usually won’t occur until it has already existed for at least two years, when the habits of non-verbal living will have become a regular part of the way the child experiences his or her world. It becomes increasingly hard to change the behaviors of the children with the amount of time that passes without verbalization.

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Social Anxiety Disorder

Social anxiety disorder is also known as social phobia. You may not know many people with this condition because they often avoid social situations or do not leave the house unless absolutely necessary. Those with this condition are extremely anxious in social situations and avoid them rather than deal with the pain that comes with these interactions. At its most basic, this is a fear of being judged and teased (even ridiculed) during public and social interactions. Also, a person with social anxiety may have a fear of having a panic attack in a public place, also known as agoraphobia.

Those without social anxiety disorder may experience fear in new social situations from time to time. This is quite normal and is built in to put us at our best. Some people are just born shy, but they do learn to overcome that and attend functions that make them uneasy. However, for others, the fear is so overwhelming that they overcome this by avoidance. This severely limits quality of life and results in loneliness and anxiety. Sometimes, social phobia leads to panic disorder when someone must venture out where they are uncomfortable.

Everyone worries about what new people will think of them. However, those with social anxiety disorder worry about things obsessively. They may think that everyone is staring at their nose, deeming it huge and unsightly when in reality there is nothing wrong with their nose and no one is paying them any mind. They may think they chew food strangely and will not eat in front of anyone. Someone without social anxiety may check their teeth after eating to be sure no food is stuck there, but those with this condition are sure they always have something there and everyone is laughing at them when they are not looking.

They symptoms of this disorder may mimic someone who is simply shy by nature. A person may think everything they say is stupid, so they will not partake in any conversation. They will be quiet, blush very easily, and may stammer quite often when they do attempt to speak to someone they do not know very well. Those with social phobia often rehearse what they are going to say or what they are going to do before they encounter a situation they can not avoid. They may practice walking because they feel they look funny, or spend hours obsessing about what to wear.

There are physical sensations that come with social anxiety disorder. These are shaking of the hands and excessive sweating when confronted with social situations. Those with this condition may have extreme bouts of diarrhea when they think about interactions with others. They may also have confusion and racing thoughts, along with a racing heart beat and shortness of breath. They may have panic attacks and develop severe depression as well.

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Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are many types of anxiety disorders out there that affect millions of Americans each day. At times, worry is natural, but when it becomes overwhelming and affects how someone lives each day, it becomes a medical condition called anxiety. There are different types of anxiety disorders with different symptoms and problems, and each type may be treated differently. If you are suffering from any of these conditions, it is important to see a doctor, get treatment, and regain your life. Once you get relief, you will be surprised when looking back and you see how much anxiety was ruling your life.

Chronic or generalized anxiety disorder are somewhat similar in that they can be overwhelming and are usually dealt with on a daily basis. This disorder can severely limit life and can interfere with work and relationships. A person with chronic anxiety is anxious about just about anything and everything. They are prone to excessive worry about things that are real problems, but the severity is greatly exaggerated in their mind. They may also worry about things that are not really problems – but they seem very real to the person with this condition.

Social anxiety disorder is a bit different, but the body can react in the same way. Those with this condition have anxiety in relation to relating to others in social and work environments. In some cases, the social anxiety is so bad that the person with the condition becomes agoraphobic and will not leave the house. They fear that people are judging and making fun of them no matter where they go or what they are doing or that they are going to do something to make a fool of themselves. These thoughts are greatly exaggerated, but they can lead to panic and fear. Most choose to avoid people rather than deal with the symptoms that occur when they go out in public.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder you may associate with veterans who have returned from war, but it is also something that anyone who has gone through a traumatic event can develop. This happens when someone has gone through a severe physical or emotional trauma like a car accident, death of a child, or anything else that causes a person to develop severe anxiety. Those with this condition often have anxiety in relation to the event, and any small trigger that reminds them of what happened. This can be severely debilitating.

Panic disorder can stand alone but may also be a part of any of the conditions listed above. This disorder often leads to a person being prone to panic attacks when confronted with certain situations that cause anxiety. They may have these in public on occasion, and the fear of doing that again can lead to even more attacks. Though panic attacks are generally non-harmful, the physical sensations can lead a person to believe they are having a heart attack or other serious medical problem. The symptoms of a panic attack are scary. A person may believe they can not breathe, they can shake uncontrollably, and they feel sheer terror. They may also have numbness in the extremities, feel hot or cold, and have chest pain.

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