Thursday, April 30, 2009

Where do phobias come from?

Many people remember clearly the moment their phobia started. A painful, frightening, or embarrassing experience in youth is often to blame. For example, Susan remembers how, at age 8, her neighborhood friends thought it would be fun to roll her up in a carpet and send her spinning down the driveway. Since then, she has a phobia related to small, close-in spaces and has experienced many anxiety attacks in such situations. For another example, Malik, his phobia started in adulthood while traveling a small commercial airplane. The low flight was especially bumpy and panic set in when she looked down and saw a man barbecuing in his yard below. He was sure the plan was flying too low and would soon crash. During the rest of the flight, Malik lay curled up very tight on the floor. His heart rate and nausea persisted for a log time after deplaning. Phobias would be of much less consequence in our lives if they rared their painful heads only when specific stimuli were present. For example, a person who fears clowns would avoid phobic suffering simply by staying away from clowns(H.B. Arthur, M.D. James 2005).

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