Different Types of Phobias

Key Difference:  A phobia is an irrational and overwhelming fear of a living or non-living entity which can be an object, situation, feeling, place or animal. They are broadly divided into two categories – simple and complex phobias.

Phobia is placed in the category of anxiety disorder. It creates an irrational fear of any specific living or non-living entity. A person feels the danger in coming close to that entity. Sometimes, the mere thought of that entity can cause panic in the person. It can affect anyone, irrespective of the age or sex. It includes symptoms like sweating, increased heart rate, trembling, nausea, dizziness, upset stomach, etc. There are numerous types of phobias.

Phobias can be broadly divided into two categories –Simple or specific phobias and Complex Phobias:

Simple or Specific Phobias – These phobias deal with a particular entity (animal, object, situation or activity). These types of phobias may become less prevalent with years. Some of the common simple phobias are –

Animal type – It is also known as zoophobia, when a person develops an irrational fear of an animal. It includes phobias like Apiphobia (fear of bees), Orithophobia (fear of birds), cynophobia(fear of dogs), musiphobia (fear of mice) and many more.

Natural environment type – It deals with phobias arising due to specific events or situation which occur in nature. It includes phobias like astraphobia (fear of storms), acrophobia (fear of heights) and many more.

Blood/ injection/injury type – It includes the fear arising due to invasive medical procedures. It may also arise after looking at blood or injury. In this type of phobia the chances of fainting are very strong. It also shows symptoms like dizziness and nausea.

Situational type Phobia – This occurs due to fear of a particular situation like confined spaces (claustrophobia), open spaces, heights, flying, etc. It causes a very intense physical and emotional reaction. Panic attack only occurs at the context of phobic object or situation.

Complex Phobias – These phobias tend to be more immobilizing in comparison to simple phobias. They occur due to the fear which resides deep in heart. Unlike specific phobias, complex phobias include several types. Some of the common complex phobias are –

Agrophobia – It may not simply be seen as fear of certain settings or situation which leaves the patient with feelings like trapped, helpless, panic, embarrassed and fear. Person feels anxious in places or situation where escaping can be difficult if panic attack occurs. However, it is more complex that that as it often occurs with panic disorder. However, 'agoraphobic without a history of panic disorder' remains to be a rare form of this type of phobia. This can be associated with the fear of going out in public.

Social Phobia – In this type of phobias, a person fears to face a social or performance situation. They become nervous and act in a way which further leads to embarrassment. A person may fear of speaking in public or attending a party. It is the prominent fear of embarrassing oneself or being disgraced in public. These phobias are also known as Social Anxiety Disorder or SAD. Social phobia is not that rare as specific phobia.

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