A phobia is an extreme fear of something that is not a real danger. We all live with fears, such as fear of an angry dog running toward you. It is normal to feel fear at the moment that you face real danger. But people with phobias have fears that interfere with their daily lives. They usually know that their fears are not based on real threats, but they feel that they are not able to control the fears.
There are different types of phobias. Fear of being closed in a small space and fear of flying in an airplane are common phobias. You might be afraid of spiders, or fear being struck by lightning, or drowning. Fear of high places is another common phobia. These phobias can cause anxiety, panic, trembling, and a rapid heartbeat. Fear might make you act in a way that is not really needed, such as never leaving home or not climbing stairs. Just thinking about what you fear might make you feel ill.
Many people who finish treatment of phobias are able to overcome their fears over time. If your fear gets in the way of your daily activities, your doctor may prescribe medicine and behaviour therapy.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: December 7, 2017
Patrice Burgess, MD, FAAFP - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Christine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral Health
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