According to the American Psychiatric Association, a phobia is an irrational and excessive fear of an object or situation. In most cases, the phobia involves a sense of endangerment or a fear of harm.

For example, those with agoraphobia fear being trapped in an inescapable place or situation.

Symptoms of Phobias

Phobic symptoms can occur through exposure to the feared object or situation, or sometimes merely through thinking about the feared object.

Typical symptoms associated with phobias include:

  • Dizziness, trembling, and increased heart rate
  • Breathlessness
  • Nausea
  • A sense of unreality
  • Fear of dying
  • Preoccupation with the feared object

In some cases, these symptoms may escalate into a full-scale anxiety attack. As a consequence of these symptoms, some individuals begin to isolate themselves, leading to severe difficulties with functioning in daily life and with maintaining relationships. In some cases, the person may seek out medical care due to a constant concern with imagined illnesses or imminent death. Globally, there are two hundred types of phobias identified and Sri Lanka has forty plus of them.

Phobias could be treated by Counseling and Psychotherapy.