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Most phobias technically fall under the category of

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Unformatted text preview: dread, but they usually remain comfortable as long as they avoid it or thoughts about it. We all have our areas of special fear, and it is normal for some things to upset us more than other things. How do such common fears differ from phobias? DSM-IV-TR 12/10/09 11:16:13 AM Anxiety Disorders indicates that a phobia is more intense and persistent and the desire to avoid the object or situation is greater (APA, 2000). People with phobias often feel so much distress that their fears may interfere dramatically with their lives. Most phobias technically fall under the category of specific phobias, DSM-IV-TR’s label for an intense and persistent fear of a specific object or situation. In addition, there are two broader kinds of phobias: social phobia, a fear of social or performance situations in which embarrassment may occur, and agoraphobia, a fear of venturing into public places, especially when one is alone. Because agoraphobia is usually, perhaps always, experienced in conjunction with panic attacks, unpredictable attacks of terror, we shall examine that phobia later within our discussion of panic disorders. Specific Phobias A specific phobia is a persistent fear of a specific object or situation (see Table 4-5). When sufferers are exposed to the object or situation, they typically experience immediate fear. Common specific phobias are intense fears of specific animals or insects, heights, enclosed spaces, thunderstorms, and blood. Here Andrew talks about his phobic fear of flying: :// 107 BETWEEN THE LINES Famous Movie Phobias Number 23 (The Number 23) << Bats (Batman Begins) << Snakes (Raiders of the Lost Ark) << Illness (Hannah and Her Sisters) << The outside world (Copycat ) << Social situations (Annie Hall ) << Air travel (Rain Man) << Heights (Vertigo) << The color red (Marnie) << Enclosed spaces (Body Double) << Spiders (Arachnophobia) << We got on board, and then there was the take-off. There it was again, that horrible feeling as we gathered speed. It was creeping over me again, that old feeling of panic. I kept seeing everyone as puppets, all strapped to their seats with no control over their destinies, me included. Every time the plane did a variation of speed or route, my heart would leap and I would hurriedly ask what was happening. When the plane started to lose height, I was terrified that we were about to crash. (Melville, 1978, p. 59) Each year close to 9 percent of all people in the United States have the symptoms of a specific phobia (Kessler et al., 2009, 2005). More than 12 percent of individuals develop such phobias at some point during their lives, and many people have more than one at a time. Women with the disorder outnumber men by at least 2 to 1. For reasons that are not clear, the prevalence of specific phobias also differs among racial and ethnic minority groups. In some studies, African Americans and Hispanic Americans report having at least 50 percent more specific phobias than do whi...
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