Medications

When drug treatment for social anxiety is insufficient

A Japanese study group clarified that cognitive therapy maintained its effects more than a year after the end of therapy for patients with a social anxiety disorder (SAD) even for those who did not respond to antidepressant ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

'Hangxiety' higher in shy people

Very shy people are more likely to suffer "hangxiety" – anxiety during a hangover – than their extrovert friends, new research shows.

Psychology & Psychiatry

An end to arachnophobia 'just a heartbeat away'

Researchers have discovered that exposing people with phobias to their fear—for examples, spiders for those who have arachnophobia—at the exact time their heart beats, led to the phobia reducing in severity.

Dentistry

How to (gently) get your child to brush their teeth

For most parents, the phrase "I don't want to brush my teeth" is rather familiar. While it may seem easiest to pry their mouth open and force them to brush, research suggests there are better ways that may positively influence ...

Dentistry

Reduced dental anxiety among children with internet-based CBT

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have developed an accessible therapy for children and adolescents suffering from dental phobia. The study, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, shows that guided internet-based ...

Dentistry

Dental anxiety has consequences beyond tooth decay

(HealthDay)—Does the mere thought of a dentist's drill make you cringe in fear? Be forewarned: Dental phobia can damage more than your teeth, a new British report indicates.

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Phobia

A phobia (from the Greek: φόβος, Phóbos, meaning "fear" or "morbid fear") is a type of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the sufferer commits to great lengths in avoiding, typically disproportional to the actual danger posed, often being recognized as irrational. In the event the phobia cannot be avoided entirely the sufferer will endure the situation or object with marked distress and significant interference in social or occupational activities.

The terms distress and impairment as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV-TR) should also take into account the context of the sufferer's environment if attempting a diagnosis. The DSM-IV-TR states that if a phobic stimulus, whether it be an object or a social situation, is absent entirely in an environment - a diagnosis cannot be made. An example of this situation would be an individual who has a fear of mice (Suriphobia) but lives in an area devoid of mice. Even though the concept of mice causes marked distress and impairment within the individual, because the individual does not encounter mice in the environment no actual distress or impairment is ever experienced. Proximity and the degree to which escape from the phobic stimulus should also be considered. As the sufferer approaches a phobic stimulus, anxiety levels increase (e.g. as one gets closer to a snake, fear increases in Ophidiophobia), and the degree to which escape of the phobic stimulus is limited and has the effect of varying the intensity of fear in instances such as riding an elevator (e.g. anxiety increases at the midway point between floors and decreases when the floor is reached and the doors open).

Finally, a point warranting clarification is that the term phobia is an encompassing term and when discussed is usually done in terms of specific phobias and social phobias. Specific phobias are nouns such as arachnophobia or acrophobia which, as the name implies, are specific, and social phobia are phobias within social situations such as public speaking and crowded areas.

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