Essay about Phobias: Things that Go Bump in the Mind

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Phobias: Things that Go Bump in the Mind

My heart began to quicken and my palms started to sweat as I watched the ground get further and further away as I rode up the escalator into the main streets of Washington, D.C. I had this sudden feeling of vertigo and had to close my eyes to preserve my balance. I was certain that the if I let go of my tight grip on the railing, I would fall to my death. My only option was to turn away and run as fast as I could towards the safety of sunlight and solid ground.

This over-reaction in such a simple situation was a result of my acrophobia, or fear of heights. I am not alone in this; according to some surveys, approximately 10% to 11% of the U.S. adult population suffer from a phobia in any
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Phobias are classified according to the cause of reaction and avoidance. The explanations for phobias are varied and range from being remnants of human evolutionary past to scarring childhood events. The treatments for the various phobias are just as diverse, and include exposure therapy and drugs.

Arachibutyrophobia (the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth), Bolshephobia (the fear of Bolsheviks), Caligynephobia (the fear of beautiful women), Francophobia (the fear of France), and Walloonphobia (the fear of the Walloons) are just some of the multitude of reported phobias. Although the above listed specific phobias are along the more unusual, there seems to be an observable trend in the objects or situations that people fear the most. Phobias of insects or animals, natural environments like heights, blood or injury and dangerous situations are the most common. 4 Specific phobias exhibit themselves at any age, but are commonly first seen in childhood or adolescence. They are the easiest to hide because a sufferer need only to avoid whatever particular circumstance produces the emotional and physical affects.

Social phobia is not as common as specific phobias, but can be much more distressing and disruptive. It is sometimes explained away as mere shyness. But shy people do not necessarily experience extreme anxiety in social situations or avoid any circumstances that make them

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