Outline Clinical Characteristics Of Phobia

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Outline clinical characteristics of phobia (8) Rosenhan and Seligman said that ‘A phobia is a persistent fear reaction that is strongly out of proportion to the reality of the danger’. Is an extreme, irrational fear of an object or situation, e.g. arachnophobia (fear of spiders). The sufferer is well aware of how irrational, excessive and unreasonable their phobia is, but this awareness does not help them. When a person with a phobia encounters the stimulus which causes their fear they experience extreme anxiety and will show avoidance behaviour. There are various elements that make up the fear response of phobia such as, cognitive element, where the expectation of harm about to happen, the perception of danger and threat. There is also the biological element which is the body’s emergency reaction to danger (‘fight or flight’ response) release of adrenaline leading to increased heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, sweating, etc. There is also the emotional element which is the feeling of dread, terror and panic. The final element is the behavioural one, involving fleeing, avoidance behaviour or freezing. There are three main groups of phobia listed in DSM –IV and IC – 10; the first is Agoraphobia which literally means fear of the market. It is an irrational anxiety about being in places from which escape might be difficult or embarrassing or in which help might not be available when anxiety and panic arises. In DSM – IV, agoraphobia is closely linked to panic disorder as sufferers are prone to panic attacks in public places. Both DSM – IV and ICD – 10 state avoidance of the feared situation as a diagnostic criterion. Agoraphobia accounts for about 60% of all phobias and most frequently occurs in women. It usually develops in early adulthood. The second group is the social phobia which is an excessive fear of social situations in general or specific

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