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Development and Maintenance of Specific Phobias

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Nowadays, phobia is one of the major problems that affects in our society. Phobia is a severe fear of specific thing or situation. It is a part of anxiety disorder that results negative emotional responses. Phobia is usually happen when fear is formed by danger situation which can be moved to other situations that the fear is originally forgotten. For example, a boy had the experience that was bitten by a dog. The next day when he saw the dog, he might get extreme fear and show the negative emotional responses because of the experience that he was bitten by dog. Therefore the boy had a phobia about dogs. However, there are some ways to overcome the phobia. As we know, treatments or therapies are the examples to treat disorders. These various therapies have cured phobia and made our lives more comfortable.

Classification of phobia

Phobias are divided into two main groups, specific phobia and social phobia. Specific phobia is an uncommon fear about specific situations and objects. For example lots of people fear when they saw spider (arachnophobia) and heights (acrophobia). However some people reacts with objects and situation exaggerating. Although they do not get any threat, they show negative emotions such as panic or terror. These refers to specific phobia. People who got specific phobia usually fears exaggerated and shows uncontrollable responses. Social phobia is one of the anxiety disorders that related with social situations. People who confront social phobia shows continuous fears about being judged or criticised. When people who realises that social anxiety is overwhelmed, they feel that they cannot change or control the feelings. Moreover, people who feared situations that avoided with extreme anxiety shows the social phobia. People who confront social phobia may experience various symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain or trembling.

Specific phobia

Compared to generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobias occurs in various forms. They are classified into 4 types which are animal phobias natural environment phobias, situational phobias and other phobias as the avoidance of situations that relates to vomiting or chocking or the other illness. Especially, specific phobias develop during childhood or teenage. These phobias caused by various factors such as traumatic event, unexpected panic attack or informational transmission. Traumatic event is an event that relates to physical, emotional or psychological harm. For example a boy who suffers distressing event results negative feelings as anxious or frightened. This boy need technically support and relieve himself (having time) to recover the traumatic event for positive emotional and stabilized his mentality. There are many cases of traumatic event as death of family member, physical pain or injury and serious illness. After experiencing threatening event, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) occurs. It is a type of anxiety disorder that shows the changes of body responses because of stress. As a result, it causes strong physical and emotional response to the memory of the event. To manage traumatic stress it is important to maintain daily routine or spend time with other people to avoid becoming withdrawn. Moreover give time to ourselves and realise that cannot control everything. Communicating the experience to people who really close as family or friends is a great idea to manage traumatic stress.

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There are some treatments to overcome specific phobia. Especially, exposure therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy are the main treatments that are well known. Exposure therapy is based on changing responses to the objects or situations that people are fear about it. By repeating exposure to the specific phobia and linked thoughts or feelings help us to care anxiety. For example, a boy who has claustrophobia of elevator, the therapy is to think repeatedly of elevator. The first day, let a boy stays inside the elevator for 1 minute. And the next day, he stays for 2 minutes and so on. From this method, the boy will exposure to the elevator with positive image that he can overcome his anxiety disorder.

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a part of exposure but added with other techniques to show the feared objects or situations into various view. It is effective to reduce post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Firstly, let the patient has PTSD and more aware of thinking automatically to maintain PTSD. Secondly, he writes the major sentences that he knows about the reason that traumatic event happens and the impacts that affect the world. Then, he will write his worst experience that he try to avoid the thought of traumatic experience. The therapist asks the patient about unhelpful thoughts about his traumatic experience to modify maladaptive thinking. Lastly, the patient developed skills for unhelpful thinking and keep doing the previous process as modifying beliefs of traumatic experiences. This time, therapist helps the patient to develop the skill that can use adaptive strategies and improve his life better by focusing on safety, control and esteem.

Moreover, medications help to overcome the anxiety and symptoms. These are used in initial treatment or situations as public speaking, airplane or in MRI procedure. There are two main medications, one is beta blocker and the other is sedative. Beta blocker is a drug that blocks the effects of adrenaline as increasing heart rate, blood pressure. Sedative is a medication that helps to decrease the amount of anxiety that people feel. It is causative since it is addictive and should be banned while having alcohol.


Ultimately, fear is something that we all confront. From our anxieties and past experiences, the degree of fear is getting higher or lower. There are some ways to overcome the anxiety disorders as Cognitive behavioural therapy, medications or exposure therapy. However, the most appropriate way is not to depend on the treatment as technology. We need to overcome ourselves such as managing our daily routine. For example when a person who had serious anxiety disorder, it is better to plan himself like meeting close friend and tell his problem sincerely or do something different that can be helpful to reduce anxiety. Moreover a girl who gets over her fear by the way she went through it, as seeing a syringe every day. From her firm will, he overcame the fear of syringe and eventually no longer afraid of syringes and be treated. In our society, we showed that lots of people are afraid of simple things but can face and confront these things. It is not easy to face the fear but it is essential the way to overcome the anxiety disorders.

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Development and Maintenance of Specific Phobias. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 11, 2023, from
“Development and Maintenance of Specific Phobias.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022,
Development and Maintenance of Specific Phobias. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 11 Dec. 2023].
Development and Maintenance of Specific Phobias [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2023 Dec 11]. Available from:
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