Fears of objects or situations can become irrational and overwhelming, and cause severe anxiety. Approximately five percent of Americans have clinically significant phobias; most patients recognize them as irrational but cannot control them.
Diagnosing Specific Phobias (04:31)
Learn about DSM-IV diagnostic criteria. Categories include animal or insect, natural environment, blood-injection-injury, situational, and other types. They often originate in social or vicarious learning, and can coexist with other anxiety disorders.
Treating Specific Phobias (02:33)
Many people are symptom-free, when not confronted with stimuli. Behavior therapy includes relaxation and breathing exercises. Exposure therapy uses desensitization to reduce fear. Medication can reduce anxiety symptoms before a patient faces a phobic situation.
Diagnosing Social Phobias (04:45)
Fears of speaking to or interacting with others can impact daily functioning. DSM-IV diagnostic criteria are similar to specific phobias, but specify fear of exposure to unfamiliar people or to scrutiny by others. Patients also recognize their fears as irrational.
Treating Social Phobias (05:32)
Social phobias can interfere with work or school activities and often co-occur with depression or other anxiety disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy and anti-anxiety medications can be effective, including exposure therapy and social skills training.
Credits: Specific and Social Phobias (00:41)
Credits: Specific and Social Phobias
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