A specific phobia may be
present if an individual strongly fears a specific stimulus that
tends to be external to oneself (but may sometimes be internal).
Phobias are grouped into four clusters, depending on the feared
- Animal Type (spiders, snakes, birds, dogs, insects)
- Natural Environment Type (heights, water, storms)
- Blood-Injection-Injury Type (injections, needles, blood)
- Situational Type (enclosed spaces, flying, lifts, driving,
- Other Type (vomiting, choking, contracting an illness)
An individual with a phobia would tend to respond with a great
deal of anxiety in response to the stimulus and would then tend
to avoid the stimulus or other situations that may resemble it or
carry a higher risk of exposure to it.
Phobias are probably the most common of the anxiety disorders but
are also some of the most easily treatable conditions. Many phobias
may even be treated successfully with one or two sessions of in-vivo
exposure (Choy, Fyer, Lipsitz, 2007). Treatment entails a significant
amount of education and in-vivo exposure. Cognitive therapy and
interoceptive exposure tend to assist as useful adjuncts to treatment.
Interoceptive exposure is helpful with claustrophobia and virtual
exposure is most often used with flying phobia. Most other phobias
require in-vivo exposure. Specific blood pressure enhancing techniques
are required for those planning in-vivo exposure to a blood-injection
type of phobia because of the strong vasovagal response associated
with this phobia.