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Concepts and Theories of Phobias


A phobia can be explained as an intense uncontrolled and irrational concern with specific items, activities, family pets or individuals. People suffering from phobias usually have problems with anxiety attacks when they find themselves in or close to the situations, objects or the individuals they have fear of. Phobias are more regularly acquired through traumatic activities though some of these are inherent to the victims. If remaining neglected, phobias are liable to cause long term damage on the mental and physical health of an individual, and a recently available study by Country wide Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in the us revealed that phobias are a typical disorder in 19% of the population especially in women.

The concept of phobias

Several theories and explanations have been put forth so that they can clearly define phobia in order to provide a standardized standards for examination and treatment. Different medical departments dealing with mental health and disorders and emotional operations all have different mutually exclusive definitions of the behavioral phenomena and their causes.

Evolutionary concept

Also known as the ultimate idea of phobias, researchers in the evolutionary field believe that phobias came into existence through evolutionary techniques (Edmund 57). Progression is considered to carry out a key role in ensuring the success of humans and through adaptation, individuals subconsciously learned what is dangerous to them and developed a fear of it (Mathews 16). The discussion is usually that the uneven circulation of fear is pre- decided on on an individual through constant vulnerability of individual's ancestry to the thing of dread (Eysenc 22). Consequently, an individual will suffer from the primal fear of an object or organism they have never come into contact with (Davey 3). This concept is employed by researchers to describe why for example a person would be suffering from an immense fear of snakes, yet see your face has never come into close connection with a snake. Photos or imagery of snakes are however more likely to trigger an powerful feeling of dread or nervousness in the average person. The evolutionary idea more often than not does identify phobias as inherited dread that is genetically offered to a person.

Anatomical concept

Recent improvements in the neurological field have greatly aided experts in understanding the functions of the mind. Though not fully understood, most bodily and mental procedures functions is now able to be related to specific elements of the brain. It is in line with such studies that phobias is now able to be comprehended and identified in neurological conditions. Human hormones have been related to the involuntary response a person has when experiencing phobia induced stress (Mathews 34). An integral part of the mind known as the amygdala located behind the pituitary gland in the limbic system is in charge of secreting these human hormones (Schwartz 1). When an individual is in times that provides sufficient conditions for a phobic effect, the amygdala is activated and secretes human hormones (Stein 65). These hormones focus on the stressed system to regulate fear and the discharge of adrenaline. The high stimulation of the stressed system is what brings about panic and axiety episodes associated with phobias. The anatomical theory attempts to establish phobias through bodily functions and the physical reactions that as a result lead to the manifestation of the phobia (Davey 2).

Psychological concept

The internal or proximate strategy is the most extensive and widely studied classification of phobias. This idea explore the field of individuals learning where individuals have to coherently or subconsciously receive a certain amount of type or experience before they can generate a certain result or reaction(Stein 99). Learning is therefore closely reliant on the biological predisposition of an individual because the phobias are randomly selective and they are in one way or the other important to human beings since they never have been phased out by development (Schwartz 1). Psychologists claim that phobias are essentially vital for the sustainability of individual life; otherwise they would have been removed through evolution.

The proven fact that phobias are not arbitrary support this view, because phobias will most likely manifest when engaging in activities or coping with people or organisms that are pretty much dangerous (Eysenck 59). Phobias can even be learnt in one trial and they are not entirely dependant on genetics. If for example an individual has a traumatic experience, it is likely that a phobia with the situation may take main in the sufferer. Say the lift up they are traveling in snaps and plummets to the cellar of a extra tall building. A survivor will leave that scene with a mortal fear of lifts and can do everything to avoid them. Therefore, psychologically speaking, phobias are learnt by individuals and can hence be thought as an adapted strong dread off certain items, activities, organisms or people obtained through experience and the surroundings (Edmund 68).


Phobias corresponding to clinical research can be from the three domains of medicine. However, a greater degree of phobias is mental and through mental evaluation can a phobia be discovered. The anatomical principle is pertinent when working for the cure of phobias. By understanding the inner mechanisms of the body of individuals suffering from phobia, medicinal remedies to counteract such results become simpler to produce. The anatomical and mental health ideas are therefore complementary in function and only through both can phobias be diagnosed and cured.

Work Cited

Davey, Gerald T. "Preparedness and phobias: Specific evolved organizations or a generalized expectancy bias?" Behavioral and Brain Sciences. Retrieved on January 14 2010 from: http://www. bbsonline. org/Preprints/OldArchive/bbs. davey. html

Edmund, Bourne L. The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook, 4th model. Kansas: New Harbinger Magazines, 2005.

Eysenck, Hans G. You and Neurosis. 1st model. London: Macmillan, 1977.

Mathews Albert K. Why be concerned? The cognitive function of stress and anxiety. Behavior Research & Remedy. 2nd release. London: gateway publishers, 1990.

Schwartz, Allan P. "Social Phobia and Do it yourself Concept and the mind". Retrieved on January 14 2010 from: http://www. mentalhelp. net/poc/view_doc. php?type=doc&id=28950&w=5&cn=1

Stein, Dan T. Clinical Manual of Anxiousness Disorders. 1st release. NY: North american Psychiatric Press, 2004.

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