How do people get phobias? (Thinkstock)
How do people get phobias?
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You asked us a question. "How do people get phobias?"
 
Roughly 10% of people will get a phobia.
 
They might be scared of spiders. Or maybe flying or clowns. Whatever it is they are afraid of that fear is not a normal one.
 
A phobia is response to what someone thinks is a danger. It does not really make sense. It is normally over-the-top. It is a response that causes people to avoid their object-of-fear like the plague.
 
There are three main types.
 
Simple phobias are a fear of something specific. Those fears might be dentists or dogs. This kind tends to form in childhood. It will often go away over time.
 
Then there are two more types of phobias. These are more deeply rooted. And they can be disabling. 

They are "complex phobias." They tend to start during the teen years or early adulthood. 

The first is social phobia. It is a fear of being judged or embarrassed.

The second is agoraphobia. It is a fear of places that make you feel trapped.
 
It is likely that genetics have a hand in phobias.
 
These unwarranted fears tend to run in families. There is evidence that they can be inherited biologically, at least in mice.
 
But life experiences play a role, too.
 
Phobias can form from a scary or stressful experience. It can even happen after one you just witnessed or heard about.
 
Unfortunately, knowing what caused your phobia does not cure you of it.
 
What might help though is exposure therapy. Patients slowly increase contact with their phobia. The hope is that they will learn to overcome their fear.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why might phobias tend to run in families?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (151)
  • cardinalej-rob
    10/29/2015 - 02:22 p.m.

    It can be inherited biologically

  • jimeneza-rob
    10/29/2015 - 02:29 p.m.

    Phobias might tend to run in families because they can inherit biologically.

  • bradleys-rob
    10/29/2015 - 02:30 p.m.

    Children might have phobias of things that they have experienced before. Like something traumatic.

  • esparzaalejandree-rob
    10/29/2015 - 02:31 p.m.

    the parents probably never got over their phobia so they never exposed their children to it

  • lemonsw-rob
    10/29/2015 - 02:31 p.m.

    they can be inherited

  • juarez-hernandezj-rob
    10/29/2015 - 02:32 p.m.

    Someone in there family did not overcome there fear that causes there kids to have the same fear as there mom and dad and that what cause phobias tend to run in families.

  • dajuie-rob
    10/29/2015 - 02:32 p.m.

    Because they can be inherited biologically. Also because you can see that your other family scared of something and then it can be scary to them to.

  • johnstonf-rob
    10/29/2015 - 02:33 p.m.

    a common fear that every one in the family is scared of it so it can run off of pressure form the family that all of just 'wanting to fit in can cause the fear to run in the family

  • esparzaalejandree-rob
    10/29/2015 - 02:34 p.m.

    The parents never got over their phobia so they never exposed their children to it

  • jimenezg-rob
    10/29/2015 - 02:35 p.m.

    Phobias might tend to run through the family because they might see that their parents or other family members are scared of something and they might get scared of it to.

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