How do people get phobias? (Thinkstock)
How do people get phobias?
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You asked us, "How do people get phobias?"
 
Roughly 10% of people will develop a phobia.
 
And whatever it is they're afraid of - spiders, flying or clowns - that fear isn't a normal one.
 
A phobia is an irrational or over-the-top response to a perceived danger, one 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, like dentists or dogs, which tend to develop in childhood and will often go away over time.
 
Then there are two more deeply-rooted and disabling "complex phobias" that tend to start during the teen years or early adulthood: social phobia (which is a fear of being judged or embarrassed) and agoraphobia (which is a fear of places that make you feel trapped).
 
It's likely that genetics have a hand in phobias.
 
These unwarranted fears tend to run in families and there's evidence that they can be inherited biologically, at least in mice.
 
But life experiences play a role, too.
 
Phobias can develop from a scary or stressful experience - even one you just witnessed or heard about.
 
Unfortunately, knowing what caused your phobia doesn't cure you of it.
 
What might help though is exposure therapy, where patients gradually increase contact with their phobia and 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 (75)
  • ameliaw-2-coo
    11/02/2015 - 09:19 a.m.

    Phonies may tend to run in families becouse once someone's mind is ado accustomed to a certain way of living, such as a phobia, it's easy for the people around you to adapt to that as well

  • colline1-lam
    11/02/2015 - 09:33 a.m.

    This is a really interesting article and I've always wondered how you develop a phobia. I'm scared of spiders, and I'm glad to hear that the fear will most likely go away as I grow up.

  • jaredp-lam
    11/02/2015 - 09:39 a.m.

    It's very interesting that phobias may tend to run in families. I suppose that seeing someone who is scared of something can also make you scared of something.

  • brooklenr-lam
    11/02/2015 - 09:47 a.m.

    This is a very interesting article. Phobias may be passed down by a family member because of the scary story they tell the child. Then the child will become scared of that thing too.

  • saraho1-lam
    11/02/2015 - 09:49 a.m.

    I find it interesting that people have phobias from something they heard from someone else.

    • evelyn-whi
      11/02/2015 - 11:43 a.m.

      Ya but like what

  • dae'kwan-whi
    11/02/2015 - 11:20 a.m.

    If one person has a phobia then they might pass it on to their kids and so on and soon the whole family has a phobia.

  • jesse-whi
    11/02/2015 - 11:24 a.m.

    I think that it only happends when your family dose not like it or you don't like it.

  • malaya-whi
    11/02/2015 - 11:26 a.m.

    Phobias run through families because parents could share there phobias to there kids and those kids will tell there kids the same phobias or even different ones they discovered.

  • reham-whi
    11/02/2015 - 11:32 a.m.

    I never thought that there were three kinds of phobias like complex phobias,social phobias,and agoraphobia.

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