- A phobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by obsessive, irrational, and intense fear of a specific object an activity, or a physical situation.
- The fear, which is out of proportion to reality, usually results from early painful or unpleasant experiences involving a particular object or situation.
- A phobia may arise from displacing an unconscious conflict on an object that is symbolically related.
Types of Phobias
- Fear of being in places or situations from which escape may be difficult or help may not be readily available.
- Social Phobia
- Also called Social Anxiety Disorder
- Characterized by persistent fear of appearing shameful, stupid or inept in the presence of others.
- Specific Phobia
- Also called Simple Phobia
- A persistent fear of a specific object or situation, other than of two phobias mentioned above.
- Natural environment
- Other (fear of costumed character, space, etc)
- Learning theory
- The belief that phobias are learned and become conditioned responses when the client needs to escape an uncomfortable situation.
- Cognitive theory
- Phobias are produced by anxiety-inducing self-instructions of faulty cognitions.
- Life experiences
- Certain life experiences, such as traumatic events, may set the sage for phobias later in life.
Signs and Symptoms
- High levels of anxiety
- Inability to function and meet self-care needs
- Inappropriate behavior used to avoid the feared situation, object or activity
- Dysfunctional social interactions and relationships
- Ineffective individual coping
- Impaired verbal communication
- Altered thought processes
- Self-esteem disturbance
- Impaired social interaction
- Risk for injury
Therapeutic Nursing Management
- Systematic desensitization
- This process of gradual exposure to phobic object or situation aimed at decreasing the fear and increasing the ability to function in the presence of phobic stimulus.