Symptoms of Phobias
The most common symptom of a phobia is a panic-induced feeling when exposed to objects or situations. While most people feel trepidation at some point in their life over an activity, such as public speaking or being shocked over the sight of a bug in your house, someone with a phobia of an object or situation is not only afraid of said object or situation, but also of the idea of it happening or occurring or being around an object and they take on behavior to avoid it.
Phobias occur in people of all ages. Children who suffer from certain phobias such as being afraid of the dark, or of objects like clowns, tend to outgrow the phobic behavior.
Many times, in adults, phobic behavior will manifest itself in the preparation for an activity to occur. They will be scared of putting themselves in a situation for something bad to occur to them and therefore will then experience physical symptoms of their fear.
Physical symptoms associated with phobic behavior include:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Feeling of choking
- Shortness of breath or smothered sensation
- Nausea or stomach pain
- Feeling dizzy, lightheaded or faint
- Hot and cold flashes/sweating
The intensity of a person’s symptoms with phobic behavior tends to lend itself to the overall proximity of a person from encountering or experiencing the object or situation they fear. For instance, a person who is afraid of flying in an airplane may not have symptoms of stress or panic until they are actually on the plane and the cabin door is shut. Symptoms of phobias are directly related to if the person feels they can get away from the situation they are afraid of.