Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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"My heart starts beating so fast . . . it feels like it's going to explode. My throat closes and I can't breathe. I start to choke. My hands start sweating. I get so dizzy I have to hold onto the furniture or the wall to keep from falling or fainting. I know I'm going to die. I want to run, but I don't know where." Where do phobias come from? They come from the mind; a phobia is an intense fear of and object or a situation. The quote above describes how someone with a phobia feels. There are thousands of phobias, but there are three main categories. The first is Agoraphobia or the fear of being alone in any place where escape would be difficult. Next is Social Phobia, a more common type, many people have it to a certain degree. The situations the invoke fear can range from signing a personal check to public speaking.

The third category is Specific Phobia, basically any one or more of the hundreds of phobias that exist.

Symptoms of phobias can be devastating, impairing your ability to socialize, work, and think. Phobias are more than a problem; to anyone that has a phobia it is a disability. Some of the symptoms are rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, trembling and a feeling of fleeing the situation at hand.

Treatment for phobias is available, and most people who get treatment either thru medication or behavior therapy overcome their fears and live a normal life.