Phobias are extreme fears in specific situations lacking real danger or fears which are completely out of proportion. Most of the time the person with the phobia realizes that its fear is irrational and illogical, but he still keeps feeling the pain. Only avoiding the painful situation can bring relieve.
A phobia often originates from a negative experience with the subject concerning the phobia. There appear to be hereditary influences, but a phobia can also be taught.
A phobia for something exists if exposure to that something results in a panic attack. A lot of people are afraid of an injection from the doctor, but this is not called a phobia.
Kids most of the time do not get a panic attack but start crying really loud and clamp on to someone (usually their mom or dad).
The most effective treatment is exposure to the fear, although this is very difficult. It has to be made clear that there is absolutely no reason for a phobia.
So if someone has a phobia for dogs, he or she has to learn how to get along with them through an intensive treatment.
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