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Phobias

  • Date Submitted: 02/09/2011 07:24 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 47.3 
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Mental Disorders: Phobias
Phobias are strong, irrational fears that interfere with day to day life. Phobias are classified as anxiety disorders because of the persons panic or anxious response to the stimulus they fear. There is a very large difference between a fear and a phobia. For one, phobias interfere with everyday life while simply being fearful of something does not. More importantly, the process of developing fears versus phobias is different.
Bellow is an example of the development of fears through classical conditioning:
NS àUCSàUCR

CSàCR

NS: Neutral Stimulus à Later becomes CS: Conditioned Stimulus
USC: Unconditioned Stimulus which later disappears all together
UCR: Unconditioned Response à Later becomes CR: Conditioned Response
Bellow is an example of the development of phobias:
NSàUCSàUCR

CSàCR

At first glance there seems to be no difference between the two examples of development. However, with further analysis, the difference is clear. First, it only takes one clear emotional experience to create a phobia. Development of fears are gradual and develop after continuous or multiple pairings of the neutral stimulus to the unconditioned response. The phobias development is caused by one single pairing of the neutral stimulus to the unconditioned response that generates a reaction that is emotional enough to traumatize the person. Although the experience that caused the unconditioned reaction in most cases is forgotten, the neutral stimulus is generalized to the emotional response of fear.
Another difference between the two developments is that the USR of phobias is always fear of death. Phobias are not fears of specific objects or situations themselves, they are the fear that the specific object or situation will lead to there death.
Other then traumatic events, environment and biology can play a role in causing phobias. It is proven that phobias are a learned behavior. Children sometimes pick up dramatic responses to a...

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