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Phobias are irrational fears associated with specific objects or situations that are consistent. You can experience a phobia of spiders (arachnophobia), social settings (social phobia) or even of public spaces and situations (agoraphobia). Phobias are often triggered by isolated traumatic events, but may also develop as part of a panic disorder or anxiety disorder. People who experience a phobia often become overwhelmed by the fear and completely avoid the cause. Phobias can be very debilitating to a patient’s quality of life, and should be treated with psychotherapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, particularly “exposure therapy,” is a common treatment for phobias. Certain anti-anxiety and anti-depression medications are used to treat phobias as well.

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