Sunday, 6 May 2012
A persistent, irrational or exaggerated fear of a particular object, situation, activity, setting or even a bodily function. Patients usually recognize that the fear is inappropriate to the situation, but cannot control their emotions or response. Avoidance of the agent or object can affect their social and work life.
Exposure to the feared object provokes an anxiety reaction, the anxiety and discomfort is out of proportion to the real threat of the feared object. Other symptoms include: excessive sweating, rapid heart rate, hyperventilation, depression.
The goal of treatment is to help the person function effectively. Treatment options include: systematic desensitization, graded real-life exposure, anti-anxiety medications, and antidepressant medications. Group therapy can also be helpful.
No specific tests are needed.