Experiencing a phobia is a common anxiety disorder. A phobia is characterized by significant fear or anxiety about specific objects or situations. For example, some people experience a negative emotional reaction when they see snakes, dogs, bridges or blood, while others may avoid flying, driving or giving a presentation.
Often, phobias are conditioned from earlier events, such as experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. Individuals often don’t recall the specific instance when the phobia developed. You may have experienced fear when you were bitten by a dog as a child and then you subsequently generalized this fear to all dogs. This process, called conditioning, is a common reason why individuals experience phobias. Additionally, over the years, your mind has generated a lot of negative associations related to the feared object or situation, which leads to avoidance. Although the avoidance may minimize your anxiety and fear, this behavior can actually exacerbate your phobia.