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Difference between a fear and a phobia

Fear is a normal and healthy response to what might endanger us. It is something that In fact, fear plays an important role in keeping us from entering harmful situations and helping us decide when to get out of situations that are not necessarily the best.

Under normal circumstances, fear can be managed through reason and logic. It does not take over our lives or cause us to become irrational.

A phobia, however, twists the normal fear response into something that is persistent and difficult or impossible to control.

Normal Response to Fear

It is easy to become afraid of almost anything. Fear is generally, although not always, based on a negative experience with the object in question. For example, if you were attacked by a dog as a child, you may be afraid of dogs today. Sometimes fear is learned from someone else, such as a child who has a fear of spiders because of her mother's reactions.

Whatever the object of fear, you may become distressed or uncomfortable when you confront that object. If you are afraid of flying, for example, you may become jittery or anxious when you board an airplane. You may self-medicate, perhaps by indulging in a preflight drink, but you are able to manage your symptoms and get on with your life. You may prefer to travel by car or train but will fly when it is necessary or practical.

Posted in Specific Phobias on Mar 29, 2020.

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Psychology term of the day

April 22nd 2021


Fear of the dark is a common fear or phobia among children and, to a varying degree, adults. A fear of the dark does not always concern darkness itself; it can also be a fear of possible or imagined dangers concealed by darkness. Some degree of fear of the dark is natural, especially as a phase of child development.