Phobias or excessive fears are disproportionate and unrealistic fears of certain issues, objects or situations. Typical objects of fear include heights, closed or open spaces, spiders, injections, flying or darkness.
People suffering from phobias usually know their fears are unfounded but cannot control them. For example, people suffering from claustrophobia are perfectly aware of there being no harm in walking in closed spaces but they still become excessively afraid under such circumstances.
Phobias are relatively common mental disorders. Indeed, the fears are usually based on possible, yet unlikely, danger. For example, there is a theoretical risk in flying or using a lift but avoiding these because of a phobia makes life unneceassarily complicated.
There are various reasons for developing a phobia but biological factors may play a part in it, as well. Phobias have a tendency to run in the family; nevertheless, one cannot say for sure whether this is the result of nature or nurture.
Excessive fears can be cured
Phobias can be treated with psychotherapy, which includes subjecting the person to the object of his/her fears. During exposure therapy, the person suffering from a phobia learns to tolerate the object of fear in small doses under the guidance of a professional. If the person suffering from a phobia also suffers from panic or anxiety disorders, treating him/her with medication and/or psychotherapy significantly helps in recovering from the phobia.