Author: Gerard Chrzanowski
Phobias are familiar phenomena of everyday life as well as manifestations of mental disorders. A phobia is a morbid fear of objects or situations which realistically do not constitute a genuine danger to the person. In a clinical descriptive way, phobia denotes a phenomenon which ordinarily cannot be dealt with in an objective or rational fashion. The morbid fear has become attached to objects or situations and is usually recognized by the phobic person as not being a source of danger. Nevertheless, there is a compulsion to stay away from the imaginary threat. There may even be physiological responses characteristic of facing an actual danger such as tachycardia, rapid breathing, sweating, gastrointestinal symptoms, tremor and so forth. The victim of the phobic reaction is ordinarily aware of the
relative harmlessness of the situation. He frequently does not know what he is actually afraid of. Nevertheless he feels compelled to avoid phobia-producing situations. His insight into the inappropriateness of his phobic response does not protect him against acting irrationally.