The best way to describe a phobia is that it is an anxiety attack or an anxiety disorder that occurs when we are exposed to situations, places or objects that of which we are fearful.
It can be described as an irrational fear but that does not help the sufferer to be told this. To them the fear is real and during an attack, they can experience some of these symptoms. They may experience a rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweaty palms, trembling and an urge to run or flee from the situation. Usually people who suffer from a phobia will try and avoid the situation, place or object that causes them anxiety.
A common fear or phobia amongst children is the fear of the dark. This will require affirmative action by the parent or guardian to help them overcome this. Usually leaving on a light will reassure them and help. Phobias are common and while other than childhood fears, phobias and fears usually develop during our teenage years and early adulthood. You may, as a child, been told never touch a spider and now ever time you see a spider you want to avoid it at all costs. This is a learned behavior that was drilled into you when you were young.
Phobias, to the sufferer, definitely cause a lot of anxiety and stress. If the situation can not be avoided, it is always a cause of concern to face the situation for the sufferer.
The best advice for any sufferer would be to seek medical help and advice. Phobias can be overcome and your doctor will be able to advise you.
Phobias may take time to cure but there have been several breaks through in recent years. One has been Thought Field Therapy (TFT). This system is based on tapping the various meridians of the body and the use of affirmations and was devised by American psychologist, Doctor Roger Callahan. Another similar treatment is Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). If you suffer from a phobia, you may like to investigate both of these treatments.