Specific phobias

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent mental disorders, but the subcategory of specific phobias has not been well studied. Phobias involve both fear and avoidance. For people who have specific phobias, avoidance can reduce the constancy and severity of distress and impairment. However, these phobias are important because of their early onset and strong persistence over time. Studies indicate that the lifetime prevalence of specific phobias around the world ranges from 3% to 15%, with fears and phobias concerning heights and animals being the most common. The developmental course of phobias, which progress from fear to avoidance and then to diagnosis, suggests the possibility that interrupting the course of phobias could reduce their prevalence. Although specific phobias often begin in childhood, their incidence peaks during midlife and old age. Phobias persist for several years or even decades in 10–30% of cases, and are strongly predictive of onset of other anxiety, mood, and substance-use disorders. Their high comorbidity with other mental disorders, especially after onset of the phobia, suggests that early treatment of phobias could also alter the risk of other disorders. Exposure therapy remains the treatment of choice, although this approach might be less effective in the long term than previously believed. This Review discusses the literature regarding the prevalence, incidence, course, risk factors, and treatment of specific phobias, and presents epidemiological data from several population-based surveys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)678-686
Number of pages9
JournalThe Lancet Psychiatry
Volume5
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

Fingerprint

Phobic Disorders
Fear
Mental Disorders
Implosive Therapy
Specific Phobia
Incidence
Anxiety Disorders
Substance-Related Disorders
Comorbidity
Anxiety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

Cite this

Specific phobias. / Eaton, William W; Bienvenu, Oscar J; Miloyan, Beyon.

In: The Lancet Psychiatry, Vol. 5, No. 8, 01.08.2018, p. 678-686.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Eaton, William W ; Bienvenu, Oscar J ; Miloyan, Beyon. / Specific phobias. In: The Lancet Psychiatry. 2018 ; Vol. 5, No. 8. pp. 678-686.
@article{12dc99a31a5a4e259aab92048494e8f6,
title = "Specific phobias",
abstract = "Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent mental disorders, but the subcategory of specific phobias has not been well studied. Phobias involve both fear and avoidance. For people who have specific phobias, avoidance can reduce the constancy and severity of distress and impairment. However, these phobias are important because of their early onset and strong persistence over time. Studies indicate that the lifetime prevalence of specific phobias around the world ranges from 3{\%} to 15{\%}, with fears and phobias concerning heights and animals being the most common. The developmental course of phobias, which progress from fear to avoidance and then to diagnosis, suggests the possibility that interrupting the course of phobias could reduce their prevalence. Although specific phobias often begin in childhood, their incidence peaks during midlife and old age. Phobias persist for several years or even decades in 10–30{\%} of cases, and are strongly predictive of onset of other anxiety, mood, and substance-use disorders. Their high comorbidity with other mental disorders, especially after onset of the phobia, suggests that early treatment of phobias could also alter the risk of other disorders. Exposure therapy remains the treatment of choice, although this approach might be less effective in the long term than previously believed. This Review discusses the literature regarding the prevalence, incidence, course, risk factors, and treatment of specific phobias, and presents epidemiological data from several population-based surveys.",
author = "Eaton, {William W} and Bienvenu, {Oscar J} and Beyon Miloyan",
year = "2018",
month = "8",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/S2215-0366(18)30169-X",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "5",
pages = "678--686",
journal = "The Lancet Psychiatry",
issn = "2215-0366",
publisher = "Elsevier Limited",
number = "8",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Specific phobias

AU - Eaton, William W

AU - Bienvenu, Oscar J

AU - Miloyan, Beyon

PY - 2018/8/1

Y1 - 2018/8/1

N2 - Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent mental disorders, but the subcategory of specific phobias has not been well studied. Phobias involve both fear and avoidance. For people who have specific phobias, avoidance can reduce the constancy and severity of distress and impairment. However, these phobias are important because of their early onset and strong persistence over time. Studies indicate that the lifetime prevalence of specific phobias around the world ranges from 3% to 15%, with fears and phobias concerning heights and animals being the most common. The developmental course of phobias, which progress from fear to avoidance and then to diagnosis, suggests the possibility that interrupting the course of phobias could reduce their prevalence. Although specific phobias often begin in childhood, their incidence peaks during midlife and old age. Phobias persist for several years or even decades in 10–30% of cases, and are strongly predictive of onset of other anxiety, mood, and substance-use disorders. Their high comorbidity with other mental disorders, especially after onset of the phobia, suggests that early treatment of phobias could also alter the risk of other disorders. Exposure therapy remains the treatment of choice, although this approach might be less effective in the long term than previously believed. This Review discusses the literature regarding the prevalence, incidence, course, risk factors, and treatment of specific phobias, and presents epidemiological data from several population-based surveys.

AB - Anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent mental disorders, but the subcategory of specific phobias has not been well studied. Phobias involve both fear and avoidance. For people who have specific phobias, avoidance can reduce the constancy and severity of distress and impairment. However, these phobias are important because of their early onset and strong persistence over time. Studies indicate that the lifetime prevalence of specific phobias around the world ranges from 3% to 15%, with fears and phobias concerning heights and animals being the most common. The developmental course of phobias, which progress from fear to avoidance and then to diagnosis, suggests the possibility that interrupting the course of phobias could reduce their prevalence. Although specific phobias often begin in childhood, their incidence peaks during midlife and old age. Phobias persist for several years or even decades in 10–30% of cases, and are strongly predictive of onset of other anxiety, mood, and substance-use disorders. Their high comorbidity with other mental disorders, especially after onset of the phobia, suggests that early treatment of phobias could also alter the risk of other disorders. Exposure therapy remains the treatment of choice, although this approach might be less effective in the long term than previously believed. This Review discusses the literature regarding the prevalence, incidence, course, risk factors, and treatment of specific phobias, and presents epidemiological data from several population-based surveys.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85050408561&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85050408561&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/S2215-0366(18)30169-X

DO - 10.1016/S2215-0366(18)30169-X

M3 - Review article

C2 - 30060873

AN - SCOPUS:85050408561

VL - 5

SP - 678

EP - 686

JO - The Lancet Psychiatry

JF - The Lancet Psychiatry

SN - 2215-0366

IS - 8

ER -