Unit 4 Phobic Disorders

  • Created by: Lou
  • Created on: 16-06-13 17:38

Phobic Disorders 

A phobia is an irrational fear

  •  It is an example of an anxiety disorder 
  •  It is an extreme, irrational fear of a particular object or situation 
  •  There are three types of phobia classified by the the DSM-IV
  • Specific - a fear of specific objects or situations 
    • Animal - spiders 
    • Environmental - water 
    • Blood-injection-injury - fear of needles 
    • Situational - heights 
    • Other - fears that aren't covered (like that woman scared of baby vegetables on the the radio) 
  • Social - fear of social situations like talking to a group, eating in public 
  • Agoraphobia - fear of open spaces and having a panic attack and not getting away

Phobias have clinical characteristics

  • Cognitive Symptoms 
    • Irrational belief about stimuli causing fear
    • Find it hard to concentrate due to anxious thoughts
  • Socia Symptoms
    • Avoidance of social situations as they cause anxiety 
  • Behavioural Symptoms 
    • Altering behaviour to avoid the feared object or situation, and trying to escape if encountered
  • Physical Symptoms 
    • Fight or flight
    • Adrenaline, increased heart rate, breathing and muscle tension involved 
  • Emotional Symptoms 
    • anxiety and feeling of dread 

Clinical Diagnosis

  • DSM-IV (American) 
  • ICD-10 (British) 
  • Significant prolonged fear (6 months or over) 
  • Fear is excessive and irrational 
  • Disrupts normal life 
  • Specific Trigger (something that started the fear)
  • Anxiety Response 
  • They need to understand it is excessive 


  • Symptoms of phobias are very similar so hard to diagnose the specific phobia 
  • Often have links to depression and OCD so hard to tell what is a symptom of what 
  • Individual differences are not consider, someone may just be shy (not social phobia) 
  • The DSM-IV and ICD-10 have different criteria's, don't know which one is right, lowers reliability 
  • Biased diagnosis' may be given due to gender and culture which lowers reliability 
  • Johnstone found lower social classes tended to be given more serious diagnosis' than those of a higher social class 

Outline clinical characteristics of either phobic disorders or obsessive compulsive disorder (5 marks)

There are three types of phobic disorders. Social which is the fear of talking to groups and eating in public. Agoraphobia is the fear of open spaces and having a panic attack and not escaping. The third is specific phobias which include animal, blood-injection-injury, situational and environmental. Phobias give cognitive, behavioural, emotional, physical and social symptoms. Which is having an irrational belief about the stimuli, altering behaviour to avoid the feared situation or object, feeling of dread and anxiety, increased heart rate, sweating, and muscle tension, and purposefully avoiding situations to help avoid creating the fear. There are two main diagnosis criteria's. The ICD-10 is the UK version and the DSM-IV is the US version. They are used to clinically diagnose someone as having a phobia rather than just a fear. The sufferer has to be aware that the fear is excesses and




This is really helpful, thanks. I really liked the essay answers 

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