What Causes Phobias?

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Phobia What Causes?


Main causes of phobias include:

Direct Experience – This is when a person develops a phobia after a particularly bad experience. A child that is bitten by a dog may develop a phobia of dogs, or an individual that was trapped in an elevator for hours may develop claustrophobia.

A False Alarm – This occurs when a person has an unexpected feeling of panic or a panic attack during a certain situation. The individual then associates this alarm response with that particular situation. For example, many people with a phobia of driving haven’t been in a car accident, but have experienced a panic attack while driving.

Observing Others – In some cases it is simply enough to watch or even hear someone else’s awful experience. A phobia of doctors can develop after a child hears another child’s anguished screams coming from the doctor’s office. Phobias may also develop when children observe the behavior of a phobic parent.

Being Told – Sometimes just being warned repeatedly about a certain danger can cause a phobia. A child who has a fretful parent who continually warns of the danger of snakes may develop a phobia of snakes, despite never having seen one in real life.

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