News What are phobias? In previous articles we have looked at a variety of topics from what ‘wellbeing’ means to money and mental health and lots in between.In this article we are going to look what phobias are. What does 'phobia' mean? A phobia is an extreme form of anxiety or fear that is triggered by a specific object or circumstance, even when there is no danger.Even knowing that the object or circumstance isn’t dangerous does not reduce the anxiety e.g. you may know it is safe to cross a bridge but none the less feel too anxious and worried to walk across it. Are 'fear' and 'phobia' the same thing? A fear tends to become a phobia if it lasts more than six months and has an impact on how you go about your life on a day to day basis. What causes a phobia? The cause of a phobia can vary across individuals but there are some frequent causes seen such as: Learned responses – this is where you can develop a phobia from a parent or sibling having grown up seeing how they react to it themselves An incident or trauma – if an individual experiences a traumatic car accident they could well develop a phobia of travelling by car Long term stress – with one of the symptoms of stress being the feeling of anxiety if it is experienced over a long period of time it can make an individual fearful of certain situations which could lead to developing a phobia. If you or, someone you know would like some support take a look at the Resources and Help section we've created here at City and Hackney Mind.