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Phobia sufferers tend to be more likely to manage stress by avoiding the stressful situation and have trouble decreasing the intensity of the fearful situation. Another possible contributor to the development of phobias is classical conditioning. While there may be periods of spontaneous improvement, a phobia does not usually go away unless the individual gets treatments that are specifically designed to address this condition. Alcoholics can be up to 10 times more likely to develop a phobia than nonalcoholics, and phobic individuals may be twice as likely to suffer from alcoholism or another addiction than those who have never been phobic. "Prospective Study of Phobic Anxiety and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Men." Circulation 89 (1994): 1992-1997. One type of mental-health therapy involves the supportive and gradual exposure of the person with phobias to situations that are increasingly similar to the one they are phobic about (desensitization).
In children, school phobia or a fear of being alone may occur with or without separation anxiety disorder.
In classical conditioning, an individual responds to something that scares them by generalizing the fear of that specific thing or situation to more generalized things or situations. "Rapid Desensitization for Needle Phobia." Psychosomatics 44 June 2003: 253-254. "Phobias: Causes and Treatments." All Psych Journal 17 Nov.