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Dealing with Fear

Fear Disorders


Reasonable fear is a good thing – it helps keep us safe by enabling us to sense and respond to danger. But it can also spiral out of control and become disabling in the case of anxiety disorders, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Anxiety disorders are real illnesses. They reflect runaway activity in the parts of our brain that control fear. These disorders cause emotional and physical symptoms, which range from bothersome to downright crippling. And anxiety disorders are more common than you might think! They affect people of all ages and both sexes. Each year, more than 40 million Americans – about 18 percent of the adult population – suffer from some form of anxiety disorder.

As researchers learn more about the brain and emotions, they are developing better treatment for these disorders. Today, almost everyone who suffers from an anxiety disorder can get better with treatment, and live happy, meaningful and productive lives.

PLEASE NOTE: The information presented on this site should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a healthcare professional.


While it's perfectly normal and healthy to have fears, phobias are another story. These persistent, extreme fears can take over people's lives, even if they realize their overwhelming fears are unreasonable.

Phobias can be overwhelming fears of any object or situation, even things that most of us would never consider dangerous. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 4-5 percent of the American population deals with at least one significant phobia in a given year.

The word phobia comes from the Greek word, phobos, meaning fear. Most phobia names have Greek roots, although some come from Latin. Remember: Although some phobias may seem funny to those of us who don't have them, they are very serious to those who do.