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A persistent, irrational fear of an object, event, activity, or situation called a phobic stimulus, resulting in a compelling desire to avoid it. The presence or anticipation of the phobic stimulus triggers anxiety or a panic attack, although the person acknowledges the fear to be irrational, and the phobic stimulus is either avoided or endured with dread. A phobia that leads to clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning may be diagnosed as a mental disorder—either a specific phobia or a social phobia. A comprehensive list of phobias and phobic stimuli is provided in Appendix I at the back of this dictionary. According to the National Phobics Society, the eight most common phobias in the UK (in descending order) are: arachnophobia, social phobia, aeronausiphobia, agoraphobia, carcinophobia, brontophobia, thanatophobia, and cardiophobia. Also called a phobic neurosis. See also (in the main body of the dictionary) agoraphobia, dysmorphophobia, Little Hans, pa-leng, paraphobia, phobic technique, social phobia, specific phobia, thanatophobia. phobic adj. [From Greek phobos fear + -ia indicating a condition or quality]

Subjects: Psychology.

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