Please Explain: Phobias

Friday, September 21, 2007

The National Institutes of Health have found that anywhere from 8 to 18% of Americans are affected by phobias. Don't be afraid to send us your questions about the things that make you cringe. Our guest is Dr. Martin Anthony, Director of the Graduate Program in Psychology at Ryerson University in Toronto and the author of several books on phobias and anxiety disorders, including Mastering Your Fears and Phobias.

Call us at 212-433-WNYC or post your questions and comments here.

Weigh in: What are you most afraid of?

Have phobias ever stopped you from doing something you really wanted to do?

How have you gotten over a phobia?


Martin Anthony

Comments [14]


Is there such thing as a phobia of alligators/crocadiles?

Oct. 22 2007 05:11 PM
LB from NYC

I was hypnotized for fear of flying--successfully! Amazing results through transfering images of a relaxing situation when feeling anxious.

Sep. 21 2007 01:57 PM
ch from NJ

I wonder whether there is a nutritional aspect to this. Such as B vitamins in the brain.

Also, since women are more affected, is there a hormonal aspect? I understand that hypothyroidism is increasingly common as women get older and anxiety is a symptom.

Sep. 21 2007 01:57 PM
RD from NYC

I have a phobia of both crocodiles & alligators although there's no chance I'd ever be in any proximity to either. Is there a way to conquer that?

Sep. 21 2007 01:57 PM
Emily from NYC

For your caller who's afraid of flying despite knowing how it works:

I found that taking a slight overdose of dramamine (3 regular pills) and buying some really dumb magazines (Us Weekly, for example) to read really helps.

Good luck!

Sep. 21 2007 01:56 PM
carolita from manhattan

What about "phobias" that seem perfectly reasonable? I'm terrified of being in cars. Why? Because there are lots of people who drive irresponsibly, and being in what's basically a metal can, moving at high speeds, surrounded by careless, distracted people seems like a really BAD IDEA!!! I see no way to "overcome" this "phobia"! In fact, I feel I'm better of with it. There's no hope of me overcoming it, is there?

Sep. 21 2007 01:48 PM
Paulette Powell from NYC

Do you think the Bush adminstration along with the tabloid media are having a phobic effect on Americans regarding terroist attacks? My experience lately, especially when I travel to other parts of the country (I live in NYC) people seem to be terrified by possible terroist attacks.


Sep. 21 2007 01:45 PM
Lorraine McNulty from Brooklyn NY

My daughter is afraid of the sight of blood and needles. She has fainted several times, starting when she was just 18 months old. She is now nine.
She has fallen over and been bruised or has had other injuries from fainting. How can I help her to overcome this?

Sep. 21 2007 01:45 PM

At whihc point do yopu decide that medicaiton is necessary?
How do you convince your patients that they need to expose themselves to the fear?

Sep. 21 2007 01:42 PM
MLS from New York

My young relative developed a phobia of going out that began at age 13. She's 20 now and nothing has helped; they've tried talk therapy and medications. Can Dr. Anthony recommend a resource?

Sep. 21 2007 01:39 PM
Michelle from Hackensack

Can a person ever completely conquer a phobia? I have been trying to overcome my fear of flying through books, videos and websites for years, and although I feel better, I sometimes think I will never feel completely comfortable in an airplane.

Sep. 21 2007 01:30 PM
Cornelius from Huntington, NY

I have always feared clowns. I did not go into the ocean as a child because I though the buoy(s) were clown hats.

Sep. 21 2007 01:30 PM
Ian Hughes from NYC

My comments are really questions:

Is there a clinical term for fear of self-promotion?

And what is it that compels certain people to gravitate towards what they fear most (for example, actors who suffer from aphonia...or free- lancers who fear self-promotion?)

Sep. 21 2007 01:07 PM
Jeffrey Slott from East Elmhurst

Batophobia: Fear of heights and claustrophobia are what I have. So far neither one has done me any real harm.

Sep. 21 2007 11:25 AM

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