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Abstract

A specific phobia is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, unreasonable fear related to a clearly discernible, circumscribed stimulus or situation. The fear response observed in a phobic individual consists of subjective distress, physiological arousal, and avoidance behavior, although its precise expression may vary from one phobia to another. Specific phobias have an early age of onset and hence are quite prevalent among children and adolescents. Its origin involves multiple factors, including genetics, aberrant brain functioning, direct (conditioning) and indirect (modeling, negative information transmission) learning experiences, avoidance, and cognitive biases. The effective treatment of this disorder always requires some kind of exposure, preferably in vivo, as this appears to yield the most optimal effects.

Keywords

Anxiety disorder Specific phobia Children Adolescents Treatment Exposure treatment 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical Psychological ScienceMaastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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