Fast Five Quiz: Common Phobias

Stephen Soreff, MD


October 20, 2020

Neurobiologic and psychologic theories, as well as familial patterns, have contributed to understanding the underlying causes of phobic disorders. Specific phobia can be acquired through conditioning, modeling, or a traumatic experience; there may even be a genetic component (eg, blood-injury phobia).

Social anxiety disorder tends to start early in life. Most patients experience its onset between 8 and 15 years, with a median age at onset of 13 years. Prevalence decreases with advancing age. In general, specific phobia appears earlier than either social anxiety disorder or agoraphobia does. Most such phobias develop during childhood. Agoraphobia may occur in childhood but typically begins in late adolescence and early adulthood.

Phobic disorders appear to have a higher incidence among women. Higher rates of social anxiety disorder are found among women. The sex difference in prevalence is more pronounced in adolescents and young adults. Studies have shown that women generally have higher rates of mental disorders than men.

Read more on the development of phobic disorders.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.