Everybody has fears, but when that fear becomes so overwhelming that it prevents us from completing normal tasks it is known as a phobia. A phobia is properly defined as, "a persistent irrational fear of an object, situation, or activity that the person feels compelled to avoid." Phobias are often the root of an anxiety disorder, or based on a traumatic experience. Someone dealing with their phobia will most likely feel panic, dread, or horror, automatic uncontrollable thoughts pertaining to the thing they fear, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, trembling, and extreme measures being taken to avoid the object of fear.
Many people have similar phobias. Do any of these freak you out?
If you felt any sort of anxiety towards these photographs you probably weren't alone.
One good thing about phobias is that they can be treated. Through behavioral and exposure therapy, one can learn to not be so afraid when they come in contact with their fear. The person becomes desensitized to their fear as the therapy progresses. Other methods of treatment include medication (to reduce anxiety) and hypnosis.
Fear is an amazing thing. Although it doesn't seem like it, it is astounding the way our bodies respond to dealing with fear. What is known as the fight-or-flight response is the "body's primitive, automatic, inborn response that prepares the body to "fight" or "flee" from perceived attack, harm or threat to our survival". Our bodies release chemicals like adrenaline, noradrenaline, and cortisol into our blood stream. These nerve cell firings cause our respiratory rate to increase, our pupils to dilate, our sense of awareness to heighten, pain perception decreases, and impulses quicken; all of these changes act to protect and prepare ourselves against danger. This response is often experienced in people when facing their phobias.