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specific phobias Clinical Features: Epidemiology

specific phobias Clinical Features: Epidemiology
Mild fears of specific objects or situations are extremely common in the general population. Fears that are considered clinically severe are still relatively common compared to the other anxiety disorders. The National Comorbidity survey found a lifetime prevalence for specific phobias of approximately 11% in adults and the 6-month prevalence in adolescents was around 5% according to self-report. Despite the common occurrence of specific phobias in the community, this problem rarely provides the impetus for presentation to treatment centers. This is possibly partly because specific phobic stimuli can often be avoided by most people with little interference in their lives and most people with specific phobia have few difficulties outside of the immediate phobic situation Sex Distribution and Age of Onset.Both mild fears in the general population and specific clinical phobias are considerably more common in females than in males. Estimates of the proportion of females in clinical populations generally range around 75 to 95%. Differences in the proportion of females among the various specific phobia subtypes have been reported.
Age of onset is generally quite early in specific phobia and averages around the early to middle teens. However, an average age of onset for specific phobia ignores the heterogeneity of the disorder. In fact, consistent differences are found among the ages of onset for different types of specific phobias. Claustrophobia usually begins around the early to middle 20s, an age closer to panic disorder, whereas blood/injury and animal phobias typically begin in childhood.

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