phobias

When a feared outcome does not happen, activity in midbrain dopaminergic neurons is required to get rid of behavioral fear responses, researchers at the RIKEN Center for Brain Science have found. Their study study details the role of dopamine in ensuring that rats lose fear response in the prolonged absence of the stimulus. Like animals… Read more

People who are too frightened of flying to board an airplane, or too scared of spiders to venture into the basement, can seek a kind of treatment called exposure therapy. In a safe environment, they repeatedly face cues such as photos of planes or black widows, as a way to stamp out their fearful response… Read more

Awareness of our mortality is part of being human. As author and existential philosopher Irvin Yalom said, we are “forever shadowed by the knowledge that we will grow, blossom and, inevitably, diminish and die”. There is growing research exploring the overwhelming anxiety that the inevitability of death, and our uncertainty about when it will occur… Read more

Some fear is rational, keeping us appropriately cautious in the face of dangerous animals, hot stoves and contagions that could make us ill. But rational caution can turn to irrational panic about imagined terrors that are unlikely to occur or cause much actual damage if they did. While we all face fears, phobias are intense… Read more

I have personal interest in arachnophobia – the fear of spiders – because I am a spider expert, but also because my daughter has it. She is not alone. According to the American Psychiatric Association, phobias affect more than one in ten people in the US, and of those individuals, up to 40% of phobias… Read more